Christmas is a special time, but in London it is particularly special due to the world famous Christmas lights displays that are displayed at many different sites around the city.
People do, in fact, travel to London from all over the world especially to see them. As the spiritual home of lighting innovation in the UK, the team here at Christopher Wray Lighting also take a keen interest in seeing what new ideas have been dreamed up for the displays each year.
These lighting displays not only are very beautiful, they can also be a source of great inspiration. Seeing these wonderful displays of Christmas lights in London, you cannot be unaffected by their beauty as planners spend months deciding how they will turn the streets of London into a nighttime Christmas fantasy land for a few weeks in November and December.
The Christmas Lights of London, however, are not all switched on at the same time. In a way this is fortunate, because it means you can visit many different sites instead of having to frantically dash from site to site or decide which ones to leave out of your itinerary.
Here are some of the best Christmas light displays in London and all you need to know about when they were (or will be) switched on;
Oxford Street, 7 November 2017
The traders on Oxford Street may be just a bit impatient to get people into the Christmas spirit by switching on their lights earlier than anyone. The show starts from November 7, continuing through to January 6. Some have suggested the theme is reminiscent of a Christmas tree, but another way to see it is as a blizzard. Whatever way you see it, you'll at least be able to say you have seen it.
Carnaby Street, 9 November 2017
Christmas also starts very early at Carnaby Street, with the Christmas lights going on as soon as November 9, and not switching off until January 6. It's undoubtedly better to shop under the warm glow of the Christmas lights, and Carnaby Street features some very beautiful festive decorations in a multitude of colours.
Bond Street, 10 November 2017
With the eclectic mix of high-end designer shops including Gucci and Armani, you'd expect something a little special from Bond Street, and there certainly is no disappointment. The peacock theme may feel a little too common for a Christmas display, but if you really strain your brain you can make the connection between feathers and angels. It's a beautiful display so don't forget to bring your camera!
Leicester Square, 10 November 2017
Of course nothing less would do than a West End extravaganza for Leicester Square, and that's what's on offer. The Christmas lights actually take a back seat to the other entertainments on offer. From December 16 to December 30 there is a "Showstopper's Christmas Kids Show" with individual tickets at £16.50 and family tickets at £58. Other attractions include Santa's Grotto, the Parisian Circus, and performances of Roald Dahl's Marvellous Medicine. Otherwise the atmosphere is best described as being like a carnival, with a very rustic "Christmas village" feel to it all.
Covent Garden, 14 November 2017
The next place to switch on is Covent Garden, and the lights will stay on until 5 January 2018. Rudolph is the star attraction again this year, and there are over 115,000 lights in the entire display. See Covent Garden as you've never seen it before, unless you already have a lifelong habit of visiting the Christmas light display at Covent Garden. We can certainly understand if you do as it's truly magical.
Regent Street, 16 November 2017
The Christmas lights display at Regent Street is one of the most technically complex and awe-inspiring in London. With over 300,000 lights, the Regent Street display is an incredible achievement and a credit to the area. The angelic theme is amazingly well executed, too, making this site well worth visiting.
Croydon, 16 November 2017
Croydon has a strong link to the performing arts, and the Christmas festivities there are centred around this link. Unlike the other venues, the entertainments here are more strictly scheduled, including one event that only happens on the opening day.
The main draw card is provided courtesy of giant screens showing off local performance talent. These are switched on daily from 4:30pm until 9pm starting from November 18 and ending on December 23.
There will also be live music performances every Thursday evening from November 23 until December 14.
Piccadilly, 16 November 2017
This will be the first time Piccadilly offers a dedicated Christmas lights display, and although it's got a lot in common with what we'll be seeing at Regent Street, don't let that put you off. If you can only attend one of the two venues, Regent Street has to get the nod, but Piccadilly is still one of the more interesting Christmas lights venues for 2017.
Broadgate, 16 November 2017
At Broadgate it seems they love Christmas so much that they never want it to end. Perhaps that's why their installations are scheduled to be in place right up until 12 January 2018. There's a lot of reasons to visit the Broadgate venue, including music performances, and artworks in light (which of course we love) by artist David Ogle.
Greenwich Market, 22 November 2017
They don't believe in rushing things at Greenwich Market, which is why their Christmas lights aren't switched on until November 22. At first glance the display seems to have a lot in common with what you'll see at Oxford Street, only bigger. But there are a few interestingly unique things here, including extra entertainments that makes it worth the trip.
The Shard, 4 December 2017
This is the only one that you'd be able to see from afar, without having to make a special trip to see it. Starting from December 4 and running until NYE, The Shard will be beaming a spectacular animated lighting display into the sky every night.
Visiting any of the above sites in London for Christmas in 2017 is sure to be enjoyable and entertaining. Add some extra wonder to your Christmas celebration by visiting as many of the Christmas lights displays as you can.