Christmas is just a few weeks away. Bonfire night has passed, and from until the end of the year, the retail world will be focused on one thing only – Christmas! But before the fun begins, the Christmas lights need to be turned on, to officially mark the start of Christmas in London. Oxford Street kicked the events off last Sunday, but London’s many retail areas and satellite town’s all have their own Christmas lights switch on events, with music, stalls, fairs, DJs and festivities. Find out about the best of them here, all in date order.
Oxford Street Christmas Lights – Sunday 6th November
Oxford Street’s lights are on! They stay on until Wednesday, January 6, 2016. Oxford Street is decorated with 1778 snowball-like decorations and 445 new golden baubles.
Duke of York Square – Saturday 12 November
To kick off the festive season, join us from 2pm on Saturday 12 November, leading up to the spectacular lights switch-on at 5pm. As well as the return of Santa’s grotto, don’t miss our dazzling ballet dancers, sensational stilt walkers, gorgeously festive vintage singers and much more. Find out more on the Duke of York Square website.
The Strand’s Xmas Lights – They’re On!
2015 was first year The Strand has Christmas lights, so was a very special event. There will be a Christmas tree atop the Savoy Hotel. They are on until Friday January 6, 2017.
Carnaby Festive Shopping Party – Thursday 10th November
The famous Soho shopping street sees Santa season start with a shopping party and lights switch-on on the 10th November. To coincide with the event there will be 20% discount in shops, cafes and restaurants, and many free, in-store activities for kids. Carnaby’s 13 streets will have festive disco balls. Advance tickets required for the party – see the Carnaby website for details. The event runs from 5pm to 9pm. The lights are turned on at 6.30pm.
Covent Garden Christmas – Tuesday 15th November
The Sugar Plum Fairy herself officially switches on the lights. Covent Garden Piazza, Covent Garden, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD. Dates: 15th November 2016 to 2nd January 2017
Regent Street Christmas Decorations – Thursday 17th November
On Thursday 17th November Regent Street will be unveiling its spectacular festive light display, ’The Spirit of Christmas’, set to be the biggest and most beautiful in the capital.
Wednesday 23 November 2016. The Christmas festivities in Greenwich begin with the local school children’s hand made lantern procession and the switching on of the Christmas lights in Greenwich Market.
The procession will start at 4pm in front of the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre at the ORNC and will wind its way to the Market.
The big countdown at 4.45pm will be with Sarah Jane Honeywell from CBeeBees and characters from this year’s Greenwich Playhouse panto.
All can join in singing Christmas Carols, meet Father Christmas in his Greenwich Grotto and shop late through to 7pm.
Kingston Christmas Illuminations – Thursday 17th November
Begin the countdown to Christmas with style in Kingston upon Thames. The lights-on event will include carol singers, a brass band and a host of family-friendly activities all through Kingston town centre.
- Where: Ancient Market Place, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1
- When: Thursday November 17, 5.30pm to 6.30pm
The Royal Exchange Christmas Tree Lighting – Wednesday 23rd November
The Royal Exchange, by the Bank of England, will feature a splendid Christmas tree. Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson will switch them on at 6.45pm on the first night. The East London Chorus will sing Christmas carols.
Lighting of the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square – Thursday 1st December
At 6 pm the famous Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, which is always a gift from Norway, will be lit up. Hopefully the Choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields will perform A Norwegian Concert at Christmas at again – confirmation to follow. Come sing carols around the tree. (Photo by Peter Trimming)