If you’ve ever been to London at Christmas, then you don’t need us to tell you how glorious the display of lights is across the city. From store windows to the streets which surround the Lancaster Gate restaurants, city parks, and shopping districts, London boasts some of the finest displays of fairy lights and twinkling light displays in the UK – with this article designed to be your very own guide to some of the best.
To start with one of the biggest and most central displays of festive cheer in London, we have Oxford Street. Located just minutes from the Park Grand Lancaster Gate and other high end hotels, Oxford Street is home to hundreds of stores with the lights hung across the street from side to side bringing festive cheer and colour to evening shoppers and commuters as they pass under the lights.
Whether or not in recognition of the new King, whose coronation will be celebrated in May 2023, Bond Street has hung a series of regal inspired lights this year which create the illusion of magnanimous crowns hung across each of the crossroads which make up the high end and designer-inspired street.
Colourful and extravagant, these lights are some of the most impressive in the city because of the way they have been installed and hung – connected in four corners by the buildings which line the street.
A series of angels light up Regent’s Street every year, strung across from both sides to create elaborate and eye-catching displays of twinkling light high above the traffic. As you approach Regent’s Street from all angles, these lights can’t help but bring a smile to your face.
There is no better place to head for Christmas decorations and a full festive experience, than Selfridges. With giant baubles that are bigger than a car hung down the central stairway, catching the lights that shine from above and causing a disco glint of festive twinkling to spread across the escalators and across each floor, Selfridges is fully committed to Christmas. So much so that it isn’t just the store windows that attract Christmas lovers, but the existence of a fully fledged Christmas store as well.
Store Windows and restaurant fronts
From Christmas meals to an Indian afternoon tea in London’s central hotels, the city is home to all manner of dining experiences and shops – and pretty much all of them embrace the joy and light of Christmas from November through to the new year, every single year.
While Selfridges deserved its own excusive mention in this guide thanks to its commitment both in store windows and in its very own Christmas shop, there are so many stores and brands that are worth passing by and visiting in your hunt for London’s best Christmas lights. And the lights certainly aren’t exclusive to the outside of these restaurants, hotels, and stores – with the interior of each brought to life in a flood of colourful festive light.
Known for its bright colours and vibrant business premises, Carnaby Street is colourful all year round – but takes on a life of its own at Christmas. Located within walking distance of many of the top London hotel deals with breakfast included, Carnaby Street is the kind of place that you can visit at any time of the day, and you will still feel alive with festive cheer.
With lights both inside and outside the main market building, Covent Garden is always beautiful – but Christmas is something else. Not only does the beauty of the light display draw in festive lovers, but the plethora of pop-us and bars which are erected around the outside of the market building and shops makes Covent Garden a fun place to go for an evening drink with friends or loved ones.
Another single business that deserves a spot on our guide to London’s Christmas lights is Eataly – the Italian marketplace store located just seconds from London Liverpool Street train station. From the outside, Eataly’s Christmas display is over the top, glamorous, and full of festive delight – and the inside is no different. Lights, decorations, and festive messages adorn the walls and draw customers in to enjoy a cocktail, a meal at one of the onsite cafes or delis, or simply to pick up some Italian goods for an at-home feast.
A little way outside of central London you will come to Kew Gardens – notorious for its display of colourful flora and fauna in the summer, and for its light display during the festive period. Visitors pay for entry to this attraction and are then invited to explore the grounds and enjoy the many varied illuminations which fill the gardens – sipping on a mulled wine and letting kids revel in the Christmas treats that can be found around the trail.
London’s top hotels
London hotels often boast a range of deals and discounts during the festive season, playing into the arrival of Winter Wonderland and enticing visitors from all over the world to stay in their midst during their city break. And while comfortable beds and reasonable rates are both attractive to visitors, many hotels go above and beyond when it comes to decorations and lights – and we don’t just mean the obvious 5 star hotels and luxury boutiques.
Most of the hotels across London offer some kind of festive display in their reception and entry space, with visitors able to enjoy Christmassy cocktails and meals as part of their booking in the hotel restaurant.
With so much to see throughout the festive period in London, almost all of these twinkly experiences are completely free and can be enjoyed at your leisure – whether you head to London specifically to enjoy the lights, or simply appreciate and enjoy them while shopping or heading to your festive afternoon tea. Whatever your reasoning, take the time to look up and enjoy the lights this Christmas in London.