It may still be November, but London is already in full festive mode and this year’s light installations are no exception. Whether you’re late night Christmas shopping or looking to see the lights be turned on (cue a choir of oohs and ahhs), we’ve got you covered.
Read on for our diary guide of which locations are already lit up and which you need to note down if you want to see the big reveal. Don’t forget to look up.
The iconic London street is famed for its fashion-rich history so it’s no surprise they were ahead of the curve turning on their lights. The spectacle comes with a sustainability message this year, as the display is the first every plastic-free Christmas light installation. The theme takes shoppers underwater to highlight ocean conservation so except dolphins, bubbles, coral and more.
Go big or go home is the vibe at London’s Covent Garden, where you’ll find London’s biggest tree decorated with no less than 30,000 lights and a whopping 115,000 lights across the famous piazza – not sure what Carnaby Street’s sustainability conscience would have to say about that. Some seriously impressive stars were roped into the celebrations. Actress Emilia Clarke, Dame Emma Thompson and Director Paul Feig were in charge of pushing the button while the West End cast of The Snowman performed. Head down to the iconic London landmark if you’re in need of instant Christmas cheer.
If the behemoth that is Oxford Street is your idea of hell, nearby Marylebone High Street offers a more chill festive experience thanks to it’s boutiques, bars and bookshops. Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson turned on the lights this year. We imagine it was a riot.
One of London’s most famous shopping streets and Christmas lights installations was turned on last week and it marked the 200th anniversary of Regent Street itself. The lights are the latest in the capital and feature stunning suspended ‘spirits’ inspired by the Regent Street Christmas lights of 1954.
You may have missed the actual turning on of these lights but Seven Dials feels so festive at this time of year it’s still worth a visit. The suspended snowflake lights sit on a backdrop of some of our favourite boutiques, hidden bars and cosy hotels.
You may remember this London landmark from the first Harry Potter film and it’s Christmas that it really comes to life. The cosy, glass-roofed market has been lined with Christmas trees and twinkling lights. Pull up a pew outside one of the cosy old pubs for a festive experience that feels straight from the movies.
You’re not too late to see some of London’s lights turn on. Head to the Royal Exchange this Wednesday to see the iconic London landmark lit up in all its glory. The event has been put on by masters of all things Christmas, Fortnum and Mason so expect some of the best hot chocolate and mince pies in the city. Plus Downtown fans hold on to your parasols and petticoats as one of the show’s stars Joanne Froggatt will be there decorating the awesome 25ft Christmas tree and turning on the lights. Be sure to check out fashion brand Mulberry’s pop-up pub which will be serving pints from 18th November.
Oxford Street will be lit up a little later this year, but trust us, it’ll be worth the wait. The street has had a festive makeover replacing the traditional glowing balls (which we’re actually going to miss) with 27 energy efficient LED screens. The lights will span the entire length of the famous shopping street with a whopping 222,000 in total.
A whole host of magical Christmas lights will return to the Royal borough across Sloane Square, Sloane Street, Duke of York Square, King’s Road and Pavilion Road. The new displays will see decorative lights inspired by the crown of King Charles II, who the King’s Road was originally built for as a private route to travel between palaces. He famously restored Christmas to the nation following Oliver Cromwell’s ban on festivities for over a decade. The celebrations will start from 2pm with entertainment including carol singers and performers and a guest appearance from Father Christmas himself. He’ll be turning the lights on with a “special helper’ – but their identity is currently top secret.
Thursday 28th November
One of London’s swankiest shopping streets will be joining in the festivities this Thursday 28th November with a whole host of luxury boutiques getting involved in the Mount Street switch on. Christopher Kane will be serving a special Christmas cocktail, shoe designer Sophia Webster will add to the festivities with a DJ, refreshments and carol singers and Christian Louboutin will have champagne on offer to put shoppers in the festive spirit. And the best bit? The Connaught hotel will unveil the design of their iconic Christmas tree on the night, which has been previously designed by world renowned artists such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. The fanciest of all the Christmas light switch ons for sure.
If you like your Christmas lights with a side of seriousness, forget Z listers of Christmas past turning them on and head to Trafalgar Square on 5th December, where the Mayor of Westminster, the Norwegian Ambassador and the governing Mayor of Oslo will be pushing the big red button. The highlight of the event will see the towering 20 meter plus tree lit up. The tree has been gifted to the city each year by Norway – explaining the otherwise slightly random guest list.