Use the best London Christmas lights to make the holiday season of 2022 sparkle. Explore famous boulevards, hidden neighbourhoods, and well-known stores that are all lit up for the holidays. In a city that doesn’t mind putting on a show, the London Christmas lights are a holiday tradition that gets people in the spirit of the holidays.
With Christmas window displays vying for attention, the smell of chestnuts roasting on street corners, and London’s buildings twinkling under the weight of synchronised fairy lights, there’s something magical about Christmas in London that makes even the biggest Scrooge smile. London is a big city, but luckily, many of the best Christmas lights are in the same area and are close enough to walk to each other.
So, put your cold fingers in warm mittens and let us show you the best of London’s Christmas lights in 2022. We’ll take you past famous window displays, charming markets, wide boulevards, and hidden corners.
WHEN ARE THE LONDON CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCHED ON?
Most Christmas lights in London are turned on by the middle of November. They keep lighting up the streets until about January 6 or so. Most of the main streets have a ceremony to turn on the lights. There is music, mulled wine, and a famous person from the area does the honours.
Early in November, Christmas window displays start to appear. The best time to see the lights is just after sunset (around 4pm in December), when it’s late enough for mulled wine but early enough to have plenty of time to stroll through the magical streets. Most importantly, try to pick a day when it doesn’t look like it will rain.
1 – OXFORD STREET CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Switch On Date – 2 November 2022.
Harry Goodridge Selfridge made sure that his London store, Selfridge’s, had the biggest windows in the world when he designed it. When he opened the store in 1909, he brought with him from America the idea of decorating store windows for Christmas.
This was the start of a great British tradition. Soon after, Harrods, Liberty, and Fortnum & Mason all opened. Even now, it takes more than 500 people to decorate the Christmas-themed windows at Selfridges. Outside the store, the Oxford Street Christmas Lights make a beautiful show of holiday cheer in one of London’s most famous places.
Every year, the busiest shopping street in the UK is turned into a Christmas wonderland with golden stars hanging from the ceiling, trees lit up in bright colours, and shops with the best Christmas window displays. The Christmas lights on Oxford Street will be turned on for the first time on November 2, 2022.
2 – SOUTH MOLTON STREET CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Switch On Date – 17 November 2022
Just off Oxford Street, South Molton Street is a small shopping area with a lot of designer stores and exclusive brands. Even though it’s a small lane, it has one of the most eye-catching Christmas light displays in the city.
Two big trees on either end of the street are connected by a row of tall blue arches. The result is a framed promenade with gold stars and blue lights that twinkle. This makes it one of the best places in London to take pictures of Christmas lights.
3 – NEW BOND STREET CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Switch On Date – 17 November 2022
Around the corner from South Molton Street is New Bond Street, where some of the most expensive brands in the world have their main stores. Cartier, Fenwick, Fendi, and Bvlgari have some of the best Christmas window displays in town to draw people’s attention.
As a place for high-end fashion, the Christmas lights on New Bond Street used to be dancing peacocks. However, in 2022, this elegant London street will have a theme based on the royal family. The design will have more than 90,000 LEDs and huge crows at the main intersections of Bond Street. When they turn on on November 17, 2022, you can see the new design. New Bond Street also has some of the best Christmas window displays. Every year, Cartier puts a big red ribbon on the front of their store, and Tiffany & Co has a fun theme.
4 – FORTNUM & MASON CHRISTMAS WINDOW DISPLAY
Dates – TBC
Since Queen Victoria’s time, the Royal Family has liked Fortnum & Mason. In the 1730s, they started giving picnic baskets to the wealthy so they would have something to eat while travelling to their country estates. Fortnum & Mason now sends out about 120,000 picnic baskets each year.
At Christmas, they decorate the front of the building to look like a big red advent calendar. In 2021, they made their famous Christmas window displays with the help of theatre set designers who were out of work because of COVID. Each designer made an eye-catching installation based on their own ideas of what joy means to them. Walk across the street from Fortnum & Mason to see the Christmas decorations at Burlington Arcade.
5 – REGENT STREET CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Switch On Date – 9 November 2022
In 1954, Regent Street was the first place to have Christmas lights. From the beginning of the Christmas decorations on Regent Street, angels with trumpets were added to the buildings from the 1800s. Now called “The Spirit of Christmas,” 16 “spirits” with wingspan of 17 metres cover the street with 300,000 twinkling lights.
As the lights on Regent Street shine on a steady stream of red double-decker buses, you can’t help but feel like you’re in London at Christmas. The decorations go from Langham Place all the way down to Waterloo Place. There are also smaller displays on some of the side streets to connect them. The best part is the main shopping area from Oxford Circle to Piccadilly Circle on Regent Street.
The Christmas lights on Regent Street will be turned on for the first time on November 9, 2022.
6 – CARNABY STREET CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Switch On Date – 8 November 2022
Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, and the Rolling Stones all liked to hang out on the famous Carnaby Street, where the Mods, Punks, and New Romantics got their start. In the shop window of Lady Jane Boutique in 1966, there were real people taking off their clothes. The owner was fined £2 because the group of men waiting to see what was going on blocked the street.
In 2022, Carnaby will remember some of the most important events in British history from the last 25 years. There will be tributes to Bohemian Rhapsody, the Rolling Stones, and Under the Sea, as well as other exciting things. The installation in Carnaby was made in partnership with Choose Love, whose goal is to bring attention to the plight of refugees around the world. It’s a bright and colourful display with a message of change and renewal.
Don’t miss the Christmas lights on Ganton Street, Foubert’s Place, and Newburgh Street, or the stylish window display at Liberty, if you’re in the area. On November 8, 2022, the Carnaby Street Christmas lights will be turned on.
