Everyone is need of some festive cheer to see out the worst year ever, and London is really going full out with its festivities this Christmas. The city has responded to the lack of joy and cheer throughout 2020 and has made up for it by gracing us with some of its most spectacular Christmas decorations London has seen in years!
Lights and Displays
Every year the Tate modern invites artists to decorate the outer building in whatever festive theme they see fit. This year the installation is by British-Asian artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman. Singh Burman has incorporated many aspects of her life within the display, with the tiger perched on the wall representing her south asian heritage. Poignant messages are included with ‘without us there is no Britain’ illuminating the walls. A Pro-immigration statement we can all appreciate.
Connected by light at Canary Wharf
Due to COVID-19 the annual winter lights festival has been postponed, and its in place is Connected by Light. The aim is to bring a sense of calm and colour in what is such an unsettled time. Its free to walk around and is open till 10pm every day. Some of the lights only come to life in the evenings so be sure to plan ahead and visit when it’s dark.
Christmas at Kew Gardens
Returning for its eighth year, the Christmas lights here are wonderful. Kew Gardens is actually a UNESCO World Heritage landscape and should definitely be on your list of festive sights to see. The light trail is open from 4-10pm and offers a huge range of illuminations and light shows – from the tunnel of light to the iconic temperate house. This year there is also an illuminated rose garden! All in all there are over 1 million lights here at Kew Gardens making it an absolute Christmas spectacular.
Seven dials is a road junction in the borough of Camden, close to Covent Garden. This years christmassy theme is a ‘festive wonderland’. Every year Seven Dials partners with a charity to help raise awareness and support. This year they have teamed up with Dragon Hall Trust who support those in food poverty in the community. This year also sees the addition of Father Christmas and his Elves at 19 Earlham Street!
Christmas in Wembley Park
While the usual ‘Winterfest at Wembley Park’ has been postponed this year due to COVID-19, Christmas in Wembley park still carries on with 10 festive light installations. For the second year running, London’s tallest LED tree will be here with new digital artwork ‘Aurora Arbour’.
A festive staple in London right? Even if you don’t buy anything, a window shopping trip to Harrods at Christmas is a must! 12,000 lights adorn the outside and up to 300 bulbs are changed every day.
Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum and Mason are my favourite shop window this year. Each window is numbered like an advent calendar with the lower 8 windows on Picadilly revisiting festive moments from past displays. Best to see it at night time when you really get the full effect of the red on the upper windows.
Old and New Bond street are two of London’s most visited streets, filled with luxury brands and that quintessential London feel. At Christmas, the decorations are just as luxurious as the shops themselves, but as always Cartier has pulled it out the bag. A stroll down New and Old bond street with a hot drink in hand should definitely be included in your festive must do’s in London.
Bars and Restaurants
Ivy Chelsea Garden
The Ivy is never a bad idea – and especially not at Christmas! If the outdoor decor doesn’t sway you there then then festive menu should do it.
Though strictly members only inside, there is nothing stopping you gazing at the wonderful outdoor decor at Annabel’s in Mayfair. Every year their tree is a different colour – this year the royal colours of red and gold.
Miracle at 34 Mayfair
Inspired by the festive favourite film ‘Miracle On 34th Street’ 34 Mayfair has this year pulled out all the stops. The installation covers every inch of wall and ceiling creating a festive haven where guests can forget about the troubles of the world outside.
The Churchill Arms in Kensington has been decorating this way for 32 years. Last year the pub boasted 100 Christmas trees! This year 68,000 lights and 22 trees cover the outside making it London’s most Christmassy pub. In honour of frontline workers working the pandemic, instead of its usual Christmas banners, the pub has put up 12 NHS flags – a really really nice touch!
Brasseire Of Light
Located in Selfridges, the brasseire of light is the perfect Christmas brunch spot with a little bit of luxury included. Shop till you can’t shop anymore, and head up for a few dishes off their festive menu.
There are plenty more festive must sees in London, but these are my favourites this year! While not everything can be as expected, London has really pulled out all the stops to bring that festive cheer to those who need it most.