Christmas Lights in London 2021

Christmas in London is a magical time and made more so by some of the best Christmas lights in the world. Many of London's major streets will be decked out in christmas lights and so it is very hard to miss them. Every year they change, so there's no such thing as light-fatigue. You should also check out the amazing christmas windows of London's most famous department stores.

Christmas Lights Turn On

Christmas lights
Oxford Street Christmas Lights

Most of them will be turned on between the start and the middle of November 2021 (often by a local celebrity such as a pop star or tv star) and in our opinion the best Christmas lights can usually be found in Bond Street, Marylebone High Street, Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, and Covent Garden - and at the same time of course you can do your London Christmas shopping.

Christmas lights
Carnaby Street Christmas Lights

The Best Lights in London

There are many debates about where to see the best lights, but we think these are unmissable!

  • Bond Street Christmas lights
  • Carnaby Street Christmas lights
  • Covent Garden Christmas lights
  • Regent Street Christmas lights
  • Oxford Street Christmas lights
  • Seven Dials Christmas lights
  • Berwick Street Christmas lights
  • Duke of York Square Christmas lights
  • Harrods Christmas lights

Aside from the lights in Duke of York Square in Chelsea (which will require a tube trip) and possibly Harrods which is just south of Hyde Park, the other locations are all within in a mile and so all can be visited on foot in one evening. We'd recommend starting West in Bond Street and walking East towards Covent Garden, but it makes little difference as the christmas lights can be seen in all directions! By mid November its already dark by around 5.30pm, so you don't need to start late.

The Christmas Lights Story

in London we often call Christmas lights 'fairy lights', but usually in conjunction with Christmas trees, or a string of lights.

The 1st Christmas tree was lit by the use of electricity in 1882 by Edward Johnson with 80 small electric light bulbs in New York City - and he also invented the first string of christmas lights. The tradition to light up streets and department stores started at the very end of the 19th Century however it wasn't until the 1950s that it really took off in London, starting with Regent Street (between Oxford Circus and Picadilly Circus). The practice declined in the early 1970s as the recession bit, but strengthen again through the 80s before introducing sponsors in the 1990s to enable even bigger displays. Since the start of the 21st century the street lights have been a must-see in London.

Possibly the most famous London Christmas lights on a single store are at Harrods in Knightsbridge. They also have incredibly beautiful window displays

Christmas lights
Harrods Christmas Lights

The Best Christmas Windows in London 2021

London's best department stores have amazing windows at Christmas. These are all worth a visit, at any time of day:

  • Harrods Christmas windows
  • Selfridges Christmas windows
  • Harvey Nichols Christmas windows
  • Liberty's Christmas windows
  • Fortnum & Mason's Christmas windows
  • Dior's Christmas display

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You May Not Know

Electricity was first used to light christmas trees in 1895, but candles had been used since the middle of the 17th century. In the UK christmas tree lights are are often known as fairy lights and generally don't work when you first put them up.