A Fantastically Festive Walk Through London's Christmas Lights And Decorations

Angel lights with outstretched wings in a row overhead on Jermyn Street

The Jermyn Road Christmas lights are like child variations of the Regent Road angels.

Need to see as a lot festive stuff in London as you may? We have put collectively this self-guided strolling route round the most effective of central London’s Christmas lights, bushes decorations and shows. It isn’t an entire listing, but it surely packs a heck of lots of festivities right into a route of round two hours (relying in your strolling pace, variety of pitstops, and the way lengthy you pause at every cease for photographs and the like). You need not do all of it — you can begin and cease the place you want, cowl only one part, skip stops, or break up it into a number of sections to cowl over a number of evenings. This map reveals you the place every cease is, that can assist you plan your time:

Do not forget to consider meals, drink and bathroom breaks alongside the best way — we at all times discover that Christmas lights look their greatest if you’ve acquired a scorching chocolate in hand. This route is greatest accomplished when it is darkish, as a lot of its elements include lights and illuminations. Have a learn up on the working hours of the West Finish Christmas lights this yr earlier than you go.

1. Trafalgar Sq. Christmas tree

People browsing at wooden chalets in from of the National Gallery

Begin your tour near the official centre of London, in Trafalgar Sq.. The Norwegian Spruce Christmas tree which graces the sq. yearly is its most well-known festive landmark (lights switched on from 7 December 2023), however the sq. additionally hosts a Christmas market, spilling over from Leicester Sq. (extra on which later) with wood cabins lining the highest terrace outdoors the Nationwide Gallery, and an amazing whiff of mulled wine pervading the world in any respect hours.

From Trafalgar Sq., stroll 4 minutes east alongside to Pall Mall to the underside of Waterloo Place, the place you may discover the…

2. St James’s Christmas tree

People taking photos of a Christmas tree decorated with golden lights and red and gold baubles

… on Waterloo Place. For our cash, it is one of many prettiest and greatest dressed bushes within the capital yearly, and sits within the open air, free for anybody to go to. Simply thoughts your self getting there, because it’s on one thing on an island in the course of busy lanes of visitors. From right here, search for and you will see the…

3. Regent Road Christmas lights

A glowing golden angel over Regent Street

The ‘Spirit of Christmas’ angels attain all the best way down Decrease Regent Road — which is considerably much less busy that Regent Road itself. Stroll 5 minutes as much as Piccadilly Circus if you wish to catch the enduring view of the angels towards Regent Road’s curves. From right here it is one other five-minute stroll to Fortnum & Mason.

Alternatively, if you happen to aren’t bothered about seeing Regent Road correct, otherwise you need a quieter route, flip left off Decrease Regent Road by Tesco and wander 4 minutes alongside Jermyn Road, one avenue again from Piccadilly, the place most of the companies typically have their very own spectacular festive shows. Flip proper alongside Duke Road and the place it meets Piccadilly, you may discover…

4. Fortnum & Mason introduction home windows

Exterior of Fortnum & Mason bathed in red light with a different number on each window, and '2023' written vertically down the corner

Division retailer Fortnum & Mason turns its facade into an enormous introduction calendar, with numbers on every of the upstairs home windows. Take the time to take a look at the street-level home windows too — this yr, it has mini, animated recreations of areas of the division retailer: champagne bottles dance down the purple carpeted staircase, and elegantly-wrapped items cram themselves into the elevate.

Cross Piccadilly outdoors Fortnum & Mason (the most effective views of the arrival home windows could be had from throughout the highway outdoors the Royal Academy anyway). Wander a few minutes west alongside Piccadilly, remembering to peep into the Burlington and Piccadilly Arcades, earlier than turning proper onto Previous Bond Road for the…

5. Bond Road Christmas lights and home windows

Cartier with a red hot air balloon light on the front

The Cartier Bond Road Christmas show — with the road’s jewel-themed Christmas lights overhead.

Crowns and jewels adorn the skies over Bond Road this yr. However in addition to wanting up, bear in mind to look left and proper, as a number of of the high-end shops within the space go all out with their Christmas shows. Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Cartier, each Chanel outlets, Van Cleef and Arpels, and Christian Dior are notably price a glance this yr.

Keep on with Previous Bond Road and New Bond Road so far as Bruton Road, then flip left and stroll 5 minutes to….

6. Annabel’s in Berkeley Sq.

A huge glowing hot air balloon decoration across the whole front of a building

The non-public members’ membership has been upping the ante barely every year with its exterior festive facade, and it is reached one thing of a crescendo for 2023. An enormous purple and white scorching air balloon takes up the whole lot of the constructing’s frontage, illuminated by glowing ropes, hovering over a moderately bemused doorman.

From right here, it is an eight-minute meander (eyes left for the Connaught Christmas tree alongside the route) to…

7. The Ever After Backyard in Grosvenor Sq.

Rows and rows of white roses glowing in the dark

A glowing area of 25,000 white roses has taken up residence in Grosvenor Sq. once more. It is the Ever After Backyard, and raises cash for the Royal Marsden Most cancers Charity, as these roses could be sponsored in reminiscence of a cherished one. That stated, it is free to go to, and value wandering by way of, although do bear in mind that it might probably get muddy on the paths, because of the quantity of individuals. In situ till 19 December 2023.

[If you’re planning to weave a visit to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland into your festive explorations, this is the time to do so. It’s about a 15-minute walk from Grosvenor Square, depending which entrance you’re heading for, though do bear in mind that you need to book in advance. It’s not really the sort of place where you can make a quick stop either — it’s a huge site, and gets very busy.]

