UCL News


Christmas Switch Off; Christmas and New Year closure 2021 - 2022

8 December 2021

Before you finish for the winter break make sure security are informed of any out of hours access requirements, potentially hazardous operations, and that you have closed down your work station.

A penguin on the

Our closure dates are listed here with further information to help us switch off safely. We've provided or linked to information on deadlines for postal delivery, how to notify security about live experiment equipment, and opening times for library and cafe services.

Christmas and New Year Closure 2020-21

UCL’s winter closure period will be from 5.30pm on Wednesday 22 December 2021 to 09.30am on Tuesday 4th January 2021. 

Laboratories and making constantly running equipment safe

The following procedures apply to the UCL's main Bloomsbury site defined as all buildings except those of the post graduate medical institutes and sites away from Central London.
Before leaving for your break, Laboratory Superintendents and others where appropriate, unless otherwise instructed by the Head of Department should ensure that:

  • all lights, heaters and computers are switched off in their department
  • all gas and water taps are turned off and that hoses connecting apparatus to water taps are securely wired both to the water supply and to the apparatus
  • the Security Office has received by 5pm on Tuesday 15th December a copy of a list of places, such as laboratories with constant operating equipment, where there is a possible danger from flooding or fire via securitysystems@ucl.ac.uk
  • the Security Office has received by 5pm on Tuesday 15th December written details of persons who can be contacted in cases of emergency (other than those already on the Control room database) securitysystems@ucl.ac.uk

The Christmas Switch Off: Action on Climate Change

Taking action in your work place will help to reduce polution this Christmas. Over the 2020 Christmas period, staff and students helped UCL save 147 tonnes of carbon through switching off items that would have otherwise been left running. That’s equivalent to planting 2,425 trees. It also saved UCL a tree-mendous £88,441. 2020 was a quieter year on campus than normal, and the annual saving was down from 600 tonnes in 2019 (10,000 trees!) because our overall use was lower. Every year the Christmas Switch Off has had a real impact, and with your help we can avoid wasting carbon and money this Christmas.

See our resources to take part in the switch-off including posters, email footers, switch off checklists and more! 


As part of the Christmas Switch Off, buildings will not be heated. Areas that require constant temperature control for experimentation will be heated as normal, as will the Student Centre.

Out of hours work: stay in touch, stay safe

Heads of Departments and Directors of Operations are asked to remind members of their department of the need to take care when working during periods of closure and that any procedures which have been assessed as having a significant level of risk should not be carried out by persons working alone. We also ask you to consider the environmental impacts of running campus buildings for a very small number of occupants. 
If any members of staff are unsure of their personal access rights they can clarify this by contacting Security Systems.  
We would like to stress the importance for individuals to maintain internal security within their departments.  Any incident which appears suspicious should be reported to the Security Control Room on the UCL Emergency Number - 222.

Latest recommended posting dates Christmas 2021 

Detailed information is available for the last dates you need to get international and UK post / mail to the UCL Post room if you want it to arrive before Christmas. Please note this is a business function and personal items are not accepted.

The UCL Mail Service will accept bulk mailings up to and including Monday 20 December.

The UCL Mail Service will close at 2pm on Wednesday 22 December and re-open at 7am on Tuesday 4 January.

Library Opening Hours

All library sites except the Student Centre will close at 17:00 on Wednesday 22 December and re-open on Thursday 6 January 2021. 

You can still visit the Student Centre and access online resources between 23 December 2021 and the start of Term 2. The Student Centre will be open throughout the Christmas period 24 hours a day for UCL students and staff.
Please see our 
Christmas Opening Hours page for more information.

Cafes and Refectories Opening Hours

All cafes and refectories at UCL will close on the 23 December by 5pm except the Wilkins Refectory. Large outlets will reopen by midday on Tuesday 4 January. Smaller outlets including the cafes will reopen as usual on Monday 10 January. These include; Bartlett Brew Bar, Fold Pizza, Engineering Cafe, ICH Refectory, Student Centre Cafe.

Wilkins Refectory will be open offering hot and cold drinks, confectionary and snacks for limited hours each day from 10am to 2pm over the break with extended hours to 4pm from Tuesday 28 to Friday 31 of December. On Christmas Day and Boxing Day there will be free hot drinks and mince pies. The refectory will also offer fresh pizza which will be made to order to reduce wastage.

Please note: All general access to campus during the closure period will be via the main Gower Street entrance on the production of a Valid UCL ID card.

Many thanks in advance for your help and co-operation in implementing these arrangements and we would like to take the opportunity of wishing you a happy Christmas, Festive Season, and New Year.