London is a city characterised by history, a mix of cultures and fine food. As one of the world’s oldest and greatest cities (not just because I live here), this part of the United Kingdom has so much to offer.
This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
There are hundreds of things to do when visiting this stunning city, especially as the festive season approaches. When it comes to Christmas lights, London truly does it the best. So ddon’t miss out on the displays of best Christmas lights in London.
Checking out the London lights and festive sights is best done during Christmas time, of course. The celebrations bring the city to life and offer a magical experience unlike any other.
However, the sooner you see the streets lit up, the better. As Christmas approaches the city gets busier and busier.
The question is, what time of day are the lights at their best and brightest? If you’re on a mission to experience Christmas as the illuminations light up London, I recommend making your way through the city around dusk.
So, if you want to embrace the magical London street lights fully, I suggest checking them out before the crowds flood in. Another tip is to opt for weekdays rather than weekends if you can.
Obviously, the daytime won’t do the lights justice, and what better way to experience them fully than as they light up and grow more prominent by the hour.
Now that you know the perfect time to check out the Christmas lights in London, you’re probably wondering where exactly you can find these stunning displays of seasonal charm. Well, look no further.
If you’re planning on making your way through London to experience the Christmas festivities, decorations and illuminations, there are many spots to add to your seasonal itinerary.
The only thing you might have trouble with is deciding where to start and trying to fit all the great spots in. Here are some of the best Christmas lights London has to offer.
The very first stop on our list is Regent Street. Little known fact, but the Regent Street Christmas lights are the original Christmas lights all throughout London, dating back all the way to 1954.
It is also the only site where the lights are worth visiting both during the day and at night.
Here you can find the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ which displays large LED angels that hang the entire width of the street. A beautiful sight no matter the time of day.
You can view the Christmas lights all along Regent Street in central London from the Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus tubes.
This festive display is usually put up from mid-November to the beginning of January, so you’ll have plenty of time to check it out.
The Christmas lights on Oxford Street are some of the most famous in all of London. What was once an exhibition of traditional lights has now become an awe-inspiring arrangement of 27 LED screen displays that resemble the iconic Northern Lights.
The Oxford Street Christmas lights are not only a stunning display of festivities, but also a beautiful tribute to the city’s heroes.
Each year, people have access to the website on which they can vote for who they consider to be a hero.
The entire 1.5-mile length of Oxford Street in central London is lit up from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road. See the street lit up from the beginning of November to early January.
Carnaby Street Christmas Lights
Carnaby Street is one of the busiest high streets in London. With many different boutique stores lined up along this pedestrianised street, it is one of the coolest shopping spots in the city.
And when it’s the most wonderful time of the year, Carnaby Street is illuminated with Christmas lights.
This makes it the perfect place to get some Christmas shopping done while embracing the festivities of this holiday. Hamleys is also very close by!
The Christmas lights on Carnaby are up from as early as the start of November and the nearest tubes include Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus.
The Covent Garden Christmas lights create an enchanting experience. As another one of London’s busiest and most famous streets, this is another very popular attraction, especially during the festive season.
Both the Covent Garden Piazza and many of the Covent Garden boutiques all join in as more than 100,000 Christmas lights and a massive Christmas tree transform the place.
If you plan on visiting the Covent Garden for Christmas, you can go as early as mid-November. Be sure to check out the Covent Garden Infinity Chamber in Conduit Court.
Not too far from Covent Gardens is Seven Dials; one of the prettiest areas in London. With pretty cobbled streets and Neal’s Yard as one of the most Instagrammable places in London closeby, this is the perfect place to capture some picturesque Christmas memories.
Located on Earlham Street in London, the Christmas lights at Seven Dials are on display for you to see from mid to late November
Strolling through St James and Piccadilly during the festive season will offer you picturesque views of the pretty Christmas lights.
The celebrations even include a building which showcases numbers in the windows in resemblance of the all-time favourite and beloved advent calendar. When was the last time you got one of those?
Leicester Square Christmas Lights
Feel the Christmas festivities as you stroll through Leicester Square underneath large stars lit up above you.
These lights will create a joyful and triumphant atmosphere as you get some Christmas shopping done for your loved ones.
Trafalgar Square Christmas Lights
Trafalgar Square in London is known for its mega-tree display and lively lighting ceremony held annually dating all the way back to 1947.
As a gift from Norway to London, the giant Christmas tree is a showstopping season tradition in the city.
Because of this, the tree is always decorated in true Norwegian style with a unique string of vertical lights.
North Bank & South Bank Christmas Lights
Although separated by the River Thames, both North Bank and South Bank offer spectacular showcases of charming Christmas decorations and illuminations.
Check out the stunning display of twinkling lights at North Bank on Strand and Villiers Street. And when you’re done, head across the Thames to South Bank where you can experience the captivating outdoor exhibition of Christmas lights as you stroll alongside the river.
As the Shard lights up during the festive season, watch as the whole skyline lights up with it. Not only can you experience this beautiful display of illuminations over Christmas time, but also over New Years as celebrations pick up for the new year.
Marylebone Village is one of the most chic and hip streets in London. Admire this as the street prepares for the Christmas season and their annual Merry Marylebone festivities.
This twinkling celebration brings the community together with the annual Christmas Lighting Event; a jolly affair if I ever saw one.
You can also expect to see a few discounts on the village’s high street around this celebratory season, so be sure to bring along your credit card and shopping bags!
London’s Leadenhall Market offers a ceremony, choirs singing carols and a massive Christmas tree adorned with lights and other ornaments.
With the lights up from November to January, you’ll have more than enough time to visit Leadenhall Market for a Christmas celebration.
