Last December I had the pleasure of planning a trip to London at Christmas for some of John’s work colleagues…and lucky me, we got to join in on the fun! I had never been to London at Christmastime, but it was definitely on my list of things I needed to do. The best thing about London at Christmas are the Christmas lights, window displays and decorated storefronts. They are free to see and FABULOUS!! Here’s my must-see list of the BEST Christmas lights in London. There’s nothing like seeing a world class city decked to the nines during the holidays…and no one does Christmas better than London.
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CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN LONDON
Just walking along the streets in London at Christmas you will see so many pretty things your camera will be in over drive. The Christmas lights and storefront decor in London are over the top and truly stunning. Practically every business gets into the spirit and decorates their already super cute exteriors with all kinds of Christmas greenery and baubles. Here are the main places you want to make sure to visit to see the best Christmas lights in London, decor and stunning storefronts.
NEW BOND STREET
Super fancy stores means super fancy Christmas decor. This street is full of everything from Tiffany to Louis Vuitton and it has the decorations to match. Start your walk right where New Bond Street and Old Bond Street meet up in front of the Tiffany store and head north.
Every little detail and elaborate decoration is perfection in this ritzy shopping area.
Not only does Oxford Street have good Christmas shopping with everything from Vans to Anthropologie, the pretty star-lit street will transport you to a magical place.
If you’re thinking of the famous Angels that you see over the streets of London, Regent Street is what you want to see. It is breathtaking to see the huge angels floating over the holiday shoppers.
The grandeur of these angels can’t be described. Seeing them in person is incredible!
With a more neighborhood feel, Chelsea is a great place to wander with quieter streets and smaller hidden gems. Be sure to wander by the Belmond Cadogan, The Egerton House Hotel, Sloane Square, and stroll down Walton Street and Pavilion Rd.
The decor outside of the Egerton House Hotel is over the top…those garlands are insane!
Jak’s is a darling little spot to stop in for a bite to eat.
HARRODS / KNIGHTSBRIDGE
The exterior of Harrods at Christmastime is almost as much of a spectacle as the inside. It’s definitely something you want to see…and so are the surrounding stores.
Burberry, Harvey Nichols and other big retailers along Knightsbridge also light up their store fronts to rival Harrods.
Close to SOHO, Leicester Square and the West End where the star shaped streets constructed in the early 1960s anchored by a sun dial in the middle of the round about, are full of specialty boutiques, small design shops, theaters and restaurants that get decked out for the holidays.
This always colorful street of shops get an extra dose of cheer during the holidays.
This bustling market full of beautiful sights and smells year round, looks extra pretty with big red bows and lights and Christmas trees.
FORTNUM & MASON
The cutest advent calendar store front you ever did see. Not to mention one of my favorite shops in town…so don’t forget to take a peek inside too. 😉
Known for it’s AMAZING interior decor during the holidays, the exterior is definitely worth taking a stroll by too.
A private club on Berkeley Square, they pick a theme every year and transform the exterior of this many story building into something amazing. Last year it was a gingerbread house…can’t wait to see this year’s reveal!
A FEW TIPS FOR SEEING CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN LONDON
The days are VERY short in London in December. It gets light later in the morning (between 7-8am) and is feeling pretty dark by 4pm. The good news is…that means there is lots of time for those lights to be on each day. You’ll just want to be aware of the shorter daylight hours when planning your activities.
Winter in London (much like other times of the year) is a bit cold and drizzly. The best way to see these lights is on foot. Taking the tube or a taxi will limit your ability to see much, which means…you’ll likely be out and about in cold, wet weather to check out these beautiful lights, so you will want to dress appropriately.
Here are a few things I recommend you pack when you head to London in the winter. Click on the product image for more information.
SHOES: These are SO important! You want something that will keep your feet dry but at the same time be warm and comfortable for lots of walking. I bought a pair of Chelsea boots that were very comfortable, and actually ended up picking up a pair of these Vans while I was in town. They are now my favorite shoes! So warm and comfortable, and very water resistant.
SOCKS: Don’t discount how much of a difference a pair of socks can make! Not only does a thicker pair make your shoes more comfortable, but I cannot say often enough how important it is to keep your feet warm and dry. A good pair of wool socks are a must. Here are a few of the ones we own and love and wore on our trip.
JACKET: You will definitely want to layer up I was fine wearing a long sleeved t-shirt (these are my FAVORITE long sleeved shirts), a sweater and a jacket. Most of the time I wore my packable puffer, which I take with me EVERYWHERE, but again, the key is staying warm and dry…so a good water resistant coat is also a must have. Here are a few of my favorite jackets to travel to rainy weather with. Most of these come in lots of color options.
UMBRELLA: Don’t forget a good umbrella. Lots of times your hotel will have complimentary umbrellas for you to borrow. These are usually WAY better umbrellas than you can fit in your luggage. Ask at the front desk when you check in if you can borrow a few for your stay. The downside of their umbrellas are that they usually say the hotel name in large print on them…so everyone immediately knows you are a visitor, and they are usually not compact umbrellas…which is why they are so good. 😉 It makes them a bit more of a pain to walk around with all day. It’s still a good idea to pack a small personal umbrella just in case.
I hope that these tips for seeing the best Christmas lights in London will make your magical Christmas trip even better!
I’ll be back with another post on the best things to to in London at Christmas…everything from special afternoon teas to Royal sing-alongs. Until then, be sure to check out my COMPLETE LONDON TRAVEL GUIDE with all the best places to stay, eat, shop and see while you’re in town.
Here are a few more posts I have written over the last few travels to London that might come in handy…
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