If you’re in London around Christmas time, you’ll see so many beautiful Christmas lights all around the city… We personally think that London is one of the BEST cities in the world for Christmas decor.
A really fun and free thing to do in London in the winter months is to go around the city spotting and admiring all of the lights and decor. So here’s our ultimate list of places to spot beautiful Christmas lights in London.
*Post updated for 2023, but we will keep adding any new information.
Photo Courtesy of Carnaby Street
The area of Carnaby is located between Soho, Regent Street and Oxford Street and is a super popular spot for shopping, eating and drinking. They have fun (free) events and experiences along Carnaby Street, the main street of this little neighborhood, all year round but they truly go ALL OUT for Christmas, with lights, glitter, decor and more, and each year there’s a new theme to it all.
This year (2023) they will do the officially switch on of the lights on the 2nd of November, so if you’re around, make it down in the evening for live music, in-store events, free drinks, discounts and more. Of course, the rest of the Christmas season, you can still enjoy all of the decor post-sunset.
Carnaby Street | Soho | Lights on: 2nd November 2023
Photo Courtesy of Oxford Street
Oxford Street has one of the biggest Christmas light displays in London, and because the world-famous shopping street sees an average of one million visitors a DAY, it’s also one of the most Instagrammed. The lights tend to be changed every couple of years, with a new charity is being advertised and supported with each Christmas that passes.
We recommend visiting just as the sun sets to try to avoid the crowds as much as you can, as the street can get SUPER crowded in December, and sometimes the Oxford Street tube station gets shut! Otherwise, Jess has had many nights out where she got to roam empty Oxford Street at 2am with her (tipsy) friends 😉 We highly recommend it.
Mayfair | Lights on: 2nd of November 2023
Regent Street and St. James’s
Regent Street was the first to introduce Christmas lights to London’s West End back in 1954, and they still look incredible. The lights don’t ever seem to change much, but with the highlight being its beautiful angel light displays, we are totally ok with it. Regent Street and Oxford Street meet each other at Oxford Circus (and Oxford Circus tube station), so you can absolutely see the lights on both streets in one trip. Add Carnaby in there too!
Regent Street | Soho | Lights on: 8th November 2023
Bond street is a very swanky, posh shopping area, and their Christmas lights aren’t any different. They’re glamorous and extravagant, with lights shaped like white peacock feathers, a dedication to men in the late 1700’s who were known as ‘peacocks’ for deliberately strutting along the street in their extravagant fashion choices.
The shops on this street have beautiful festive window displays too, from Bulgari’s sequin serpent, to Cartier’s world-famous red ribbon across its storefront (an Instagram favourite).
Bond Street | Mayfair | Lights on: 16th November 2023
Seven Dials, located in the Covent Garden area, is a collection of seven street converging onto a roundabout adorned with a sundial at the top of an impressive obelisk. This is prime Christmas light spotting as the roundabout and each of the seven streets are strung with a beautiful display of light each year.
The shops, cafes and restaurants in the area are always in the festive spirit as well, so you’ll be sure to be in the holiday spirit after light-spotting at Seven Dials.
Photo Courtesy of Covent Garden
As far as Christmas lights in London going, Covent Garden Piazza is one of the most famous areas. Don’t miss the city’s biggest tree, which sits right in the Piazza at over 55 feet tall and decorated with over 30,000 lights. Then head inside the picture perfect Market Building to see the 45 mistletoe chandeliers that are decked out with over 700 glistening berries, plus about 100,000 pea lights that are lighting up the building every evening. Also, don’t forget to experience the hourly snowfall in the piazza.
Covent Garden | Covent Garden | Lights on: 7th November 2023
Photo Courtesy of Marylebone Village
Head to beautiful Marylebone in the western part of central London and stop by Marylebone Village for its boutique shops, swanky restaurants, and cute cafes, and stay for the Christmas decor. You’ll feel like you’re in a quaint English town that’s blown their budget to go all out for their Christmas light display.
Switch-on happens on the 9th of November this year, with a big celebration event that’s completely free to attend.
Marylebone Village | Marylebone | Lights on: 9th November 2023
Photo Courtesy of Christmas at Kenwood
Christmas at Kenwood
This December, as the day darkens up, Kenwood’s sensational light trail comes to life. Nothing will get you more in the Christmas spirit than walking through this twinkling winter wonderland, filled with incredible installations and multisensory displays of light and sound. Plus, you get to see the incredible views of London from Hampstead Heath while enjoying a nice hot chocolate.
Christmas at Kenwood | Hampstead Heath | WA | Lights on: 1st December 2023 – 1st January 2024
Photo Courtesy of Kew Gardens
Christmas at Kew
Every year, Kew Gardens sets up a Winter Trail of lights for its visitors and wow, it’s such an incredible experience. The light displays, with over a million bulbs in total, are like works of art, sure to impress even the scroogiest of guests. You’ll feel fully immersed as the festive music plays in the background and you stop along the trail for flavoured marshmallows and mulled wine.
The display will be switched on on the 16th of November this year, running until 7th Jan 2023. Tickets are £22.50 for adults for off peak times and £29 for peak, and family tickets are available.
Christmas at Eltham Palace
Eltham Palace, located in Greenwich, is a striking Art Deco mansion surrounded by 19 acres of award-winning gardens and is run by the English Heritage foundation. Lucky for us, in the winter, the foundation opens “Christmas at Eltham Palace: An Enchanted Christmas Light Trail”, as we immerse ourselves in a world of seasonal sparkle and festive cheer.
It’s super family-friendly, with cheaper tickets for kids, and while you enjoy the glowing lights you can sip some mulled wine, toast a marshmallow or dip into the award-winning gift shop for some Christmas treats.
Enchanted Eltham Palace | Eltham | Lights on: 1st December 2023 – 1st January 2024
Or book onto one of these tours…
Image Courtesy of Viator
See the Christmas lights on a bike
If you want to see the Christmas lights but don’t fancy walking, you might prefer this Christmas lights bike tour, a wonderful way to embrace the festive atmosphere in a more eco-friendly way. You’ll spend the evening pedalling through the capital’s streets, illuminated with the sparkle of Christmas lights and decorations. You’ll pass by famous landmarks like Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and Covent Garden, all while keeping warm on two wheels rather than feeling chilly on foot.
Christmas Lights Bike Tour of London | Southbank
Open Top Bus Tour of Christmas Lights
If you don’t fancy walking or riding a bike, then book this open-top bus tour of Christmas lights in London, which will take you on a voyage of the city on a classic red bus, allowing you to soak up the magical spirit of London during the holiday season. Hop aboard the open-top bus and head on a journey through the heart of the city as it comes alive with the glimmer of lights and decorations. Take in the sights of iconic landmarks like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London, all illuminated in a festive glow. With informative commentary and cosy blankets provided on the bus, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the city’s festive atmosphere in optimum comfort.
Image Courtesy of Viator
See the lights in a traditional black cab
There aren’t many things you can do that will be as traditional as cruising in a classic black cab to see the iconic Christmas lights in London. This private tour in a traditional black cab is an exclusive and enchanting way to experience the magic of London during the holiday season. Hop on board and enjoy a personalised journey through the city’s festive lights and decorations, all from the comfort of an iconic black cab. With a knowledgeable driver-guide, you’ll navigate the illuminated streets, visiting famous landmarks and hidden gems along the way.
Traditional Black Cab Tour of London’s Christmas Lights | Central London | WA
More tips for what to do in London during the Christmas season:
- What to Do in London on Christmas Day
- Top London Hotels to Stay at for Christmas Vibes
- Things to Do in London During the Christmas Season