Earlier today, a quite remarkable milestone was passed as the 100,000th person looked at my Flickr collection of photos of an “Abandoned London” taken on Christmas morning – which is quite staggering.

When I got up on Christmas morning, I really had no idea if the photo session would work – it was just an idea to cycle into town and see what was possible. For all I knew, the West End would be as busy as a normal morning and the trip would be a waste, and to be honest I was really tempted to skip the project as, like half of London, I had a bad cold. Indeed, I was so grotty that I on the way into town, I had decided to stop at Tower Bridge, take some photos and go back home. Fortunately, I took a wrong turn and ended up at Bank for the first photos of the morning. Even though I knew the City would be abandoned, getting there heartened me to carry on to the West End.

That wrong turn probably saved the morning!

However, the one thing I never expected was the reaction to the photos once I put them up here on the blog and on my Flickr account. I hoped the photos would be interesting – and I am delighted that so many people seem to have liked the end results.

However, it has been truly quite staggering how people have reacted to the photos I took, especially as I am but an amateur with the camera and can’t consider the photos to more than just tourist snaps.

They were also featured on the Daily Telegraph‘s website, which was rather awesome and loads of other blogs and websites commented on the images.

One thing which cannot come across in the photos is the silence of the city though – and the experience of cycling around an empty city really is something which I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone willing to try it one Christmas morning. The photos are one thing, but to be there yourself – that is quite something else.

I get the impression from comments going around the place that a fair number of cities will have photographers out in force this coming Christmas – which should be quite exciting to see.

Stats Porn:

The Flickr Set > 100,000 views & 48 comments.

The individual photos > 317,000 views, 299 favourites & 123 comments.


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  1. Well done, Ian!
    Next year, mount a video camera to your handlebars and we’ll get a sense of the silence. 😉

  2. Sunny says:

    Well done, they were excellent pictures indeed.

  3. Alex Ingram says:

    I was gutted when I saw your photos come up on flickr, I’d been pondering the idea of getting Christmas Day to take photos myself in the run up to Christmas, but thanks to it being my birthday and my need to see my folks up north that’s never going to happen. What I will try is getting up for the dawn around my half birthday in June to see how quiet the city is then.

    Next year definitely do some video as well! Or maybe just upload some John Cage and invite viewers to use it as a soundtrack.

  4. petoskystone says:

    i forst saw these on gadling (which lead me to your blog:). what still strikes me is that this is a sight you will not see in the u.s. in any city of any size. there are always gas stations, convenience stores, large supermarkets, street vendors, etc. at least part of the day every day. amazing that such a large financial market as london, is closed!

  5. Annie Mole says:

    That is spookily quiet and great set of photos. 🙂 On Xmas morning, I took a wrong turn due to some road works I ended up getting slightly lost driving through Surrey and I’m sure I saw more traffic on the roads that you did in the West End.

  6. Rob says:

    Congrats – they are great photos, worthy of 100,000 views!

  7. Well done on your success! The Greenwich Cyclists always organise a christmas day ride which I keep meaning to attend, I understand it is usually very popular!

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