What’s great about London during the Christmas season is that every borough goes all out. The result – a city full of sparkling tinsel, lights and festive spirit that even the North Pole would struggle to compete with.
The Oxford Street Christmas light switch-on is one of the most celebrated in London and occurs in early November. This display is one of the priciest in the entire country, costing in excess of £11 million. The illuminations and festivities are absolutely fantastic and attendance is always in the tens of thousands. Hollywood stars often take to the stage to flick the switch, so if you want a spot near the front, best get there early.
Greenwich Lantern Parade
The Greenwich Lantern Display takes place in one of the most picturesque places in London – the Old Royal Naval College. This year the event will be hosted by CBeebies presenter Sarah Jane Honeywell, who will guide the local schoolchildren through the town as they march homemade lanterns into Greenwich Market. Characters from the Greenwich Playhouse’s pantomime will switch on the lights in the street, and then everyone is welcome to gather around and join Father Christmas in his grotto for some festive carols.
Harrods Department Store
There’s no better place to go Christmas shopping in London than Harrods. Throughout November and December the entire store is converted into a captivating winter wonderland. Literally every room, from the deli to the winery, will feature sparkling decorations that’ll make every step you take feel like you’re in Santa’s workshop. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s still definitely worth a visit. Starting from Friday 7th November the world famous store will be opening their Christmas Grotto, where children can meet the in-house Santa, in what’s without a doubt the biggest and best department store grotto in the country.
As always Regent Street will be one of the highlights of London this Christmas and will be turning the festivities into a day-long event. The whole street will be closed, and the lights aren’t the only thing that’ll captivate the thousands of spectators; there will also be a firework display during the switch-on. Like Oxford Street there is bound to be a bunch of famous faces partaking in the fun – some of whom will stay around for autograph signing.
Fayre of St. James
The Fayre of St. James is one of the most underrated Christmas events in London and is certainly one to check out if you prefer the more traditional side of things. The event takes place on Jermyn Street in Piccadilly and there are always plenty of celebrity guests bringing a little glamour to the proceedings. The Fayre of St. James starts with a 500-strong crowd singing traditional carols, before moving out onto the street for the grand Christmas lights switch-on. The end of the night concludes with a VIP party at one of Mayfair’s prestigious restaurants.
Christmas in London may not always have the snow covered streets that seems to adorn it in the movies, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Besides, it certainly doesn’t shy away from traditional festivities. The events usually start in early to mid November, and continue until 5th January. Sadly, with so much going on in and around the city, it would be impossible to do and see everything.
Don’t like the crowds? If you’d prefer to bypass the cold winds, wet weather and busy streets, then why not view London’s Christmas lights from above on the London Helicopter?