Christmas closure 2023-2024: Information for staff

UCL’s Christmas tree in the Quad, December 2023. The tree is in the foregr
UCL’s Christmas tree in the Quad, December 2023. The tree is in the foreground, decorated with baubles. The Quad is in the background, lit up in rainbow colours. It is day time and there is a covering of snow over everything.

UCL will be closed from 5:30pm on Friday 22 December 2023 until 9:00 on Tuesday 2 January 2024. Please read our guidance on closing down workspaces and notifying Security about any out of hours access requirements.

As we head towards the end of the calendar year and many of us take a break away from UCL, please do ensure that you and your teams are prepared to close down and switch off safely by Friday 22 December.

On this page: 

    The Christmas Switch-Off Competition: Resources for closing down your workspace and the difference it makes

Note: Security and access arrangements for UCL East will be published shortly. We’ll add this link as soon as it’s available.

Guidance on closing laboratories and making constantly running equipment safe

The following procedures apply to the UCL’s main sites, defined as all buildings except those of the postgraduate 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 12pm (midday) on Wednesday 20 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   

    the Security Office has received by 12pm (midday) on Wednesday 20 December written details via  of persons who can be contacted in cases of emergency (other than those already on the Control room database).

Out of hours work: stay in touch, stay safe 

Staff are reminded 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. You can also download SafeZone , the College’s mobile app that allows all students and staff to alert, contact, and directly speak to the Security team in the event of an emergency. If you choose to use SafeZone you must use your UCL login and password when you register. This will connect you to the UCL SafeZone account. When you receive a temporary password to log in you can then change this to a password of your choice. SafeZone is available on the Apple App Store and Android’s Play Store as well as other major app stores. SafeZone requires all permissions enabled on your phone to work fully. 

UCL Security 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 (020 7679 2222, or extension 222 from an internal landline) or via SafeZone.

The Christmas Switch-Off Competition: Resources for closing down your workspace and the difference it makes 

Help UCL reduce energy and win prices by pledging to switch-off this Christmas. Last year, we saved an incredible 107 tonnes of carbon over the winter closure - that’s equivalent to planting 1,783 trees - and saved UCL an incredible £140,023 over the festive period. 

The department with the most pledges will receive £100 - find out more about the Christmas Switch-Off on the Sustainability website. 

Library Christmas opening hours  

All UCL Library sites except the Student Centre will close by 17:00 on Friday 22 December, and re-open on Tuesday 2 January 2024. You can still visit the Student Centre and access online resources over the winter closure. The  Student Centre will be open throughout the Christmas period  24 hours a day for UCL students and staff. The last day to request an item from our Scan and Send and Click and Collect services before the break will be Monday 18 December. 

Please check the Library  opening hours webpage  for more information and opening hours on all our library sites. 

Support for staff over the winter break 

Confidential, 24/7 mental health support, as well as information on legal, financial, housing and family related issues, is available to all UCL staff via our Employee Assistance Programme: Staff Support Service. Support is available for both personal and work-related matters.  

Latest guaranteed post room dates before Christmas 2023 

Dates for the latest guaranteed international and UK delivery dates before Christmas are available. You can send and receive mail as part of your work or research at UCL via the Post Room. Please note this is a business function and personal items will not be sent. 
The last collection of departmental post will take place between 11.30 and 13.00 on Friday 22nd December to ensure dispatch on the last working day. 

The UCL Post Room will close at 2pm on Friday 22 December and re-open at 7am on Tuesday 2 January 2024. 

Cafes and refectories 

Cafes and shops around UCL will close and reopen at different points across December and the New Year. Check opening times on their websites: 

Please note: 

All general access to the Bloomsbury campus during the closure period will be via the main Gower Street entrance on production of a UCL ID card. Access arrangements for UCL East will be published shortly.

Thank you in advance for your help and co-operation in implementing these arrangements and we wish you all a happy and peaceful winter break.

  • University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT (0) 20 7679 2000