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.
London looks brilliant any time of the year but in the build-up to Christmas London dresses up in its very best festive lights and trees pop up all over the city.
I’d love to show you a few of the fabulous sights to enjoy right now in London. Covent Garden is a good place to start as they have the best tree, in my view, and fabulous lights. This year’s theme is mistletoe – ahhh. You can shop for gifts and enjoy some refreshment as you explore. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again when London comes to life with festive lights in all the major shopping areas. I’ve been out and about checking them out for you and my view on 2015 is that some new ones are great, some areas have kept with old favourites which is no bad thing but some of the major shops have not made much effort this year and one major street is just not up to our high standards.
When does Christmas start in London? If you believe some of the shops it’s September or even August but for me, it’s when the famous Christmas tree is lit in Trafalgar Square on 4th December. The tree has been sent from the people of Norway every year from 1947 to thank the people of Great Britain for their support during the Second World War. I was in the square to see the lights go on as the carols are sung and suddenly felt all Christmassy! The reflection in the fountain was a bonus.
As we hurtle towards Christmas, I wanted to bring you some more pictures of the street lights and shop displays that are giving London a really festive look. Continue reading
London always looks beautiful at Christmas time as the shops, large and small, and the famous streets, like Regent Street and Oxford Street, put a huge effort into their lights and window displays. Most of them are up and twinkling now so I thought I’d give you a tour around London by night to enjoy these festive sights. Continue reading
Only 15 days to go! I’m rushing around trying to make sure I have bought everyone’s presents, posted all the cards and, most importantly, enjoyed London’s Christmas lights!
One of the wonderful traditions in London at this time of year is the lighting of the tress in Trafalgar Square. Every year since 1947 the people of Norway have sent us a magnificent Christmas tree as a gesture of thanks for British support during the dark days of the Second World War. The switching on of the lights attracts huge crowds and this year was no exception with the square and every viewing point crammed with excited Londoners and tourists. The 70 foot tree looked fabulous with its 600 bright lights hanging vertically, as is the Norwegian style. Here are some photos to show you the scenes in the square including the fine voiced choristers who braved the cold to entertain us!
To top off the evening, we went into the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields for the annual VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) charity Christmas Carol Concert where we had great fun belting out all the old favourites, listened to a wonderful choir doing it properly and heard some fun and inspiring readings and talks about the work of VSO. A festive glass of hot mulled wine was also happily consumed!
|Inside St Martin-in- the-Fields|
The British Museum has a special open evening for members so we could shop in private and enjoy the Egyptian Galleries by night, which was a bit spooky and put me in mind of the film A Night at the Museum. The famous inner courtyard and Reading Room looked festive with their snowflake design.
|The museum by night – watched by a Pharaoh!|
South Molton Street, just off Oxford Street has very striking lights and they have done the sensible thing and used last years’ again – good to see the recycling and the dramatic blue arches would be hard to beat.
Another example of recycling is Oxford Street where they have kept most of the lights used last year but added several sections sponsored by Marmite. The advertising for this quintessentially British spread is ‘you’ll love it or hate it’ and that seems to apply to the lights too! I think most of them are ok but the section where people’s faces appear is rather creepy. Have a look at the good bits:
Selfridges, one of London’s top department stores on Oxford Street, is famous for its Christmas windows and although they are not all as good as usual this year, I particularly like these two.
I’ll be back soon with some more sights of London at Christmas time for you.
Bye for now
There are so many fabulous Christmas lights in London this year I just had to put up another selection for you! I still have some lights left to visit, so there could even be part 3…
Not quite fitting the heading of lights, but very Christmassy none the less, were the sights on show this Saturday in Trafalgar Square where I stumbled upon a massive Santa gathering! Hundreds of Santa were streaming out of the tube stations and off the buses to hang out together, sing songs, do congas and (shock – horror!) drink beer! Everyone was having such fun it was infectious, although the tourists who had come to check out the Olympic clock were rather bemused. They kept asking ‘why’? It seems the only answer was to have fun…
Nearby Covent Garden always looks beautiful at Christmas and I was eager to see if the giant reindeer was there again. Yes, he was although he had set up camp round the other side of the piazza. I missed the real ones who had been there during the day but I love this chap with his proper red nose! There was also an intriguing and beautifully lit chalet which turned out to house a digital installation work by Martha Fiennes called Nativity. The market sections were decorated with enormous baubles and the whole area looked wonderfully festive, as I’d hoped.
Regent Street is a posh shopping street but they have a habit of putting up the most commercial lights with product placement to the fore. This year, however, they have been more restrained and have some lovely lights about sledges and elfs!
All the big shopping areas in London are great for lights, festive window dressing and decorated trees – even skating rinks! Here is the last set of photos showing: the window at Selfridges, the tree at Whiteleys; and the skating rink at Westfield Shepherds Bush.
I hope you’ve enjoyed more Christmas in London!
Bye for now,
The Christmas lights seem to go up earlier each year but by December we are all getting into the swing of the festive season. Huge numbers of people come to visit to big shopping areas in London like Oxford Street, Regent Street and Covent Garden to buy presents but also to enjoy the wonderful Christmas lights.
This will be a 2 part blog as there are so many to show you. Here’s part 1 and I hope you enjoy a trip around London with me!
One of the loveliest and yet very simple Christmas lights are the blue arches in South Molton Street:
I’m not usually a great fan of Oxford Street as it’s so busy and has mostly chain stores but their lights are great this year and really lift the mood in the crowds:
Carnaby Street is often the best of the lot and this year they have gone all loved up with their mistletoe and holly branches and Kingly Court looks magical with its fairy lights:
Just one more for today! The tree in Trafalgar Square is very special as it is sent to us each year from the people of Norway to thank us for our help during the Second World War. It’s a huge and beautiful tree and each evening you can listen to the carol singers gathered underneath it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a short trip round the London Christmas lights. I’ll try to squeeze a few more in very soon.
Bye for now,