During Christmas London is a magical place. As the festive period approaches the city transforms with spectacular light displays festooning the streets and stunning Christmas window displays at famous department stores such as Selfridges and Harrods. Areas around London are decorated with impressive festive garlands, Christmas trees, and thousands of sparkling Christmas lights, creating a cosy atmosphere that sweeps the city.
Christmas in London usually begins with the switching on of the Christmas lights, which starts in early November. Exciting switch-on events include live music, festive food, and drinks, which marks the beginning of the Christmas period in London. Christmas markets begin to pop up selling warming cups of mulled wine, bars offer delicious Christmas cocktails, Father Christmas grottos appear, and snow-covered winter wonderlands decorate the capital. The Christmas lights stay up throughout November, and December so there is plenty of time to see the festive decorations and enjoy all the amazing things to do in London at Christmas. (add backlink here)
Seeing London’s Christmas lights is the perfect festive activity with many Christmas displays nestled in cosy corners of the city and draped along popular shopping districts. From the famous Oxford Street light display to the beautiful displays in Mayfair and the festive fun illuminations in Kew Gardens, there are many stunning Christmas lights to see in London.
In this article, we will guide you through the best Christmas lights in London and where to see them.
Already announced London Christmas lights switch-on 2023 dates
- Carnaby: 02.11.2023
- Mayfair: 16.11.2023
- Belgravia: 15.11.2023
The 16 best London Christmas lights to see this winter
Oxford StreetStreet in Piccadilly CircusAdd to myTravel added
The Oxford Street Christmas lights are the most famous and impressive London Christmas lights stretching three miles, along Oxford Street from Bond Street station along to Tottenham Court Road station. The displays are usually grand and over the top with giant baubles and dangling stars featuring over the years.
In past years, the Oxford Street Christmas lights have included over 5,000 twinkling lights that decorate the Oxford Circus area and the turning on of the lights is a big event in London, marking the start of the Christmas festivities that take place around the city.
The Oxford Street Christmas lights are turned on in early November and the big switch-on ceremony attracts around 1 million people yearly. The Oxford Street lights are some of the best London Christmas lights and bring magical festive cheer to the city. Many people come from around the world to see the Oxford Street Christmas light displays and walk along the iconic shopping street.
Regent StreetStreet in Regent StreetAdd to myTravel added
The Regent Street Christmas lights are one of the most fantastic Christmas light displays in London, and feature the iconic ‘Spirit of Christmas’, a stunning display of golden angels. These stunning twinkling angles float along the length of Regent Street, and St James’s down to Piccadilly Circus.
The lights on Regent Street are turned on in early November and the road is closed for the day so the spectacular Christmas lights switch-on can take place. This includes a Christmas shopping extravaganza, festive activities, and live music before the big switch-on around 3 p.m.
As the lights are so big, energy-efficient light bulbs are now used to ensure that the soaring angels remain eco-friendly and allow these beautiful lights to bring a seasonal glow to the city’s night sky for years to come. They are one of the most beautiful sights of all the London Christmas lights and bring a romantic sparkle to the capital.
Bond StreetStreet in MayfairAdd to myTravel added
Branching off from Oxford Street, the Bond Street Christmas lights are an impressive festive display. Until recently the Christmas lights which stretch down New Bond Street have featured iconic peacock feathers, however, they were changed in 2022 to pay homage to Queen Elizabeth II, which included a beautiful display of jewel-like lights and glittering crowns, inspired by The Imperial State Crown worn by the Queen.
With the newly crowned King Charles III now on the throne, it will be interesting to see whether the New Bond Street Christmas lights will honour the new King or be an entirely new display. However, regardless of the theme, the Bond Street Christmas lights will no doubt be impressive and will include an impressively decorated Nordmann Fir Christmas tree, thousands of twinkling lights, and plenty of Christmas cheer.
