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The Best London Christmas Lights

Updated: April 28, 2024
 By Margaret

This post tells you where the best London Christmas lights and holiday displays to visit are in 2024.

As local walking tour guides, we spend a lot of time showing guests all of the holiday light displays and decorations that London is famous for.

You could join us for our London Christmas Lights Tour and experience the best Christmas lights in the city with us.

Our tour runs every day but Tuesdays from the 28th of November until the 30th of January at 18:00 (6:00 pm).

To help you, we've used our experience and expertise as local guides to create this list.

And after you have finished reading this post, check out our popular London Travel Tips Facebook Group.

A popular topic in the group is visiting during Christmas.

London Christmas Lights Review

Our group consists of roughly 50k members, including locals, like us tour guides, expats, regular visitors, as well as newbies to London.

You don't need to become a member to search for and read the posts, comments, and recommendations.

When Do the Decorations and Lights Go Up?

There is no single date when all of the Christmas lights in London switch on.

They all run to their own schedule and begin twinkling at the start of November.

For ease, here is a brief overview of when London's Christmas lights light up for the 2024 season. Dates mentioned below are the last year's date and this year's dates fill be announced later.

Early November: Carnaby Street (2nd Nov), Oxford Street (2nd Nov), Seven Dials (7th Nov), Covent Garden (9th Nov), Regent Street (9th Nov), St. James (9th Nov), Leicester Square (9th Nov)

Mid to Late November: Belgravia (15th Nov), Greenwich Market (15th Nov), Leadenhall (17th Nov), Chelsea (18th Nov), Coal Drops Yard

December: Trafalgar Square, (7th Dec), Greenwich Sparkle in the Park (3rd Dec)

TBC (at time of writing): Selfridges, The Strand, Old Bond Street

Most lights will stay lit until New Year's Day, although some will remain shining until the 6th of January.

1. Leicester Square Christmas Market

London's iconic Leicester Square plays host to a traditional Christmas market during the festive season.

Expect sparkling lights, garlands, baubles, and trees along with shopping, hot mulled wine, Santa's grotto, and delicious Christmas snacks!

Or, take a virtual walk through the market with Sinead, a tour guide with us, Free Tours by Foot.

Read our post on the Leicester Square Christmas Market. Or visit their website for more information.

Nearest Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus

Opening times: Usually November to mid-January. As of now, Christmas in Leicester Square is scheduled to begin on the 8th of November and end on the 7th of January 2024.

We visit Leicester Square on our pay-what-you-wish London Christmas Lights Tour, so let us take you there.

Tour Guide Margaret's Insider Tip:

Pick up some cheaper theatre tickets from TKTS while you are there!

2. Oxford Street 

Perhaps the most famous place to view Christmas lights in London is Oxford Street.

2024 dates TBD. Last year, the lights switched on for Christmas on the 2nd of November.

This year, the lights will be the same as last year, in a move to recycle the old decorations to keep the display eco-friendly.

You can expect to see 5,000 100% recyclable dangling stars made up of over 300,000 LED light bulbs.

Take a virtual tour of the Oxford Street lights last year with Sinead.

Read our post on the Oxford Street Christmas lights.

Nearest Underground Station: Oxford Circus (map)

Tour Guide Margaret's Insider Tip:

Weekends on Oxford Street during the holiday season are incredibly busy - to the point where you'll struggle to find a place to stand and enjoy the lights. Try to avoid peak times and schedule your visit from Sunday night to Thursday evening if you can!

3. Regent Street + Piccadilly Circus

2024 dates TBD. Last year, the 2024 Regent Street Christmas lights and Piccadilly Circus lights switched on on the 9th of November.

This season will see the return of the now-iconic glittering angels or "spirits."

The end date has not yet been confirmed, but it will likely be in early January 2024.

Their website hasn't been updated for the current season yet but keep an eye out for more details.

If you will be here anyway, take a read of our guide to Piccadilly Circus.

Note that you'll be right by Soho - a perfect place to grab a drink and a bite to eat before or after you explore the lights.

There you'll find some of our personal favourites like Bob Bob Ricard, Cahoots, and Poppie's!

Nearest Underground Station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus (map)

Tour Guide Margaret's Insider Tip:

A number of buses run from Oxford Street to Waterloo Place, travelling down Regent Street and through Piccadilly Circus so consider a ride at noon if you're tired of walking.

4. New Bond Street and South Molton Street

Famous as part of London’s high-end shopping district, Bond Street goes all out when it comes to Christmas lights.

The theme in years past has included crowns and peacock feathers, so you can expect that to continue in years to come.

Huge sprays of feathers bow out over Bond Street, turning it into a peacock-lined glittering tunnel!

Official dates for 2024 have yet to be revealed, but chances are that lighting installations will appear in early November.

Nearest Underground Station: Bond Street (map)

5. Christmas at Covent Garden

This year, Covent Garden's central market is set to be decked with mistletoe chandeliers, giant baubles, garlands, and lights!

Lots of lights. 115,000 lights in what they say is the "biggest and brightens [they've] ever had"! All surrounding the market and decorating their iconic 55-foot-tall tree.

The Covent Garden Christmas decorations are on from 7:00 am - 11:00 pm every day, 7 days a week from 7th November to early January.

You can take a virtual tour of the Christmas market with our own, Sinead.

They will release more details as we get closer to the big day so keep an eye on their website to find out what's happening while you're in town.

Expect big events like the Christmas Sandwich Festival and a visit from Santa Claus!

