Can you believe ’tis the season again? Literally, where did the year go! With Christmas around the corner, it’s time to get cosy in over-sized jumpers, grab hold of a mulled wine and go to Christmas light switch-ons, which, in London, are pretty darn special might we add! You may have missed the Oxford Street switch-on earlier this week but trust us, there’s plenty more where that came from! So, if you’re a bit Bah! Humbug about the festivities, hopefully one of these events can change your mind…you big ol’ Scrooge!
We all love Christmas lights don’t we? Whether it’s a smattering of fairy lights here and there, to full blown light displays in cul de sacs. Whichever display lights up your life, there’s no denying they’re awesome. Which is why we think you’re going to love this one…
This winter, you can fall down the rabbit hole at a lantern display based around Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, for six weeks only! There’ll be full blown lantern replicas of the famed Wonderland characters, including the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, playing cards and, larger than life, Alice herself. Not short of stuff to do, there’ll be 29 interactive scenes in total alongside 16o giant lanterns to retell the classic. You’ll wander across a giant chess board, sashay through the looking glass and take part in a whole hoo-ha of immersive events, carefully twirling around lanterns up to six metres high and 16 metres wide! Set in the winter wonderland that is Southwark Park, the festival makes for marvellous photo opportunities. The Alice in Wonderland lantern festival will run until the 5th of January 2019
Where: Southwark Park, Gomm Road, SE16 2TX
Kew after dark sees over one million (yes one million) Christmas lights sparkling away, for a sixth year running. If you want to skip the kew, and get your hands on some tickets instead then you’ll enjoy an evening at The Botanical restaurant for a traditional Christmas dinner feast, with two sittings available either at 5 or 8pm. It’s kinda destined to be a good night with nothing being done in half measure, what with ONE MILLION lights and all. The display will be set across a two-kilometre trail with scented fire gardens and huge baubles along the way.
From Thursday the 22nd of November until Saturday the 5th of January, select a 6pm trail visit ticket for dinner at 8pm or select a 7pm trail visit ticket with dinner at 5pm
Cute animals and shiny, sparkly lights – what could be better? ZSL London Zoo are putting on a show with a whole host of illuminations involved, singing trees and animal sculptures. Not quite up there with Kew’s one million lights, but there will be 100,000 glistening pea-lights above you, plus they’ve got animals so it kinda evens things out. Take yourself a mulled wine along (or three), this is definitely one for the kids.
On the 22nd of November until the 1st of January 2019
Shop whilst you sip and witness something pretty magical as Seven Dials calls its visitors to save the date for their Christmas light turn-on. Taking place at 6:30pm at the Seven Dials monument, there will be the 16-piece EP Orchestra ringing in the affair, alongside a free wreath making workshop, curling rink, cocktail bar and discounts. Let’s face it, everyone loves a discount at Christmas. Unless, that is, you’re one of those pesky Boxing Day shoppers who gets it all done a year ahead (what’s wrong with you!). Other free events include Taxi Photo Booth and glitter make-overs on Monmouth street that’ll have you rivalling the xmas tree. Or, hopefully, looking like the fairy on top of it! So if you’re up for a 20% discount and a whole host of Christmas cheer, Seven Dials it out.
P.s. Ticket holders will enjoy a free drink, the ‘Monmouth Fizz’ found at Monmouth Kitchen’s pop-up bar on Earlham Street.
On Thursday the 15th of November, 5-9pm
Chelsea is the place to be at the best times, but even more so now the lights are being switched on in Sloane Square. Taking place on the 17th of November, the affair will see the appearance of carol singers aplenty, amongst other jolly performers, with proceedings getting underway from 2pm. The switch-on itself will take place at 5pm, once you’re warmed up from an xmassy drink and a wee singalong, with lights shedding a glow on Sloane Square, Pavilion Road and King’s Road.
Yet another discount (bet you’re glad you read this eh?); Carnaby will be giving visitors 20% off for its Christmas light switch-on shopping party. The lights, in bold standout colours, contrast more commonly seen Christmas lights and we’re loving it, with a display that already includes the lyrics to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. So, for discounts on drinks, food and material pleasures, Carnaby is key.
On Thursday the 8th of November, 5-9pm
Norway’s annual present will return over the festive period; a giant Christmas tree adorning Trafalgar Square, and it’s certainly something special. The tree is decorated in Norwegian style (Scandi-Style, so pretty darn bare) but still, a delight. The spruce has been given to us by Norway since 1947, and we certainly hope we’re returning the favour or this is just getting ridiculous. The evening will see you tuning into carols and concerts, whilst the 25-metre (82-foot) tree is illuminated with hundreds of lightbulbs.
From the 6th of December until the 1st of January 2019, 6pm
Last year they had Kylie as the special guest (Minogue, not the Kardashian), and this year? Well, we’re yet to find out. Either way however, there’s something about Covent Garden that always feels pretty magical. Or maybe that’s just the feeling of accomplishment after tackling its 193 tube station steps. This year, the light switch-on will see 40 mistletoe chandeliers adorned with almost 700 glistening berries scattered around as well as 100,000 pea lights suspended within the Market Building. Oh, and because Covent Garden doesn’t tend to mess around when it comes to the grandiose nature of things, there will also be London’s biggest handpicked Christmas tree (55ft tall) embellished with 30,000 lights (perhaps take some sunglasses along!) The evening will have you ding-dong merrily on high-ing with performances by The Kingdom Choir, who you may have seen performing at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding!
On Tuesday the 13th of November, time TBC
A very eco-friendly event has galloped into the city in time for Christmas. The Hart of London is a sculpture of a deer, life-sized, illuminated and made out of 2,000 plastic bottles! Random? Well perhaps a little, but with a very good cause at the centre. The incentive comes as a result of the Heart of London Business Alliance, Veolia and Westminster City Council joining forces, to draw attention to minimising plastic waste. Using tap donation technology, those crowding around will be able to donate and light up the deer in what is set to be a very magical affair. The deer will be in place until the 6th of January, 2019.
Where: St James’s Church Gardens
If you’re a fan of The Who, then Christmas will have come early knowing that he’s to turn on the Marylebone Village Lights. The occasion is always jam-packed so we recommend getting there early to avoid getting into a swinging match with your shopping bags as you wrestle to the front. The switch-on, in support of Teenage Cancer Trust, is set to be ablaze with stage performances and various shopping, eating and drinking activities. Now that doesn’t sound half bad!
On Wednesday the 14th of November, 3-7pm
When it comes to Christmas lights, Regent Street aren’t messing around. In fact, they’re kinda like that neighbour that puts their lights up around October and covers their house to the point of press and passers-by snapping photos of the oversized blow-up Santa wobbling awkwardly on their front garden. You get the gist. Regent Street go hard and most certainly haven’t gone home since it all began in 1954. This year, The Spirit of Christmas event will see the largest light installation in the capital returning once more. There’ll be food and drinks aplenty, oh and expect to see a few famous faces scattered about the place; last year’s special guests included the likes of Paloma Faith, Tom Odell and Clean Bandit.
On Thursday the 15th of November, 5-9pm