London, eerily empty on Christmas morning

Every year, Ian takes to the streets of London early on Christmas Morning to photograph the normally thronged streets in their state of eerie emptiness. The project was inspired by the scenes of empty London in the film 28 Days Later. He's posted his third set, from this year's Christmas.

Photos of an Empty London on Christmas Morning (via MeFi)


    1. Actually this is a real English tradition, no one leaves their home on Christmas morning to commemorate the assassination of “Father Christmas” (a popular title for Oliver Cromwell) by Guy Fawkes on what became known as the “St. Nicholas’ Day Massacre”. Someone needs to brush up on their British history!

  1. I’ve been in London on Christmas.  It’s pretty much impossible to be run over by a car … or by a bus … or pretty pretty much anything.

  2. 28 Days Later scared the bejeezus out of me.  I would also be hiding in my house on Christmas morning if I lived in London… just look at those empty streets!  That’s not normal London – it’s post-apocalyptic London with scary enRaged folk ready to chomp my neck.

    1. Right, the first thing that came to my mind was “28 Days Later” and at the end titles, something along the lines of “We’d like to express our gratitude to the transit authorities for holding back the City Of London”.

      May I recommend looking at these photos with your speakers blasting “East Hastings” by Godspeed You Black Emperor!

  3. one year I was alone for christmas and had no plans, so I did something like this in Toronto.  this is back when I shot film, though, so these photos are all in a box somewhere.  (which is to say, back before I could afford a digital camera)

    also I lacked any sort of, say, artistic vision, so I’m sure my pics aren’t anywhere as interesting as this.

  4. Where are all the non-Christian Englanders? Oh, right. Nothing is open on christmas, why go out unless to the corner store for fags.

    1. Why miss out on a perfectly good excuse to gather, eat, drink and sleep in? That’s how my extended non-Christian family handles it anyway…

    2. Non-Christians are the majority here. But an excuse for binge drinking should never be passed over. Besides, isn’t Christmas a foreign invention tacked onto more ancient, native, pagan traditions?

  5. Everyone evacuates London on Christmas because, even though the Doctor will save everyone in the end, the inevitable alien invasion will cause collateral damage.

  6. also: I’d assumed the pictures are created by merging multiple snaps and picking from the frames where the “background” is unobscured by people, but this has me wondering, is London really abandoned on xmas morning?

  7. Of course there’s some post-processing, the nearly mono buildings with the bright colour neon and LED screens, the slight halo along edges to indicate HDR treatment to get the menacing sky’s.
    I’m sure that a lot could be done in camera, some of those pics I could have produced via apps on my phone; HDRPro/ PerfectPhoto for example.
    But so what.

  8. This reminds me of a book with a similar concept called Tokyo Nobody.
    I’m sure there are pictures like this for a lot of cities, but it’s always interesting to see.

  9. Reminds me of a Dr Who episode (a David Tennant christmas one) in which “The Dr” finds it surprising that there is no one on the streets of London on Christmas (it was night though). He later finds out that everyone is scared and staying home because there have been alien attacks every christmas. LOL. 

  10. I’ve also been doing it in Newcastle upon Tyne for the past few years, but I don’t imagine anybody cares.

    It’s not what you know, it’s where you know.

  11. For anyone considering traveling to London off season, don’t let this picture put you off. Yes, Christmas week in London is inevitably dead. But the days leading up to Christmas week are absolutely wonderful.

    The city is alive and bustling with residents, holiday lights are strung throughout, christmas events abound, most of the touristy sights are blissfully empty, and off season rates make it a relative bargain. The weather is chilly (as it should be) but the bulk of the wet weather typically comes after the new year.

    And Christmas itself doesn’t look too bad either. Rent a bike and lose yourself in the city.

    Okay… that does it. I’m booking my tickets for next year.

    1. For anyone considering traveling to London off season, don’t let this picture put you off.

      Are you kidding? That London looks fabulous! You do realize that BB is a hotbed of introversion?

      1. I feel ya’. As much as I like that scenario too, staring at building facades for a week might get a little old when traveling from half way around the world.

        For a flavor of the abandonned London pre-Christmas week, I would recommend walking around the City of London on the weekend. Or you could just add a couple of extra days to your trip to have it overlap with Christmas week.

  12. Can anyone explain the pigeon on the McDonald’s ad? What’s the message?

    “Food only a flying rat could stomache”

    “Eat here if your standards are as low as a pigeon’s”

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