7 – PICCADILLY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Switch On Date – 9 November 2022
Piccadilly has finally come out of the shadow of Regent Street’s beautiful lights and put up its own Christmas show.
The winged canopy is a spectacular show. It has large, dramatic statues of Anteros, the Greek god of love who has stood in Piccadilly Circus since 1893. Piccadilly is a pleasure to walk down any time of year, with its old-school London charm and some of the most prestigious addresses in the city.
It’s just a little bit more magical at Christmas.
8 – SEVEN DIALS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Switch On Date – 17 November 2022
Seven Dials is a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of central London. It has the feel of a slower-paced neighbourhood. The major attraction is a column with six sundials that was constructed before the present seven-road crossroads was completed. A massive bright star sits at the very top of the column. It’s a funny Christmas display in a part of London that we like a lot.
You can find the best of hidden London in any direction from Seven Dials. The Christmas lights of London can be experienced on a more personal level by visiting concept stores, trying out local restaurants, and exploring lesser-known areas.
In 2022, the Seven Dials holiday events will start with the Winter Warm-Up event. There will be a lot of workshops, entertainment, and shopping. The event is on November 17, 2022, and free tickets must be reserved ahead of time.
9 – COVENT GARDEN CHRISTMAS MARKET
Switch On Date – 8 November 2022.
Covent Garden has the most beautiful Christmas tree in all of London. At the western end of the ancient market, there is a huge tree with 30,000 red and white lights that reach up into the sky.
Behind the tree, large baubles and mistletoe chandeliers add to the holiday atmosphere in the North and South Halls. Look in the Central Avenue of the market for ideas for Christmas gifts. Neuhaus has great Belgian chocolates, and Penhaligon’s is well-known for its perfumes. For the 2022 holiday season, the places to eat outside will return to the plaza. There are lots of cosy wine bars with mulled wine and hot chocolate. There will also be a number of Christmas markets where you can spend the day shopping.
The annual lighting of Convent Garden for the holiday season will begin on November 8, 2022.
10 – MARYLEBONE VILLAGE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Switch On Date – 10 November 2022.
At the annual switch-on festival, which will take place on November 10, 2022, in Marylebone Village, Christmas will start for real. The night will be full of holiday cheer with market stalls, wreath-making workshops, live music, and lots of mulled wine.
The stores in Marylebone will be open later in the evening, and many of them will have huge sales to help you get your Christmas shopping done early. After you’ve found some good deals, you can eat your way through the street food stands selling German hotdogs, churros, fine chocolates, and much more.
The carbon impact of Marylebone’s holiday lights will be totally neutralised by 2022. At 3, when the power comes on, the party can officially begin.
11 – CHRISTMAS AT KEW GARDENS
Dates – 16 November 2022 to 8 January 2023
Christmas at Kew features glowing candles and bright lights every night from the middle of November to the beginning of January. Local businesses set up shop along the trails to supply visitors with food and drink as they make their way from one stunning wonder to the next. The one caveat is that you’ll need to plan ahead and make your reservation weeks in advance. During peak times, an adult ticket costs £26.50.
12 – HYDE PARK WINTER WONDERLAND
Dates – 18 November 2022 to 2 January 2023
Since 2007, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park has brought lively Christmas celebrations to London. It’s like a mix between a theme park and a Christmas market. It’s London’s most crowded and dramatic set of Christmas lights.
Inside, rides like Ferris wheels, helter-skelters, and roller coasters get your blood pumping. There’s an ice rink, shops and stalls, and more Christmas items than you can imagine. Winter Wonderland is a busy place full of Christmas cheer that kids will love. To keep this popular attraction from getting out of hand, tickets must be bought ahead of time. The normal price to get in is £5, but at busy times it’s £7.50.
13 – WEMBLEY WINTERFEST
Switch On Date – TBC
Winterfest is at Wembley from the end of November to the beginning of January. Along with circus acts, street theatre, and art installations, there will be a 25-meter Christmas tree with 100,000 lights on it.
At 100 metres in length, the artwork Reflections of the Future is located on Wembley Way, and its purpose is to give people faith in the future after experiencing uncertainty.
14 – CHURCHILL ARMS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Dates – 15 November 2022 to 6 January 2023.
Every year, this building in Kensington spends a cool £25,000 on plants to decorate its front. At Christmas, it gets 80 Christmas trees and 22,000 lights to make a huge, eye-catching display. It’s a great addition to the London Christmas Lights, and it’s a great pub for a holiday pint, though it can be hard to find a seat there because it’s so popular. They also make great pub food with Thai flavours.
15 – HARRODS CHRISTMAS WINDOW DISPLAY
Dates – TBC
Harrods is one of the largest and most well-known department stores in London. It is 5 acres big and has 330 departments. When it comes to Christmas lights and window displays, it also puts on quite a show.
Red, white, and green are staples of Christmas window displays, frequently with the help of well-known corporations. Premium Christmas decorations fill a whole floor inside, and the food court is a terrific location to stock up on one-of-a-kind treats.
A WALK AROUND THE CENTRAL LONDON CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
On our free mapquest directions walking tour of central London, you can see all of these Christmas lights and get into the holiday spirit. The entire walk is just over 4 kilometres. So it would only take an hour to walk around quickly, but it’s much better to take your time and enjoy the scenery.
On the map below, you can see where to walk. We think you should start at Selfridges and end at Covent Garden, which is a great place for a drink after Christmas. If you want to add 10 minutes, you could go to the Christmas Market in Trafalgar Square, but Covent Garden is much more festive.
If you start at Covent Garden and end at Selfridges, you can add 20 minutes to the walk and end up at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This is a good choice if you’d rather end your walk on a thrill coaster than with wine.