London’s annual Winter Wonderland event in Hyde Park, one of the city’s four major Royal Parks, is a fun family festivity not to be missed out on. As Christmas approaches, the neighbourhood is completely transformed into an enchanting experience unlike any other.
With exciting entertainment such as a circus show and live music, as well as many different festive activities, including ice skating and a Christmas market, you won’t get bored.
You can take a ride on the iconic Giant Observation Wheel, as you embrace an intimate experience above the lights of London.
And if you’re feeling extra creative, you can opt for an Ice Sculpting workshop where you’ll learn all the tips and tricks.
You can plan to see the wonderful lights of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park anytime from mid to late November until just after New Years. If you’ve got it on your seasonal itinerary, the closest station for you would be Hyde Park Corner.
Although Connaught is a rather quiet village in the middle of London, it definitely does not shy away from showcasing a proper Christmas celebration.
With a ceiling of lights strung down its high street, and other festive decorations on display in shop windows, a visit to Connaught Village truly is a Christmas treat.
Along with Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street, Old Bond Street is one of the most famous streets in London, especially if you are looking to shop up a storm. And what better time to do that, than Christmas time?
Every year, the annual switch-on of Christmas lights and festivities starts with quite a bang. As one of London’s most luxurious shopping districts, with many late-night openings and in-house events, Old Bond Street is the ultimate seasonal shopping spree experience.
Spend some cash and soak up the lights as you make your way down Old Bond Street in London.
Chelsea is another great spot to visit if you’re on the hunt for those twinkling London lights. With Sloane Street, Sloane Square, Duke of York Square, Pavilion Road and King’s Road all contributing to the charm, Christmas time in Chelsea is a celebration of note.
The displays illuminate the neighbourhood along with performers, carol singers and a special visit from Santa that bring Chelsea to life creating that ultimate nostalgic Christmas charm we all know and love.
Connected by Light is Canary Wharf’s annual winter light festival which presents awe-inspiring illumination installations.
The dazzling displays light up the sky-scraped area creating an enchanting atmosphere that truly captivates the magic of Christmas.
In the past, the Connected by Light displays featured an array of festivities and decorations including a trail of heartening poetry by Elisa Artesero in Jubilee Park, as well as a geometric exhibition by Mandylights at Westferry Circus and so much more.
The Royal Exchange, dating 450 years back to 1571, hosts its very own annual tree-lighting event. The breathtaking tree, more than triple the height of your average human, is beautifully decorated right in front for all to see.
This grand building doesn’t just stop there but offers a boutique shopping experience unlike any other. And with festive winter-themed masterclasses offered as well, a night spent experiencing
The Royal Exchange is a night well spent. Masterclasses include a champagne and wine tasting, biscuit decorating as well as a photography workshop specifically designed to help you capture the magic and charm of those Christmas lights.
You can expect to visit The Royal Exchange’s Christmas festivities between early December and early January, allowing you more than enough time to soak up some seasonal fun. Located in Cornhill in London, you can find the nearest station at Bank.
King’s Cross Christmas Lights
The King’s Cross area as a whole offers some truly enchanting Christmas festivities this time of the year. From Granary Square and its festive sculptural forest to Battle Bridge Place and its interactive setting which includes a giant Christmas tree.
Not to mention Coal Drops Yard and the breathtaking transformation it goes through every year.
With so many festivities and stores, King’s Cross is the perfect place to get your seasonal shopping done as you embrace all that a Christmas in London has to offer.
Coal Drops Yard Christmas Lights
In contrast to the historic buildings and traditional culture of London, Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross is one of the newest and most vibrant areas in the city. With many different restaurants and shops, this spot is as vibey as they come.
And as December approaches, the neighbourhood is completely transformed with twinkling lights, extravagant Christmas trees and other festive decorations.
Hop off at the Kings Cross St Pancras tube and head to the Christmas lights at Coal Drops Yard on Stable Street anytime from mid to late November.
Kew Gardens Christmas Lights
Although this spot isn’t located in the vibey central London like most of the others, Kew Gardens offers the most magical experience of them all.
This Christmas light trail takes you along a one-mile route as you pass through trees enhanced with lights. Laser shows also light up the Temperate House as you sing along to some classic Christmas carols.
Christmas at Kew begins mid to late November and ends early January. Be sure to book your tickets in advance as this festivity is incredibly popular in London, and it’s no wonder why.
There truly is a never-ending adventure awaiting you when it comes to the festive season in London. With many different places to experience the magic and charm of the annual Christmas lights, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
The trick is finding the perfect places to visit, and the ideal time to visit them to avoid the crowds. Here are some other popular and some not-so-common twinkling treasures to check out this festive season:
When: Mid-November to early January
Where: Christmas by the River, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London
Nearest Station: Tower Hill or London Bridge
When: Throughout December
Where: South Molton Street, London
Nearest Station: Bond Street
When: Throughout December
Where: St Christopher’s Place, Barrett Street, London
Nearest Station: Bond Street
When: Starts mid to late November
Where: St Katharine Docks, St Katharine Way, London
Nearest Station: Tower Hill
When: Mid-November to early January
Where: Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, London
Nearest Station: Aldgate or Bank
Well, there you have it. The best Christmas lights London has to offer. Now all you have to do is plan your trip to London and decide where to begin.
From the many famous streets like Old Bond Street and Oxford Street to the quieter spots like St Katharine Docks and St Christopher’s Place, I guarantee you that a Christmas spent in London will keep you busy throughout the entire festive season and leave you with lifelong memories that you will cherish forever.