When are London’s Christmas lights switched on in 2021?

November 9, 2021Amy Hughes0

London’s Christmas Lights will add an even more magical touch to your sightseeing this winter. Find out when the dazzling lights will be switched on.

Carnaby Street (from 4 Nov)
© David Parry/PA Wire

Are you ready to be immersed into a kaleidoscope of shimmering neon butterflies? Every year, some of the most smile-inducing Christmas lights can be found above Carnaby Street. The Under The Sea theme from 2019 (above) was a huge success. Never one to let the crowds down, this year’s installation features over 600 sparkling 3D and 2D butterflies fluttering through Carnaby this Christmas.


Covent Garden (from 9 Nov)

Marvel at mistletoe chandeliers, gaze up at 115,000 twinkling lights above the piazza and get that all-important Instagram pic in front of the ginormous tree (55 feet for anyone counting). The iconic cobbled streets and markets are bathed in an extra-special festive glow.


Soho Lights (until 3 Jan)
Soho’s Christmas lights display is all about community this year. It contains no fewer than 21 installations, each one designed by children from Soho Parish School under the supervision of architects and artists. The designs range from old chestnuts like snowmen, baubles, and reindeer but all very much through a child’s eyes. Albeit a child that’s gone to school in Soho.


Illuminature, WWT London Wetland Centre (to 9 Jan)

Wander through habitats of owls, geese and otters after dark this autumn/winter. Walk past reed beds, lagoons and the grazing marsh guided by the light of larger-than-life illuminations of iconic wetland wildlife. It’s a unique opportunity to see a different side of the wetlands while enjoying an immersive art experience under the stars. Along the route, play in the immersive tunnels, hop along the responsive lily pads, create colourful shadow animals and enjoy a multitude of other opportunities to interact with nature and light. Illuminature runs between 4pm–9pm from 22 Oct to 9 Jan 2022. Tickets are £17.50 for adults and £12.50 per child, under 4’s visit free. Find out more.


Marylebone Village (from 10 Nov)

Celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season with a festive light switch-on in Marylebone Village. The evening is in support of mental health charity partner Mind in Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster. Expect a memorable evening packed with free festive activities, live music and inspiring decorations. Over 50 shops, cafes, bars and restaurants will offer a huge range of exclusive offers, festive experiences and specially created menus available for one day only. Join wreath-making workshops or watch roaming musicians, plus much more. Find out more.


Belgravia (from 10 Nov)

From Wednesday 10 November, discover Belgravia With Bells On. Motcomb Street, Elizabeth Street, Pimlico Road, Eccleston Yards and Halkin Arcade will become a magical wonderland with dazzling white lights. Find incredible Christmas gifts and experiences to enjoy on every corner. The Eccleston Yards Christmas Market will open from 14 November (11am-5pm). Shop hand-crafted gifts, from candles and jewellery to socks and slippers alongside live music, mince pies and spiced mulled wine.


Leicester Square (12 Nov-9 Jan)
Near the glitz and glamour of the West End, Leicester Square usually features giant twinkling stars stretching along the streets. Gaze up at them as you visit the LEGO Store and shop for your loved ones this winter.
St James’s and Piccadilly (13 Nov-2 Jan)
© Shutterstock

Stroll around St James’s and Piccadilly to discover picture-perfect Christmas lights. In previous years, they were inspired by the statue of Anteros – the Greek god of requited love. While in the area, pop into Fortnum & Mason for a spot of Christmas shopping or sip on a festive tipple at The Ritz.

Regent Street (from 13 Nov)
© Shutterstock

In its usual elegant style, Regent Street will be bringing glitzy glamour. The warm canopy will be lighting up Oxford Circus, St James and Waterloo Place. Though there’s no big switch-on event planned for this year, the iconic Spirit of Christmas angels will light up the shopping street from the weekend of 13 November.


Oxford Street (13 Nov)

Christmas shopping? If you need any more reason to head to Oxford Street, prepare to be amazed by some of the most spectacular Christmas lights in town and admire the seasonal window displays. Last year’s display brought 27 dazzling rectangle sheets of lights made up of more than 200,000 twinkling bulbs. They showcased a heartwarming poem to celebrate the nation’s heroes and show gratitude for their service throughout 2020.


