With Halloween out of the way, it’s beginning to look a bit) like Christmas, and London is getting in on the festive spirit.
Christmas may yet be a way off, but there are plenty of displays going up over the next few weeks to keep an eye out for, with switching-on functions organised from early November.
These are the best Christmas lights to see across London this year – and the date they’ll be switched on.
Carnaby Street – November 7
Traditionally the first lights to go on the show, Carnaby Street is set to turn on its new, ocean-themed display at 6 pm on November 7. Following last year’s spectacular Bohemian Rhapsody-themed lights, this year they’re focussed on sustainability – organisers teaming up with ocean conservation charity Project 0 to create the display using over 1,500 recycled plastic bottles.
Carnaby St, Soho, W1F 7QS, carnaby.co.uk
Savile Row – November 7
The first-ever Savile Row lights are being launched in early November – and guests can expect a suitably stylish switching-on. David Gandy will be on hand to light the display from 7 pm, while there will also be music from the Weaver Brothers into the night.
Savile Row, W1S, eventbrite.com
South Bank – November 8
The switching-on of the South Bank lights coincides with the launch of the wintertime market, which welcomes visitors from November 8. There’ll be lights on display all along the waterfront, while the London Eye is also lit up – all in all, it’s one of the snuggest places to spend winter nights in the city.
South Bank, SE1, southbankcentre.co.uk
Covent Garden – November 12
Covent Garden is always one of the most picturesque places to spend a winter’s evening, and the festival lights are back from November 12 this year. The enormous Christmas tree, reindeer installation and mistletoe chandeliers are back, with over 115,000 lights lighting the main square.
Covent Garden, WC2E 8RD, coventgarden.london
Marylebone Village – November 13
One of the most unusual places to see Christmas lights is Marylebone, with some of the most elegant displays in central London. The switching on celebrations lasts all day on November 13.
Marylebone High Street, W1U, marylebonevillage.com
Regent Street – November 14
The West End is spoiled for option when it comes to festive displays, and Regent Street is right up there with the best of them. The street will be fully pedestrianised when the Christmas lights go on display, ensuring guests can take in the sights without worrying about dodging taxis and Deliveroo drivers. The Christmas angels are already up, but the official switch-on is on November 14.
Regent Street London, W1B, regentstreetonline.com
Seven Dials – November 14
Once you’ve checked out the Covent Garden lights, the Seven Dials Christmas display is turned on two days later, on November 14 from 5 pm.
Seven Dials, WC2H 9HD, sevendials.co.uk
Kingston market – November 14
The switching-on ceremony at this grand old market in Kingston on November 14 is set to be one of the most family-friendly in town. Expect children’s craft sessions and storytelling, before the lights themselves are switched on at 6 pm.
Market Place, KT1 1JT, inkingston.co.uk
Wembley Park – November 20
One of the most unusual – and Insta-friendly – displays are back at Wembley Park this year. Head into the technicolour Sonic Runway, see London’s biggest LED Christmas tree and embrace yourself in the light displays from November 20.
Market Square, HA9 0TG, wembleypark.com
Kew Gardens – November 20
Kew Gardens is gearing up for another spectacular series of Christmas light displays this year, running from November 20. Guests can walk a trail around the gardens, encountering enchanting arches and a festive lights show on the water. Twinkling pea-lights are being used to create a festive atmosphere, while thousands of lasers will light up the side of the conservatory.
Kew Gardens, Richmond TW9 3AB, kew.org
Oxford Street – November 21
It’s the most popular spot in London come Christmas time – and not just with last-minute shoppers frantically looking for presents on Christmas Eve. A brand new scheme is headed to Oxford Street this year, replacing the orb-based lights that have been a fixture for several years. The new design is made up of 27 LED light curtains, which are 90% more energy-efficient than traditional lighting. The switching-on ceremony on November 27 will see organisers team up with Capital XTRA to host live performances from homegrown musical talent.
Oxford Street, W1D 1BS, oxfordstreet.co.uk
Eccleston Yards – November 28
This charming Belgravia spot is promising a display with a difference inside its courtyard in late November. The wellness-themed ‘Wave’ installation from artist Squidsoup – the creative behind Four Tet’s spectacular Alexandra Palace shows – is made up of 500 individual orbs, with the various colours designed to energise the body, stimulate happiness and calm heart rates. It could be the most feel-good display in the whole city.
Off Eccleston Place, SW1W 9AZ, mayfairandbelgravia.com
Trafalgar Square – December 5
Norway has gifted London a Christmas tree every year since 1947, and this year they will do again – long may the tradition continue. A freshly cut Norwegian Spruce will sit proudly in Trafalgar Square, decorated with Christmas lights, while the square’s fountains also get a festive makeover. It’s one of the final primary light displays to be switched on in London, taking place on December 5.
Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DX, london.gov.uk
Eltham Palace – December 5
Eltham Palace will become an enchanted woodland from December 5, with the gardens of the English Heritage site transforming for three weekends across the month. Step through arches of twinkling lights, watch fountains dance to music and marvel as the walls of the palace are illuminated with rainbow projections.
Court Yard, SE9 5QE, english-heritage.org.uk
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