Planning ahead to ensure you soak up as many of London’s gorgeous (and free) festivities as possible? London is officially shining bright with Christmas lights and these are the best winter illuminations to see, plus where to find them.
Where To See Christmas Lights In London 2023
Brand new Christmas lights are lighting up the historic Savile Row this festive season, taking inspiration from the iconic tool found in every tailor’s workshop: a pair of shears. This iconic symbol along with the message ‘Savile Row Christmas’ twinkles against the winter sky every night since 16 November, made up of 5,154 energy efficient and planet-friendly LED bulbs.
Details: From 16 November 2023 in London W1S.
London’s chicest shopping and dining district gets a glamorous festive makeover every Christmas, and the special switch-on celebration returned in November, with Father Christmas once again pressing the ‘on’ switch with the assistance of a little local helper. There’s plenty to see across the borough this season, so check out our full guide for the highlights.
Details: From 18 November 2023 in London SW3. chelseachristmas.co.uk
A unique festive display is lighting the tippy top of London’s tallest building this winter, developed in partnership with the London School of Mosaic. The top 20 storeys of The Shard are lit up in a series of colourful Christmassy displays every night since 28 November, and the display will return every evening up until New Year’s Eve. Visible from 40 miles away, this includes a snowman in a striking red scarf and hat, a softly illuminated candle against a blue backdrop and a festive green and gold design inspired by a Christmas Brooch created by Pop Art pioneering Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi, all lighting up the skyline in a 30 minute long light show on repeat from 5.30pm until 1am.
Details: 28 November–31 December 2023 at The Shard (32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG).
Oxford Street’s Christmas lights are some of the UK’s most famous, turning the busy shopping street into a twinkling (and extremely photogenic) wonderland. This year’s display reuses the same twinkling stars from last year as a nod to the destination’s charity partnership with Starlight, which helps children in hospital experience playtime during treatment (members of the public can also sponsor a star in support of the charity).
Details: From 2 November 2023 in London W1. oxfordstreet.co.uk
Insta-worthy shopping hub Carnaby Street has adopted an out-of-this-world theme this Christmas: ‘Carnaby Universe’. Neon lights are strung up into galaxies across the street, joining the area’s year-round quirky installations. If you’re looking for something a little different, this is it.
Details: From 8 November 2023 in London W1. carnaby.co.uk
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Regent Street’s iconic ‘Spirit of Christmas’ lights make a return in 2023, with countless glistening angels floating above the length of the iconic street.
Details: From 9 November 2023 in London W1. regentstreetonline.com
Quaint Marylebone Village had an eco festive makeover on 9 November with an all-new festive light display made with 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, creating the perfect destination for all of your Christmas shopping. On 9 November, there was even a celebrity switch on moment with none other than Christmas Queen Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Read our festive interview with Sophie here.
Details: From 9 November 2023 in London W1.
St Christopher’s Place
St Christopher’s Place metamorphised into St Christmas Place once again this year, with a brilliantly bright and playful festive display illuminating this charming historic plaza. Visitors can also expect a series of free festive performances every Thursday from 5:30pm and every Saturday from 1:30pm.
Details: From 14 November 2023 at St Christopher’s Place, 23 Barrett St, London W1U 1BF.
Bringing joy to the West End, a twinkling set of dazzling lights adorn some of London’s busiest streets this festive season, including Leicester Square, St Martin’s Lane and Piccadilly, all thanks to London West End and the Heart of London Business Alliance.
Details: From 9 November in London W1.
London’s largest Christmas tree every year – an annual gift from Norway – sits in Trafalgar Square. Social media naysayers are a little rude to the tree, but we think the display is one of the best Christmas light moments in London: it’s big, it’s wholesome, and it’s seriously bright.
Details: From December in London WC2N 5DS. london.gov.uk
Covent Garden’s 2023 Christmas season promises more lights than ever, plus a dazzling array of decorations including giant baubles, spinning mirror balls and 40 enormous bells adorning the famous Market Building. The big switch-on ushered in a seven-week festive programme encompassing surprise performances, food and drink pop-ups and exclusive shopping events. As if all that wasn’t enough, several brands will be opening new outposts in the area, from Missoma and Creed to Omega and Tissot.
Details: From 7 November in London WC2.
Bond Street’s new-for-2022 Crown Jewel Christmas lights have made a return for 2023, with over 93,000 energy efficient bulbs lighting up the gorgeous street everyday from 3–11pm. Plus, a Ralph Lauren Giving Tree, in aid of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, will be unveiled during the switch-on event on 16 November.
Details: From 16 November in London W1.
Festive lights and a whopping tree have returned to the City’s Leadenhall Market this Christmas, with an ever-changing LED display, and a new for 2023 light tunnel to tempt visitors to explore the ancient cobbled passageways. The Lord Mayor pressed the all important switch on 16 November, accompanied by uplifting carols and pyrotechnic firework fountains.
Details: From 6pm on 16 November 2023 at Leadenhall Market (Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT).
The Belgravia Christmas light switch on returned on 15 November, with glittering displays appearing on on Elizabeth Street, Motcomb Street, Eccleston Yards, Halkin Arcade and Pimlico Road.
Details: From 15 November 2023 in London SW1.
Gorgeous, gorgeous Mayfair: it gets all the more beautiful in London’s most prestigious district with a sprinkling of festive lights. The big blue gift bows have returned for 2023, a dazzling display of 63,000 energy-efficient sparkling lights.
Details: From 16 November 2023 in London W1. mayfairldn.com
Skate at Somerset House
A staple in London’s festive scene, Somerset House’s annual skating rink is one of the best places to feel festive, day or night. This year, Switzerland Tourism is the headline sponsor, with festive feasting by Jimmy Garcia at Chalet Suisse returning for a second year. New for 2023 is a series of Skate Lates with Rock Angel, featuring rink-side deck takeovers from a curated line-up of contemporary DJs, artists and collectives. Plus the Skate School is back for beginners, while Shelter Boutique and HSBC UK will be hosting a pop-up store of vintage garms. Booking ahead is essential.
Details: 15 November–23 December 2023 at Somerset House (Strand, London WC2R 1LA). somersethouse.org.uk
What began in 2005 as a small Christmassy fun fair has evolved into London’s largest annual festive event, brimming with rides, bars, food stalls and Christmas lights.
Details: 17 November 2023–1 January 2024 at Hyde Park, London. Tickets are free during off-peak times, and either £5 or £7.50 at peak times. Booking ahead is essential. hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Christmas At Kew
The world’s largest and most diverse botanical collection, Kew, is taken over by festive cheer every winter with its Christmas at Kew winter trails. Think immersive light installations, tasty food stalls and festive drinks, all surrounded by beautiful plants and trees.
Details: 15 November 2023–7 January 2024 at Kew Gardens, London. Tickets from £21.50. Booking ahead is essential. kew.org
London’s new neighbourhood is lit neon this Christmas with The Luminaze, a brand new walkthrough light instalation from Emergency Exit Arts (EEA) that will wow visitors of all ages. Visitors can expect to see a living room, stars and trees, all created with energy-efficient neon lights.
Details: 2 December 2023–2 January 2024 at Samovar Space (Olympic Way, Wembley Park, Wembley HA9 0FR). Completely free to to enter.
Featured Image: Chelsea Christmas Lights 2022.