Kew Gardens (17 Nov-9 Jan)

A fan-favourite every year, the annual after-dark festivities return to Kew Gardens this year. Wander through sparkling tunnels of light, past dancing waterside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour. The grand finale at the Palm House is a panoramic light display that will impress all ages. Journey through flickering flames in the Fire Garden, spot larger-than-life illuminations and say hello to Father Christmas along the way. Along the route, independent street food vendors will offer tasty festive delights to warm you up.


Seven Dials (19-21 Nov)
© Shutterstock

Seven Dials is a gorgeous corner of the city, made extra-special during Christmas. The pretty cobbled streets are full of hidden gems, quirky boutiques and eclectic eateries, making it the perfect place for gift shopping. The Seven Dials Winter Festival will take over the seven streets with an abundance of festive shopping, free events, creative workshops and masterclasses, exclusive discounts and a three-day line-up of live music and Christmas entertainment (19-21 Nov). This year’s Winter Festival is in support of the charity partner, Young Camden Foundation.


Duke of York Square, Chelsea (from 20 Nov)
Duke of York Square, 2016 © Shutterstock

On the swanky side of town, Chelsea’s Sloane Square, Sloane Street, Duke of York Square, Pavilion Road and King’s Road will be a hive of entertainment before the switch-on. Perfect for all ages, make an evening of it with the whole family. Find out more.


Bond Street (throughout November)
© Shutterstock

Bond Street is one of the capital’s most luxurious shopping districts. See it decked out with spectacular Christmas lights and look out for the exclusive stores draped in grand decorations and window displays dressed in their festive finest.


Canary Wharf (19-29 Jan 2022)


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Once again, the award-winning Winter Lights installation will return to Canary Wharf. Bringing a bit of sparkle to those long January evenings, the spectacle will showcase illuminations by some of the most innovative lighting artists across the globe. Some pieces from previous years will return, alongside new commissions and some that have never been seen in the UK before.


Winterfest, Wembley Park (25 Nov-4 Jan)
© Shutterstock

Returning to Wembley Park after a years hiatus is Wembley Park’s free Winterfest. This year’s Christmas lights theme will be ‘Reunited in Light’ and will feature fan-favourites as well as brand-new commissions and new art installations. Of course, the family-friendly Christmas lights trail couldn’t return without the showstopper: the 25ft LED Christmas tree. Made up of 100,000 mesmerising lights, the walk-through tree will be dressed with brand-new digital artwork ‘City Lights’, commissioned by Brent artist Yoni Alter. Cameras at the ready! Winterfest is set to return big and better, and you don’t want to miss it.


Kings Cross and Coal Drops Yard (from 26 Nov)


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Travelling via King’s Cross St Pancras? The twinkly lights of the hugely popular Christmas Canopy Market will return from 26 November. Remember to check out the “traditionally untraditional” installations in the area. In previous years, you could pose underneath the colourful lights and explore a sculptural festive forest on Granary Square, spot a giant terrarium tree in Coal Drops Yard and check out the interactive tree at Battle Bridge Place. Shop for gifts from the area’s trendy stores or join a festive craft workshop too. This year, the Christmas tree in Coal Drops Yard is truly spectacular, standing at a whopping 28 feet tall.


The Shard (1 Dec)

Western Europe’s tallest building opts for a Christmassy spin on its usual lights. Featuring seasonal colours of gold, red and green, The Shard’s spire lights illuminated London’s skyline with festive hues. Made up of 575 LED lights and fixtures across the top 20-storeys, Shard Lights can be seen across the capital. This year, the skyscraper takes on the theme of togetherness, following on from the two years of separation from one another, and will give thanks to the emergency service workers who work through the festive period to keep us safe.


Trafalgar Square (TBC)
© Shutterstock

The annual gift from Norway, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, is typically illuminated on the first Thursday in December – that’s 2 December this year. Dates are yet to be confirmed, but keep an eye out for updates. Find out more.


Out of town

Christmas at Waddesdon Manor (13 Nov-23 Dec)

Soak up the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas with hand-selected stalls all housed in charming wooden chalets and surrounded by twinkling trees. As twilight falls, Waddesdon Manor gardens sparkle brightly with spectacular light displays bringing the extraordinary landscape to life, in partnership with Luminism. For the first time ever, see the Parterre illuminated by a dazzling light show, highlighting the geometric shapes of the bedding. Open Wed-Sun, noon-7pm. Find out more.


