The main event what comes to Christmas lights in London is the Spirit of Christmas in Regent Street. The street had the first Christmas lights in London in a tradition starting already in 1954. Oxford Street is another popular location for viewing Christmas lights although not quite as impressive as on Regent Street.
Nearby Carnaby Street always has striking decorations and is worth a visit. This year’s theme is around the environment and conserving the oceans.
Many buildings and stores are also decorated. Some of the most beautiful decorations are on New/Old Bond Street, where especially Cartier and Stella McCartney stores have spectacular lights and other decorations.
Christmas Window Displays
Department stores and other shops put extra effort to make their window displays special during the Christmas season. One of the most anticipated stores to do so is the Selfridges department store. This years window display series, “A Christmas for Modern times” is stunning as always.
There are several famous Christmas trees around London. Covent Garden has one, Trafalgar Square has one, and there are many more around the city. Some department stores and hotels want to have a Christmas tree to lure customers and want the make them as attractive as possible.
The tree in Covent Garden had its light switch on the 12th of November in an event having music and celebrities hosting it. The Christmas Tree is decorated with over 30,000 lights and gives the square a delightful Christmas atmosphere.
Trafalgar Square gets it’s Christmas tree from the people of Norway, and the light switch on ceremony is held every year in early December. There’s usually a big crowd of people attending the event, and in 2019, the Mayor of Oslo delivered a Christmas message.
This year, Liberty has a magnificent looking tree, The Tree of Liberty, which fills the whole open central area of the store. It’s a colourful giant bonsai tree with teal and pink.
There are several ice skating rinks available in London from mid-November to early January. Skating is a popular activity, and the rinks have coloured lights and music to make the experience more exciting as if skating isn’t fun enough by itself. Food and drinks are also available.
You can check more details about our favourite places from our previous article here.
There are many Christmas markets around London starting from mid-November to January. Some of the famous squares in Central London have their own markets, i.e. Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. These are easy to visit when strolling around and visiting other sights.
The markets usually have wooden chalets that offer a variety of food and drinks such as mulled wine and warm cider. There is also a range of other items available to purchase, most of which you probably don’t need.
Southbank has a great Winter Market situated close to different types of cultural events. There is street food available from many different parts of the world, including the typical German bratwursts but also Asian and Indian cuisine. The area also has “igloos” that are available for booking for an unforgettable and expensive dining experience.
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park has a roller coaster, a ferris wheel and plenty of other rides, and they also have seasonal foods and drinks to keep you warm. There are also skating and acrobatics shows if that tickles your fancy.
Christmas at Kew
Kew Gardens has the annual Christmas at Kew event from 20th of November to 5th of January. The garden, which is beautiful any time of year, is decorated with lights and the visitors get the walk on a winter trail. The glasshouses are lit beautifully, and lasers are used to make the iconic Temperate House look even more stunning. There are installations expressly for this event, for example, Tunnel of Light. Some of the trees and plants along the trail have also been turned into parts of the light show.
Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House
An important part of Christmas tradition in London is going to see Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet in the Royal opera house. Check out the trailer:
Here are some interesting places to visit and sights to see in London around Christmas time. We hope you’ll have a chance to visit them.