Carnaby StreetStreetAdd to myTravel added
If you are looking for some creative Christmas lights in London, then you should head to Carnaby Street. The Carnaby Street Christmas lights are always unique and centre around a fun theme each year. The Christmas illuminations known as ‘Carnaby Celebrates’ have previously included giant disco balls, colourful butterflies, and an underwater theme with floating dolphins, seahorses, and a tribute to the iconic British Rolling Stones.
The Carnaby Christmas lights have a strong eco-conscious theme and have previously used recycled materials to make up the World’s Ocean display in 2019. With the majority of the London Christmas lights using eco-friendly LED lights it is refreshing to see Carnaby Street go the extra mile to incorporate eco-conscious elements into their displays.
The Carnaby Street Christmas lights are located close to Oxford Street and Regent Street and are one of the most creative Christmas light displays in London. The lights are a must-see during the festive period and are easy to add to your itinerary if you are in the Oxford Circus area.
- The 2023 theme is “Carnaby Universe” and It’ll be turned on officially on Thursday, November 2.
MaryleboneNeighborhood in Central LondonAdd to myTravel added
Marylebone Village is a Christmas shopping delight with many beautiful upmarket stores such as Daunt Books and cosy pubs like The Gunmakers. At Christmas, the street has a beautiful Christmas light display and has an exciting switch-on event including live music, festive food stalls, and a Santa Grotto.
The area around Marylebone Village is less busy than Oxford Street, making it a great place to walk around at Christmas, enjoying the fun Christmas events and gazing at the pretty twinkling lights that decorate the streets. The area is also known for its fantastic independent stores making it the ideal place to buy special Christmas gifts and treats.
MayfairNeighborhood in Central LondonAdd to myTravel added
The affluent area of Mayfair is taken over with the festive spirit with some of the most stunning Christmas lights in London. Throughout the Mayfair area, the shops, hotels, and streets are decorated with Christmas lights to welcome the festive season. Mount Street has some wonderful displays with Christmas lights threaded through the trees and South Molton Street decorates its quaint pedestrianized street with pretty blue light arches.
The Christmas lights are switched on in mid-November, with a small ceremony and well-known Mayfair shops and hotels join in with Christmas decorations. Annabels, a members-only club located in Berkeley Square, goes above and beyond with its spectacular Christmas facades, and the Connaught Hotel, on Mount Street, delights the season with its iconic Christmas tree. If you are looking for interesting light displays and impressive retail decorations to wander around then Mayfair is the perfect place for a stroll to admire all the Christmas lights.
- Mayfair Christmas lights switch-on party: 16 November, 2023
BelgraviaNeighborhood in South KensingtonAdd to myTravel added
At Christmas, Belgravia becomes a winter wonderland with Christmas lights taking over Elizabeth Street, Motcomb Street, Eccleston Yards, and Halkin Arcade. Impressive Christmas light displays and grand decorations fill Belgravia with Christmas spirit and attract many people to this picturesque area of London.
Many of the stores in Belgravia also decorate their shop fronts and host dramatic window displays as part of the yearly Belgravia Christmas Display Competition. Each year the retail stores and hotels in Belgravia create striking displays that include snow-covered florals, intricate festive toy shops, and beautiful Christmas trees in a bid to win the coveted title. The area of Belgravia is located right next to Mayfair, which makes for a wonderful Christmas lights tour through London.
- Belgravia Christmas lights switch-on party: 15 November, 2023
Chelsea, LondonNeighborhood in ChelseaAdd to myTravel added
Chelsea gets a festive makeover for the Christmas season, with the streets of Sloane Square, Pavilion Road, Duke of York Square, and King’s Road all getting a generous sprinkle of Christmas sparkle with thousands of twinkling lights.
Every year the Chelsea area is decorated with beautiful Christmas lights that begin when Santa himself turns them on at the exciting Christmas switch-on event on Kings Road. The road is pedestrianized for the occasion and includes a special Santa’s Grotto in Sloane Square and performances on the Kings Road stage.
The event is the perfect Christmas activity that takes place in mid-November and brings a luxurious touch to the festive season. Delightful Christmas cocktails, a Fine Food Market, and special discounts at the luxury boutiques can be enjoyed and children can even meet Rudolph and his reindeer friends before they get busy delivering gifts.
