It’s already mid-November and that means the countdown to Christmas is officially on. And, as it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the city, the only thing that should be topping your to-do list is planning your trip to see London at its festive best. After all, London’s Christmas lights are pretty hard to beat; here are seven of the best Christmas lights to see across the capital this year.
Following the massive success of the Bohemian Rhapsody themed lights last year, 2019 sees Carnaby Street’s lights get an ocean-themed makeover in collaboration with the ocean conservation charity Project 0. The big switch-on was on the 7th November, with recycled materials such as repurposed fishing nets and over 1,500 recycled bottles used to create the display, the underwater scenes will be shining all throughout the festive-season.
Covent Garden’s world-famous piazza is home to the city’s largest hand-picked Christmas tree and this year it makes its grand return, once again. Accompanied by Covent Garden’s iconic mistletoe chandeliers, garlands and pea lights, these Christmas lights (and Christmas tree) are ready for a visit, and not to be missed.
Marylebone Village is one area that doesn’t slack when it comes to Christmas. The light switch-on event takes place today (13th November) from 3pm and is one that’s fun for the whole family, with fairground rides, fireworks, stalls, games, a Santa’s grotto and more. And what’s even better is that the event raises funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The switch on is at 6pm with the Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson doing the honours.
2019 is the 200th anniversary of the creation of Regent Street and so one of London’s most famous streets is reminiscing on old times with their ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ Lights’, inspired by the 1954 Regent Street Christmas lights. Taking place on 14th November, the switch-on event is a full-blown party, with celebrity appearances from Irish band, The Script, singer Maisie Peters, the cast of A Christmas Carol and Heart’s presenters Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden to look forward to.
The Seven Dials lights may not be the most famous lights on this list but they’re certainly worth a visit. This year’s installation of starry-night themed lights is in partnership with Shelter, a charity that benefits the homeless, and the big switch-on also takes place on 14th November. As well as star-themed free activities, live music and decorations, there are a number of shopping deals on offer on switch-on day so there really is something for everyone.
It’s out with the old and in with the new for Oxford Street this year; the baubles are gone, and LED light curtains are here. Made up of 220,000 glistening lights, the makeover we all expected last year is finally here and you’ll be able to catch it on the 21st November. The event is in partnership with Capital Xtra so not only can you see the twinkly new lights for the first time, you can also see live in-store performances from the UK’s best hip hop, grime and R&B artists – as well as taking advantage of the shopping event and getting started on your Christmas shopping.
The lighting of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is perhaps the most highly anticipated Christmas switch on in the city. A tradition dating back to 1947, the Christmas tree will make its journey from Norway (who gift a tree to London in thanks for the support offered to them during the second world war) to London where its lights will be hung vertically as is Norwegian tradition and lit on the first Thursday in December (5th December) at 6pm.
Where to find the lights? Check out our map!
Words: Jodie Shepherd
Photo: Jodie Shepherd