As Halloween fades into memory and the temperatures drop, the leaves have gracefully fell from the trees in beloved London parks like Regent’s Park and Hyde Park. The onset of Winter Wonderland is imminent, and with only a few weeks left until December, there’s no avoiding it: Christmas is on its way. Soon, the city will be adorned with the radiant glow of Christmas lights. Here’s a preview of what I know about this year’s displays, along with a few anticipated highlights. The lights will start appearing in November, with some holding off until December, leaving it to the last minute. Here are some dates to mark on your calendar if you’re planning to see the most famous Christmas lights in London this year.
Christmas Lights in London 2023
Carnaby Street (from November 2)
Carnaby Street will feature an otherworldly, galactic display this year. Enormous shimmering planets, neon waves of light, and a grand vortex will illuminate the shoppers below. When they come to life in November, a major celebration will ensue, with over 100 Carnaby venues hosting special events and promotions. Live music and entertainment will also be on offer. Don’t miss your ticket to this celebration of dining, shopping, and revelry, as well as witnessing the lights’ dazzling debut.
Oxford Street (from November 2)
The iconic Oxford Street Christmas stars return this year, and they’re making an early appearance. Much like last year, they’ll shine for a limited time to ensure an eco-conscious display, crafted from recycled materials. New for 2023 is Oxford Street’s partnership with the children’s charity Starlight, allowing the public to ‘sponsor a star’ and brighten the holidays for children in hospitals.
Seven Dials (from November 7)
In an exclusive reveal, Seven Dials plans to light up its display on November 7, pending planning approval (which we’re confident will be granted). The display will feature temporary Christmas trees, elegant festoon lighting adorning the streets, and verdant garlands and pea lighting in Neal’s Yard Tunnel.
Covent Garden (from November 7)
Covent Garden, renowned for its spectacular Christmas displays, returns with a fresh theme for 2023 and even more lights than last year! At the heart of it all stands the famous Covent Garden Christmas tree, adorned with 30,000 lights and colossal baubles. This year’s decor also boasts 40 oversized bells with red bows, 12 gigantic baubles, and eight mirror balls filling the Market Building with festive cheer.
Regent Street (from November 9)
Regent Street, the trailblazer of Christmas lights since 1954, will once again be adorned with the iconic Spirits of Christmas, spreading joy throughout the city. Although there’s no official switch-on event, the lights will shine bright from November 9 onwards.
Marylebone Village (from November 9)
In the charming neighborhood of Marylebone, this year’s lights support the mental health charity Mind in Brent, Wandsworth, and Westminster. The switch-on night promises live music, festive activities, and more at the Merry Marylebone event. Keep an ear out for news on the celebrity guest set to illuminate the festivities.
Kew Gardens (from November 15)
Kew Gardens returns in 2023 with a magical, twinkling lights trail. Over a million lights will transform this UNESCO World Heritage Site into a dazzling wonderland! Expect a fire garden, monumental illuminations, the Instagram-famous Christmas Cathedral, and a variety of independent street food vendors to keep you warm and well-fed.
Belgravia (from November 15)
Belgravia steals the spotlight with its Christmas lights display this year, illuminating Motcomb Street, Elizabeth Street, Pimlico Road, Eccleston Yards, and Halkin Arcade with dazzling white lights. The evening will be filled with festivities, including a performance by the London Gay Men’s Chorus and a visit from Father Christmas and his reindeer. This night also marks the launch of Belgravia’s Christmas Trail of Cheer, adorning local establishments with festive displays.
Mayfair (from November 16)
Mayfair‘s iconic blue lights will once again adorn the streets, creating a luminous canopy along the pedestrianized walkways. The enchanting archways and fairy lights promise to provide a twinkling spectacle for all. Mid-November will also see the return of Mount Street’s display, boasting an impressive 63,000 lights. This unveiling will also herald the appearance of the iconic Christmas tree from the Connaught Hotel, a sight not to be missed.
Chelsea (from November 18)
Chelsea will once again be aglow with twinkling Christmas lights, accompanied by a bustling street party to mark the occasion. With Santa Claus on hand to illuminate the lights, expect fireworks, a Christmas market, and a host of activities, offers, discounts, and even a light dusting of snow!
Trafalgar Square (from December 7)
A longstanding tradition of gratitude, Norway gifts London a 25-meter tall “queen of the forest” tree each year as a token of appreciation for the UK’s support during WW2. This heartwarming gesture has been taking place since 1947. In November, the tree embarks on its journey across the sea, bedecked with an abundance of fairy lights, creating a magnificent spectacle upon its arrival in the UK. This cherished tradition continues, with this year’s Norwegian Christmas tree set to grace Trafalgar Square in December.
As the festive season approaches, these luminous displays will transform London into a magical winter wonderland. Whether strolling through the iconic streets or immersing yourself in the enchanting trails, there’s no shortage of holiday spirit to be found throughout the city. Mark your calendars and prepare to be dazzled by the most stunning Christmas lights in London!