If you're looking for a place to grab lunch or dinner, consider some of our favourite Covent Garden restaurants like Dishoom, Franco Manca, or the Ivy.

Nearest Underground Station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square (map)

Read our post on Christmas at Covent Garden as well as the top things to do in and around Covent Garden.

6. Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree and Market

Trafalgar Square has been the home of London’s yearly Christmas tree, donated by the people of Norway every year, as a gesture of thanks for support during WWII. 

The exact date for the lighting installations, Christmas Market, evening caroling, and Christmas tree lighting is being reported as the 7th of December at 17:30.

You'll find a fully stocked bar with festive hot drinks (and non-alcoholic options) at the heart of the market.

Just around the corner from Trafalgar Square is The Strand where you can expect snowflakes, icicles, and baubles lining this grand road. 

Nearest Underground Station: Charing Cross (map)

Learn more about the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree and Market.

And also read our things to do in Trafalgar Square including the free Christmas Caroling that takes place every December.

7. Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason

Throughout the year, the window displays at Harrod’s. Selfridge’s and Fortnum and Mason showcase some of the most incredible pieces of art, fashion, and décor.

But when it comes to Christmas, the shops really raise the game!

Each year the windows are filled with moving, swirling, sparkling, and glittering statues, mechanics, fashions, and even real falling snow.

So make sure you check the window displays at least one of London’s best-known stores.

Harrods has confirmed they will likely be installing Christmas window displays at the end of October 2024.

Note that their Christmas World is already open!

And Fortnum & Mason are already selling their iconic Christmas hampers so take a look at their website for some luxury Christmas gifts.

Nearest Underground Stations: Knightsbridge for Harrod’s (map) / Marble Arch for Selfridge’s (map) / Green Park for Fortnum & Mason (map)

8. Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street was the heart of swinging London - and is still a hot spot for nightlife today.

This iconic pedestrian-only lane is always decked out in twinkling lights for Christmas!

The switch-on date for the Carnaby Christmas lights this year is the 2nd of November and the theme is said to be "Carnaby Universe," featuring a solar system of neon lights.

This follows from last year's tribute to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Learn more here.

You'll also be right next to one of our favourite bars and spots for late-night music: Ain't Nothin' But The Blues!

Carnaby Street is in the heart of Soho. Read our post on the top 10 things to do in Soho.

Nearest Underground Station: Oxford Circus (map)

9. Christmas at Kew Gardens

From the 15th of November, the iconic Kew Gardens turns into a winter wonderland!

Trail along interactive displays, glittering tunnels of light, flickering flames, and Santa's Grotto, this is one for the whole family.

And in the video below, Sinead takes you on a virtual walk through the Winter Lights.

All set to charming music, a walk through the Gardens takes you through dozens of displays, each individually hand-curated and the product of artist collaborations - a truly unique London experience!

This one is likely to sell out so make sure to book your tickets well in advance! You can find out more on their website.

Note that you'll pass along some charming residential streets as well as quite a few options for a place to have a meal or refreshments if you walk from the Underground Station.

However, there is parking if you'd prefer!

Nearest Underground Station: Kew Gardens (map)

Inside Tip: There are three entrances to the gardens: Brentford Gate, Elizabeth Gate, and Victoria Plaza (which is open at the latest).

10. Somerset House

For most of the year, Somerset House is visited by those interested in exploring the museums and exhibitions housed inside, as well as attending events such as Fashion Week.

But every Christmas, Somerset House becomes a destination for thousands of visitors as it plays host to the city's favourite ice skating rink, overseen by one of London's most beautiful Christmas trees.

You can get a taste of it in this video clip of Sinead, which is from the start of her Christmas Lights Tour video.

2024 dates TBD. Last year, the rink was open from the 15th of November until the 14th of January.

With special events, DJ-led Skate Dates, a pop-up food and drink stalls, this season is set to be busy so visit their website to book your tickets ASAP.

Get more information for 2024 on our Ice Skating at Somerset House post. Or read our post on the Top 10 London ice rinks.

Nearest Underground Station: Temple Station (map)

Tour Guide Margaret's Insider Tip:

Arrive AT LEAST 30 minutes early to make sure you have time to use the loo, rent your skates, and put things in the cloakroom. It takes longer than you think!

11. Marylebone

One of London's most charming neighborhoods, Marylebone Village, is going all out for Christmas 2024!

From the 9th of November, Marylebone will be home to Merry Marylebone.

It's a series of festive events taking place along the backdrop of a sustainable Christmas lights display (this year in support of the Mind in Brent mental health charity).

Expect workshops, market stalls, late-night shopping, and more. Keep an eye on their website to keep track of this year's schedule.

Nearest Underground Station: Marylebone (map)

12. Chelsea: King's Road, Sloane Square, and Duke of York Square

Another neighbourhood offering comes from Chelsea where the iconic King's Road, Sloane Square, and Duke of York Square will boast festive decorations from the 18th of November until Christmas Day.

Expect Christmas Markets at Duke of York Square, special shopping events along the King's Road, and "fizz and festive food!"

To follow along with the planning for King's Road, check out their website.

Duke of York Square features events throughout the year so keep an eye on their calendar to plan your festive outing.

Nearest Underground Station: Sloane Square (map)

Tour Guide Margaret's Insider Tip:

Sloane Square usually plays host to Santa's Grotto and it is less visited than the ones you'll find in Covent Garden or Leicester Square so consider meeting Father Christmas here to avoid the huge crowds!

Also check our full guide on Christmas in London, as well as our other posts on the holidays in London: 

About The Author


An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries. Read More...
Updated: April 28th, 2024
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