Christmas at Bedgebury (19 Nov-3 Jan)

Over a million lights, twinkling reflections and seasonal sounds fill the air with festive fun at Bedgebury. Enjoy some together time with family and friends, as you discover sparkling tunnels of light, dancing lakeside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour. Don’t forget to take your children to glimpse Father Christmas along the way. Have yourself a holly, jolly Christmas and complete your walk under the stars with a spiced winter warmer, hot chocolate and tasty seasonal treats from the Bedgebury cafe or street food vendors. Your very merriest Christmas starts here. Book now to secure the date and time of your choice. Limited capacity.


Christmas at Blenheim Palace (19 Nov-2 Jan)


The after-dark illuminated trail will sparkle once again in the picture-perfect Blenheim Palace gardens. Pause for a moment of reflection and gaze the mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden and marvel at larger-than-life illuminations. Meanwhile, inside the Palace, the story of The Nutcracker has been reimagined. Explore each of the Palace rooms, exquisitely transformed and filled with hidden surprises – from the toymaker’s workshop on a frosty Christmas Eve, through the glistening Land of Snow and onto the candy cane Kingdom of Sweets, adorned with the sweetest of treats and larger-than-life gingerbread men. It’s a fairytale world where nothing is quite as it seems…


Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park (from 19 Nov)


As the nights draw in, Syon Park once again hosts the Enchanted Woodland, which sees the 600-year-old gardens transformed by a display of lights and music. Now in its 15th year, the trail winds through the arboretum, passing the 16th-century Syon House and ends at the spectacular Great Conservatory. An array of lighting effects, from high-tech lasers to low tech candles, illuminate the way through the trees. Enchanted Woodland will take place on 12th-14th, 19th-21st and 26th-28th November 2021. Find out more.


RHS Wisley (19 Nov-4 Jan)

It’s time to Glow! See the gardens at RHS Wisley sparkle this festive season and follow dazzling displays lighting a magical trail.

Wander the enchanting trail around the garden to see some of Wisley’s iconic sights in a new and dazzling light. Venture through Seven Acres, the Rock Garden and Wisteria Walk, as well as other garden areas. Marvel at magnificent trees and shrubs bathed in a spectrum of light, fire candles and fountain displays, as well as the return of a spectacular horticultural display inside the Glasshouse.


Christmas at Hever Castle (from 20 Nov, check dates and times)


Wrap up warm and enjoy a walk under the stars. Witness the enchantment of Hever Castle, gardens and lake festooned with fabulous colours and twinkling lights, capturing the spirit of Christmas. Bring torches and pop on your wellies to see the spectacular after-dark, illuminated trail and the Castle’s much-loved landmarks lit up with glorious washes of colour. This year the light trail will include new areas of the grounds not previously lit before. It begins at 4pm each day and takes around 1.5 hours to follow the Christmas Light Trail. Find out more.


Christmas at Kenwood House (26 Nov-9 Jan)

Kilimanjaro Live presents Christmas at Kenwood, a brand new festive event in the grounds of London’s iconic Kenwood House. Perched on the edge of Hampstead Heath, it will become a magical wonderland with an incredible illuminated Christmas light trail this year. Visitors of all ages will enjoy sight of the grounds coming alive with festive magic and sparkle. Explore the new light trail before enjoying a full Christmas market, featuring festive refreshments and street food.



Palace of Stardust, Hampton Court Palace (8 Dec-3 Jan)
Palace of Stardust © Chris Payne

Prepare to be swept up in a whimsical world of planets and stars on an enchanting new light trail at Hampton Court Palace. As dusk falls across this magnificent former royal home, an atmospheric, fantastical wonderland of clocks, moons, planets and sundials is just waiting to be discovered. Lose track of time as you explore the historic cobbled courtyards and gardens, filled with magical illuminations inspired by the palace’s famous astronomical clock; the ticking Tudor heart of Hampton Court installed by command of King Henry VIII. Enjoy a magical Christmas treat, perfect for all the family.


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