Covent Garden MarketMarket in Covent GardenAdd to myTravel added
Every Christmas, the Covent Garden market is transformed into a Christmas-winter wonderland with thousands of Christmas lights, festive events, and an impressive 60-foot British Christmas tree. It is the perfect place to stop and grab a mulled wine throughout the Christmas season if you are in central London.
The Covent Garden Christmas lights are turned on in early November with a popular switch-on ceremony. Then throughout December, the iconic 60-foot Christmas tree shoots faux snow over cheery shoppers as they walk across the Covent Garden piazza. There are also Christmas photo opportunities dotted around Covent Garden including a Santa sleigh that you can sit in and a festive Wonder Wood tree installation. Visitors can also look out for the festive sandwiches as part of The Christmas Sandwich Festival taking place in Covent Garden at participating restaurants and cafes in the area.
With over 115,000 beautiful Christmas lights decorating the piazza, London’s largest Christmas tree, and mistletoe chandeliers, Covent Garden is one of the most magical Christmas spots in London.
Seven DialsStreet in Covent GardenAdd to myTravel added
Located within Covent Garden, the Seven Dials has its own unique Christmas lights display that lights up the intricate street system. The picturesque streets are decorated with bright Christmas lights that drape overhead, creating festive photo opportunities.
The switch-on ceremony for the Seven Dials Christmas lights usually takes place in mid-November and includes live entertainment and well-known retail stores, such as Neals Yard Remedies and Kiehls, offering festive activities and discounts to get visitors in the Christmas spirit. A walk from Covent Garden Market to the Seven Dials is a great way to see some of the best London Christmas lights, followed by a drink at one of the snug pubs around Covent Garden.
Trafalgar SquareSquare in WestminsterAdd to myTravel added
If you are looking for a historic Christmas light display, then head to the iconic Trafalgar Square. The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has been lighting up London since 1947, when an 80-foot-high Norwegian spruce was gifted to London from Norway, as a thank-you for the British efforts during World War II. It is a tradition that continues today and is one of the most iconic Christmas trees in London.
Energy-efficient light bulbs keep the giant Christmas tree glowing throughout the festive season and there is a yearly Christmas market selling traditional gifts and warm festive food. The switch-on ceremony takes place in early December and is attended by the Lord Mayor of Westminster and includes lively musical acts and plenty of festive cheer. Seeing the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is the epitome of London as you watch the iconic red double-decker buses circle the Square.
Leadenhall MarketMarket in City of LondonAdd to myTravel added
The beautiful and historic Leadenhall Market is a vision at Christmas and its Christmas light display does not disappoint. This popular Victorian market hall is known for its impressive tall Christmas tree which is lit up from top to bottom with Christmas lights. The Leadenhall Market Christmas lights switch-on ceremony has in the past been turned on by the Lord Mayor of London and includes live music, Christmas carols sung by local school children, and a spectacular fireworks fountain.
Leadenhall Market also hosts many festive-themed workshops throughout November and December, such as Christmas wreath-making and wine-tasting nights. If you are looking for glamorous Christmas lights in London, then a trip to Leadenhall Market should be on your list. It is also a great spot for any Harry Potter fans as it was the filming location for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films, and you will be sure to feel the magic in Leadenhall Market at Christmas.
King's Cross and Coal Drops YardShopping Tip in Kings CrossAdd to myTravel added
Coal Drops Yard, located in King’s Cross, is the perfect place to enjoy some sparkling lights and see some festive displays in London. Each year the area is transformed into an enchanted Alpine wonderland with Christmas markets selling tasty snacks and stalls selling mulled wine. There are also plenty of places to pick up some handmade gifts and enjoy some festive fun.
There will be some great Christmas activities such as Club Curling on offer, as well as art sculptures to explore. The geometric tree-inspired light sculpture, Temenos, and the interesting Elsewhere: a Place to Think about the World, installation will return to Coal Drops Yard making the area a fun and creative place to visit during Christmas. Coal Drops Yard Christmas lights are switched on in early November with events and activities that run until early January 2024.