In any other case, wander 4 minutes up North Audley Road or Duke Road to Oxford Road for the…

8. Oxford Road Christmas lights

A 98 bus driving beneath curtains of glowing stars on Oxford Street

A festive staple within the capital, the Oxford Road Christmas lights as soon as once more take the form of ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’. Hundreds of stars curtain the road from above, and could be seen the size of the road. Fancy getting a better look? See them from a double decker bus. In any other case, transfer on to the…

9. Selfridges Christmas home windows

A window display with a pile of presents wrapped in red and the word 'Showtime!' written above

You will have emerged onto Oxford Road reverse one nook of the Selfridges division retailer constructing. Observe the constructing’s facade alongside Oxford Road for a take a look at this yr’s Christmas home windows. The theme is ‘Showtime’, but it surely’s extra of a peep present vibe, with curtains teasingly opening and shutting to cover the clothes behind.

Head east about 4 minutes alongside Oxford Road — think about taking a 30-second diversion on the purple clock to see the St Christopher’s Place lights — earlier than crossing over outdoors Bond Road station and heading over to the…

10. South Molton Road Christmas lights

Looking down a pedestrianised street in the dark towards a glowing white Christmas tree at the far end

These stunning glowing arches which we so adored aren’t any extra: The 2023 South Molton Road Christmas lights consist of a big glowing white Christmas tree at every finish of the pedestrianised avenue, and strings of bulbs with waves of sunshine operating by way of them overhead.

From the south finish of South Molton Road, it is a two minute stroll to…

11. Skate West Finish ice rink in Hanover Sq.

People skating beneath a pedestrian footbridge covered in twinkling lights

A brand new ice rink for Christmas 2023, it has the added bonus of a bar proper within the centre, reached by footbridges over the ice, and open to everybody. Good place to cease for a scorching chocolate or mulled wine refuel earlier than strolling three minutes again as much as Oxford Road for…

12. John Lewis

A giant inflatable plant - with a face that looks like a frog - spanning several floors of the front of John Lewis on Oxford Street

See that huge frog plastered on the entrance of the constructing? It is truly a plant — a nod to this yr’s John Lewis Christmas advert — however you are not the primary to make that mistake, and you will not be the final. Wander on a couple extra minutes to…

13. Oxford Circus for the Regent Road lights

Golden Regent Street angels

Oxford Circus is a first-rate spot for seeing each the Regent Road and Oxford Road Christmas lights intersecting, although it is also very busy, so snap a photograph shortly and head east alongside Oxford Road then instantly proper down Argyll Road for a three-minute stroll to…

14. Liberty London at Christmas

Christmas trees with gold lights on the exterior of the Liberty building

The gorgeous constructing — produced from the timber of two ships, don’tcha know — is ogle-worthy at any time of yr, however comes into its personal throughout the festive season, when light-bedecked Christmas bushes classily line its exterior.

Pop simply behind the constructing for the…

15. Carnaby Christmas lights

Brightly coloured signs and lights over Carnaby Street

Operating the size of the pedestrianised avenue, you may see vibrant, eye-catching glittering neon Christmas decorations overhead. The 2023 Carnaby lights appear to be somebody let the youngsters free within the glitter part of the craft field… and we imply that in a loving approach. Not notably Christmassy, however its shiny colors actually spark pleasure of some type as you stroll beneath them.

From right here, the longest part of the stroll takes you to Leicester Sq. in about 12 minutes (a number of routes are attainable however we suggest down by way of Golden Sq. in the direction of Piccadilly Circus the place you will get one other eyeful of the Regent Road lights, and take a brief diversion to see the Hamley’s Christmas home windows or the brand new Savile Row Christmas lights if you want).

16. Christmas in Leicester Sq.

A wooden chalet with a bell tower, outlined with Christmas lights

All through the festive interval, Leicester Sq. is house to a Speigeltent, the place performances of La Cirque happen. However even with no ticket you may go to the Christmas in Leicester Sq. market, an intimate gathering of wood cabins, lit in that twee method of Christmas markets, promoting tree decorations and the like. Notice, there’s normally a few minutes wait to get in as bag searches on the entrance trigger a little bit of a backlog.

From Leicester Sq., head seven minutes east to…

17. Covent Backyard Christmas tree and decorations

Giant bells and baubles hanging from the ceiling in the Covent Garden Market building

It is all change in Covent Backyard Market this yr, because the outsized mistletoe decorations which have hung from the ceiling the previous few years have been changed with outsized golden bells. The towering Christmas tree can nonetheless be discovered within the Piazza, and there is a Santa’s sleigh picture alternative on the western finish of the market constructing.

Wander east out of the Piazza, down Russell Road then Wellington Road for the 10 minute stroll to…

18. Somerset Home ice rink

People skating in front of Somerset House, with the facade illuminated in pink

The ultimate cease on our route is Skate at Somerset Home, an ice rink set alongside a towering Christmas tree within the moderately pretty Somerset Home courtyard. Not a skater? No drawback — the Skate Lounge alongside the rink serves up refreshments, or you may e book in for dinner on the alpine-inspired restaurant Chalet Suisse by Jimmy Garcia.

From right here, you may head alongside Strand — with the ‘North Financial institution’ Christmas lights overhead — and again to the place to begin of Trafalgar Sq.. Alternatively, if you happen to’ve acquired any vitality left, you may cross Waterloo Bridge to South Financial institution, the place the Southbank Centre Winter Market is in full swing, with wood cabins promoting meals, drink and items lining the river aspect. The free Winter Gentle pageant can be on, with illuminated sculptures dotted across the outdoors of the constructing.

An alternative choice is to stroll round quarter-hour east of Somerset Home and hunt out the Strolling With The Snowman free artwork path, with a dozen sculptures unfold in regards to the space.

All photographs by the writer.

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