9 Places to See the Best Christmas Lights in London

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Regent Street's angels are among the best Christmas lights in London

London is a fantastic place to be during the Christmas season. The whole city gets into the holiday spirit with Christmas lights, decorations, and markets.

All the glimmering Christmas lights in London brighten up the night and help make the dark less gloomy.

There are many great places to see the Christmas lights around the city. Of course, such spots are all pretty popular, but they’re popular for a reason, right?

To avoid the crowds, I’d recommend seeing the lights on weeknights and earlier in the evening before everyone is off work, or late at night when many people have gone home from these spots.

If you’re looking for something to help you decide which places to visit, or you just want to enjoy the Christmas lights in London from the comfort of your own home, this is the post for you.

This article features photos mostly from 2019, but they give a good idea on what you can expect from each spot.

1. Regent Street

Regent Street’s Christmas decorations are probably the most famous in London.

Each year, Regent Street is lined with glimmering angels that hang high above the streets, multicolored lights trailing behind them.

Regent Street’s world-famous angels

Any outing to see the best Christmas lights in London isn’t really complete until you’ve been along Regent Street.

For a closer look at these iconic decorations, you could take a bus that goes along Regent Street and sit at the front of the upper deck. Of course, many people might want to sit that spot to get a good view of the lights!

2. Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street is one of the spots in London that changes its decorations each year.

In 2019, this pedestrian shopping street displayed Christmas decorations with an underwater theme. This included jellyfish, seahorses, whales, and more. It was done in collaboration with Project 0 to draw attention to ocean and wildlife conservation.

Carnaby Street’s ocean-themed decorations

This year, Carnaby Street has the “Kaleidoscope” display, featuring a rainbow explosion of butterflies. Kaleidoscope is being put on in partnership with Choose Love to highlight the issues of refugees worldwide.

3. Bond Street

Bond Street is another street famous for its distinctive Christmas decorations. On Bond Street, the lights and ornamentation are peacock-themed, including peacock feathers and tails.

This street is also edged with luxury stores that have their own holiday displays and decorations.

Even during the day, Bond Street’s decorations are charming

Bond Street itself isn’t very long, but it’s located near many other areas in London famous for Christmas lights and directly connected to Oxford Street. So it’s very easy to visit many of these spots in one go.

4. Covent Garden

The Covent Garden shopping district is particularly delightful to stroll through in November and December. The various markets, shops, and eateries are all decked out in festive lights and decorations.

Some of the best decorations are inside the Apple Market: absolutely massive ornaments and mistletoe hangs from the ceiling. Covent Garden also has a gigantic Christmas tree with a multitude lights and ornaments.

Christmas decorations around Covent Garden

Covent Garden is very beautiful to walk around during the holidays, but especially once the sun starts to set. It’s also a great place to take a break with some food or a drink in the midst of your Christmas outings.

5. Leicester Square Christmas Market

The Leicester Square Christmas Market is very charming. Hanging from the trees in the area are an array of glistening snowflakes and strings of Christmas lights.

The stalls of the market are arranged into a circle, and offer a good mix of eats, decorations, and gifts. The circular design of the market makes it feel kinda cozy.

Sights around Leicester Square Christmas Market

Of particular note at the Leicester Square Christmas Market when I visited was a stall offering a huge assortment of fudge. It looked quite nice, though I didn’t get a chance to try it, as my very decadent hot chocolate was enough sugar for the day.

6. Trafalgar Square Christmas Market

Extending across the front of the National Gallery, the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market is set against a very dramatic backdrop.

Christmas tree and market in front of the National Gallery

Trafalgar Square at Christmas time

Trafalgar Square is famous for its Christmas tree, which is actually a gift sent to London from Norway every year. The tree is sent to thank the United Kingdom for helping Norway during World War II. This tradition has been going on since 1947.

Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree tops out around 82 feet/25 meters, and is decorated with lights aplenty.

Some stalls around the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market

The Trafalgar Square Christmas Market has numerous stalls selling Christmas decorations and gifts, as well as some foods and drinks.

7. Southbank Centre Winter Market

The Southbank Centre Winter Market, as you can probably guess, is located near the Southbank Centre and stretches along the Thames towards the London Eye.

Stalls at the Southbank Centre Winter Market

Stalls selling all sorts of foods

The market features a huge number of stalls with tons of food options, in addition to Christmas gifts and decorations like the other Christmas markets.

Mulled wine? Hot chocolate? Check and check. Fried brie with cranberry sauce? Delicious!

Food, drinks, and rides galore

The Southbank Centre Winter Market also offers a few rides, including a carousel.

The nice thing about South Bank is that it can be easier to find a place to sit. Some of the food/drink kiosks along the river have seating, and there are also benches up and down the riverside path.

8. Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is another holiday institution in London. If you don’t know what Winter Wonderland is, it’s a massive winter-themed carnival that is set up in Hyde Park from mid-November to the start of January.

Winter Wonderland is a true extravaganza of rides, games, food stalls, restaurants, entertainment, bars, and other activities. Grab a beer in the Bavarian Village, catch a bird’s-eye view of everything from the Giant Wheel, or ride one of several roller coasters.

Mulled wine in front of a fire at Winter Wonderland

The Bavarian Village at Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland has activities for everyone, from families with young children to couples going out for a date. It also has its own Christmas Market, with little stalls selling Christmas-related wares.

Even if you’re not interested in the rides, it’s still quite fun to walk around and see everything. Plus you can easily find something to delicious to eat or drink.

Rides, games, and more around Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is an extremely popular thing to do in London during the holiday season, with over 3 million visitors a year.

If you want to go to Winter Wonderland, try to visit at an off-time if possible. Of course, many people want to see things as they lights up, once it gets dark. To avoid the crowds a bit, I visited right before dusk and could walk in with little wait in 2019; when I left mid-evening, the line to get in was so long.

Note that in 2021, you must reserve tickets for Winter Wonderland in advance. They have already sold out of popular time slots, so make sure to book early!

9. Oxford Street

Oxford Street is another famous shopping street that is also renowned for its Christmas decorations.

Oxford Street has had different Christmas light displays over the past couple of years. This year, the street is lit up by a myriad of warm stars. In 2019, the decorations were a bit less exciting, basically shimmering banners made out of LED lights. The displays had the ability to change, for instance showing varying holiday messages.

Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have taken any photos of Oxford Street in 2019, and I’m not in London this holiday season to see the stars (which look very magical).

But the Christmas lights at Oxford Street definitely worth going to see, especially if you’re already in the area!

Dreaming of warmer weather? Check out some of the best beaches in East Asia and my Bali review!

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