Christmas is one of my favourite times of year in London, the buzz, the festive events, the mulled wine and carols, but mainly because of the Christmas lights. London is lit up so beautifully that even those of us who have seen many many Christmases are still enchanted by the sights. Each area has its own style from classic to wacky, with Carnaby Street winning the prize for the latter! Take a stroll with me to enjoy the lights from the warmth of your own home.
Let’s start with the wacky Carnaby Street folk who have gone for an original carnival, tropical theme this year and, as usual, they have not held back.
Covent Garden have many of their own traditions on show including the return of the reindeer and a mistletoe theme. Their huge tree is a cheery sight and smell of mulled wine completes the experience.
Oxford Street is promoting the NSPCC with their traditional baubles and Regent Street is glittering with its festive angels. – apologies for the fuzzy photo!
Selfridges store is famous for its fancy Christmas windows when the window dressers really go to town, unleashing their creativity, often in a fun offbeat way but sometimes in a rather brand dominated way. So, here are the fun less commercial ones from this year where the giant Father Christmas, Christmas Pudding and Robin caught my eye as did a man made of Brussels sprouts! They also have a wonderfully lit up exterior and sweet ‘Love from ‘ message lit up on the corner.
For me, the heart of the London Christmas is the tree in Trafalgar Square. It arrives every year from Norway to thank the British people for their help fighting the Nazis during the Second World War. Lit this year on 7th December it marks the proper start of the Christmas season and hosts carol singing around its base to add to the festive spirit.
Somerset House is well worth a visit at any time of year for its ever-changing exhibitions and the different uses of its grand courtyard from fashion shows to outdoor cinema and concerts. At Christmas, the courtyard becomes home to an ice rink where the adult rink is always busy and the children’s rink has brilliant polar bears to help with stability for learners – I wish they had them for adults too!
Is there anything more festive than Santa? Perhaps SantaCon, an annual London event where (young children look away now!) hundreds of people dress up in Santa costumes and gather at Trafalgar Square. Most have fun and go home but some can be seen later on having a bit of a sing-song around Nelson’s Column and seem to be having a great time!
Just one more tree for you from St Pancras train station to greet the commuters and the arrivals from Paris on Eurostar.
I hope you enjoyed your trip around London at Christmas. Check my twitter feed for more festive photos @itsyourlondon.