I wanted to gather together the best Christmas light displays in London this year as a helpful blog post/walking guide. Gather a few friends, wrap up warmly and make your way to central London for some of the most beautiful Christmas lights in the world. Just be warned that especially on weekend evenings it gets BUSY so bring a mask.
Oh, don’t forget a mulled wine/cider/apple juice or two enroute to keep those cheeks rosy… (if you want to pop into the luxurious hotels – which I definitely recommend – make sure you’re tidily dressed. Just walk in as if you do it every day…)
This festive walk is super easy and takes you by foot from Baker Street Station through to Covent Garden. Special mention has to also be made Chelsea/Belgravia – their festive light displays are always glorious, and Greenwich who also put on amazing Christmas light displays.
BAKER STREET STATION GEESE
We’re starting with perhaps my favourite surprise, and most underrated fowl themed lights in London. Taking a leaf from the Twelve Days of Christmas carol, sixteen festive geese act as gatekeepers to the intersection. I guess it’s the six-geese-a-laying, their mates and a couple of friends?
MARYLEBONE HIGH STREET
Always classy (and usually turned on at the annual Christmas Fayre by a celebrity) the Marylebone High Street festive lights are always beautiful – and 2021’s filligree display is no exception. [Picking up a Mulled beverage to go at one of the lovely pubs is very much recommended at this part of the tour… excuse the somewhat blurry image I may have been photographing under the influence of cinnamon, star anise, cloves and nutmeg.]
ST CHRISTOPHERS PLACE
Always a popular shopping & restaurant spot, St Christophers Place always decorate beautifully with gigantic baubles and fairy lights spread amonst the boughs of the trees.
This year Oxford street is a star-studded affair; I loved them shining above the heads of bustling shoppers. (In the map I’ve pinned Bond Street for the purposes of this walk.)
SOUTH MOLTON STREET
I actually gasped out loud at the South Molton Street lights this year – they are an absolute delight.
SPECIAL MENTION – CLARIDGE’S HOTEL & CONNAUGHT HOTEL
Pop in to see their glorious tree, always a special piece of art.
NEW BOND STREET
The Bond Street peacock-inspired lights are back this year, and they’re spreading Christmas cheer to all the passersby.
SPECIAL MENTION: THE RITZ HOTEL, FORTNUM & MASON
Both always catch my breath; the tree inside the Ritz is always gorgeous, and Fortnums has to be seen to be believed.
SPECIAL MENTION: ANTHROPOLOGIE, REGENT STREET
(Random I know, but the window display is just so awesome this year.)
The Spirit of Christmas’ will be lit from 13 November 2021 – 2 January 2022, with the displays switched on from 2pm to midnight everyday.
This year’s Carnaby Christmas lights are created in collaboration with the Choose Love charity, who work tirelessly to raise funds and much-needed amenities for refugees and displaced people across the globe. The 600 colourful 3D and 2D butterflies span the length of Carnaby Street, Foubert’s Place and Newburgh Street, spreading a heartwarming message of spiritual rebirth, transformation, change, hope, and life.
REGENT STREET SAINT JAMES
Continuing the angels with a golden hue, keep looking overhead.
Always beautifully decorated, make sure you wander down to Seven Dials – it’s a good spot to top up the mulled beverage as well.
On the night of the switch on, I joined the crowds eagerly awaiting the fanfare (Britain just does pomp & circumstance better than everywhere in the world). We had brass band Christmas carols, Norwegian sopranos and a few fairly short addresses by Norwegian notables, reminding us of the reason for the 20m+ tree. Essentially, it is a thank you gift from Norway to Britain for helping their country out in World War Two and a specially selected tree has been floated from Oslo to London annually ever since (more of the story here).
The humungous tree is festooned with 30,000 lights and giant baubles – a task which requires a team of 60 workers to put in 300 hours of work and use a cherry-picker for the upper branches. It towers over the Royal Opera House Arcade as well as the stunning Maison de Fleurs festive floral archway that will mark the entrance to the Apple Market, home to British crafts and Christmas gifts. In total, 115,000 lights will dazzle visitors to Covent Garden, and elsewhere in the plaza, those lovely giant mistletoe chandeliers are back for another year, along with giant mirror balls in the Market Building.
It’s around about a 4 – 4.5 km walk – but you can take it as slowly as you like. I’d recommend popping into the parallel streets if you’re crowd averse. While you’re out & about, the Churchill Arms near Nottinghill always decorates for Christmas with an incredible 100 Christmas Trees on the 18th Century roof… they do a good Thai menu as well.
Of these, which do you think are the best Christmas Light Displays in London this year?
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