Where to Experience the London Christmas Lights

Where to Experience the London Christmas Lights

No other city does Christmas quite like London. To be fair, I haven’t been to New York City for Christmas yet (and if you have, drop me a comment to let me know what it’s like). Still, London has definitely mastered the holiday look. You’ll find streets decked in lights, shop windows turned into festive scenes, ice rinks in front of grand buildings and Christmas markets popping up everywhere. There’s so much to see! Even if you are staying for only a short time or even a layover, here s a list of the best spots so you know where to get your gloves and childlike wonder on.

This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to book a tour I get a small commission and it costs you nothing extra, but will help keep this blog and its travel tips online.

Where to Experience the London Christmas Lights

Notting Hill

I can’t believe how long it took me to actually visit Notting Hill. The film of the same name has been one of my favourites for forever but the wait was worth it. It’s just glorious. Especially during Christmas the quiet streets and pastel doors seem even prettier. Imagine white classy houses with black iron fences dotted by tasteful Christmas wreaths and blinking lights in the dark.

London Christmas Markets

I am a sucker for Christmas Markets, be it in Germany or Austria. To my surprise I found just as great Christmas markets over in London and they are everywhere! Unlike with German or Austrian Christmas markets London has many different ones all over the city and they match each district’s tastes. You’ll find hand carved items, decorations and lots of artsy stuff in front of the Tate Modern (until 31 December). At Southbank – my personal favourite – you can eat global cuisine to your heart’s delight (until 23 December).

More Christmas Markets and Times
Leicester Square: November 11 2016 to Sunday January 8 2017
The Christmas Forest: December 19 to 24 2016 (when buying a tree, another one is donated to Africa)
London Bridge City Christmas Market: December 19 to 31 2016


London Christmas Lights You Must See

Imagine a carpet of light softly floating above the busiest London streets. The iconic red buses are whizzing by and you catch the reflection of the white and blue bulbs. Most popular of all is Oxford Street, not only because of its shop window displays but also because of the 1778 snowball-like decorations with their 750,000 LED lightbulbs. A little further, you can catch different but just as unique light installations on The Strand, Carnaby, Regent and Bond Street.

Where to Experience a Very London Christmas

Shopping Malls

While you’re on Oxford Street, don’t be afraid of entering even the fanciest looking shops. Harrods is trimmed with a big red ribbon outside and within, it looks just as lovely. This year, Selfridges has hilarious window displays with Santa in a hot tub or heading out for a ski session. One mall you should not overlook is John Lewis with its shimmering decoration in every room and a magical rooftop.

Where to Experience a Very London Christmas

Harry Potter Museum in Stunning Christmas Lights

You could basically spend a full day here but if you’re pressed for time, schedule in about four hours. There is a special bus to take you to the Warner Bros-Studio Tour. Throughout the year, there are different events going on there and for Christmas, it’s particularly lovely. The Great Hall is decked for the Yule Ball and you can marvel at the intricate ice decoration and the original ball gowns. Also, snow will be blown over Privet Drive, Harry’s parents’ home and the Old Hogwarts Bridge. Even the miniature Hogwarts castle is covered in white. The Great hall and dorms are festively decorated. It is excessively pretty!

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park is a must for every London visit as it is the green lung of the city and perfect for a refresher after walking all day. For a very special Christmas market and fair, enter the Winter Wonderland near Speaker’s Corner and Marble Arch. Entrance is free but for the plenty of events you’ll need a ticket. For instance, you can skate on the UK’s largest open-air ice rink, attend a Christmas circus shows or dance performance. Plus, there are more than 100 spectacular rides and attractions.

Where to Experience a Very London Christmas

Ice Skating Underneath London Christmas Lights

I haven’t skated on ice for way too long and next time I’m in London in December, I will rectify that. The one place that is highest on my list is the rink at Somerset House. Icy blue lights on a white ice surface in front of a grand house by the Thames? Count me in! Of course, there are plenty more places to dust off your skating skills.

More Skating Rinks
Leicester Square: November 11 2016 to Sunday January 8 2017
– Broadgate Ice Rink
– Canary Wharf Ice Rink
– Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
– Natural History Museum Ice Rink
– JW3 On Ice
– Tower of London Ice Rink
– Westfield London Ice Rink

Where to Experience a Very London Christmas

Plays and Shows to the Backdrop of London Christmas Lights

Christmas in England entails a pantomime. Though that’s more aimed at kids, you can take the idea and head over to a musical or theatre performance. There’s always something going on and during weekdays, you can get tickets at about half price. The Globe is closed for performances in the winter, but you can see an indoor performance at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Should you visit the London Christmas Lights and Main December Attractions?

London is always a great idea for a visit but during Christmas it’s the absolute best! If you fear that it will be very cold, that will most likely not be true. It will be chilly and probably slightly windy, but British winters are never super frosty and in London, there are so many stores and coffee shops around, you can always warm up. But why would you want to do that when there are millions of lights twinkling above you and happy smiles out on the streets?

Now you: Have you ever visited England in December and seen the spectacular London Christmas Lights? I’d love to hear how you felt.

Read next:

Charming and Scary Austrian Christmas Traditions to Experience in Salzburg | Sponsored
How to Have the Best German Christmas Markets Experience + free Guide
The England Literary Tour You Must Take this Year // Sponsored


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It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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