Kew GardensPark in RichmondAdd to myTravel added
For those looking for a special London Christmas light event, then head to the wonderful Kew Gardens, located in South West London. Kew Gardens is a stunning UNESCO World Heritage botanical garden that covers over 300 acres and is home to one of the largest botanical and mycological collections in the world. Every Christmas the grounds are home to Christmas at Kew, a stunning illumination event with lights leading guests through the decorated gardens and woodlands.
Expect to see impressive light tunnels, artistic light sculptures, and picturesque light displays as the trees throughout Kew are lit up. Along the 40-minute trail, there are Christmas market stalls selling mulled wine and seasonal hot food to enjoy as you walk. You need to buy tickets to enter Kew Gardens and the Christmas event begins in mid-November, however, it is the perfect Christmas activity to enjoy with the family or an ideal place for a Christmas date.
Greenwich MarketMarket in GreenwichAdd to myTravel added
The quaint area of Greenwich, located on the banks of the River Thames in South East London, is a fantastic place to see some Christmas lights and be encapsulated by the Christmas spirit. During Christmas, Greenwich town, known for its handmade craft market, is lit up with thousands of beautiful Christmas lights that decorate the market area and the historic Cutty Sark ship.
The town is part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and is a hidden gem boasting an impressive park and a Royal Observatory. During the Christmas season, there is an ice rink, and Christmas market stalls selling everything from festive food and mulled wine to handmade gifts.
As part of the annual switch-on event, visitors can watch a lantern parade hosted by local school children and a big Christmas countdown before the lights are turned on. The switch-on event usually takes place in mid-November and marks the beginning of the festive fun in Greenwich.
St Martin's LaneStreet in Covent GardenAdd to myTravel added
This popular West End street only recently started displaying Christmas lights with its first-ever display in 2022. Being located in the heart of theatre-town it was only fitting that the Christmas light switch-on would include singers and actors from the many wonderful productions that take place in the West End.
The St Martin’s Lane Christmas lights are set to return in 2023 and be even more spectacular than the year before with a fantastic switch-on display turning on over 8 million sparkling Christmas lights. Along with the impressive light displays be sure to look out for some festive activities taking place over the Christmas period with theatre discounts and special shows.
The most beautiful Christmas lights in London on a map
When do the Christmas lights go on in London?
Depending on the street and area, Christmas lights in London are turned on between early November and early December. If you are planning to see a specific set of lights check information before going.
Where are the best Christmas lights in London?
The most famous Christmas light display is on Oxford Street, however, there are impressive Christmas lights across the entire city.
What's the best way to see the Christmas lights in London?
There are many walking tours you can take if you want to see as many Christmas lights as possible. However, you can see many of the lights by walking from one area of London to another or taking a London bus route that passes through the main streets of the city.
What is the most decorated Christmas street in London?
Regent Street is often considered the most decorated street, and its iconic ‘Spirit of Christmas’ floating angels are a beautiful sight.
What is the most Christmassy pub in London?
The most Christmassy pub in London is The Churchill Arms‘ located in Kensington. Every year the pub goes all out with beautiful Christmas lights that cover the exterior of the pub.
What are the best things to do at Christmas in London?
There are many excellent activities in London throughout Christmas. The best activities include seeing a festive London show in the West End, drinking mulled wine at a Christmas Market, and seeing the beautiful window displays at the large department stores such as Liberty, Selfridges, and Fortnum and Mason. Of course, don’t forget to see all the amazing Christmas light displays in London.
I love traveling in Europe and I am passionate about writing about my travels. The cultural peculiarities of each region always fascinate me. I enjoy exploring and discovering the best-kept secrets of each town or village. I love road trips as much as city breaks; I love visiting an art gallery and also the magic of musicals or discovering new delicacies in a street market. In this blog, I write about all my travel adventures and my best tips and tricks! Auf Loving Travel schreibe ich über alle meine Reiseerlebnisse und gebe euch meine besten Tipps und Tricks!