“Christmas magic is silent. You don’t hear it – You feel it, you know it, you believe it.”
I may be slightly biased when I say that London is the best place to be at Christmas time, but you’re going to have to forgive me because it is the TRUTH!
No matter where you go in London, there is a truly wonderful and indescribable feeling of enchantment.
The smell of freshly spiced mulled wine hangs in the air at the busy Christmas markets, the awe-inspiring lights shimmer over each street and the red double-decker buses zoom past the gorgeous robotic window displays. It’s like every Christmas movie you’ve ever seen. If you need to get in the festive mood, spend just 10 minutes walking around any part of the city and you’ll quickly be feeling as giddy and giving as Father Christmas himself.
London sure knows how to dish out the festive season magic and I find myself treasuring it more and more with each passing year. So if I have officially twisted your arm and you plan to add this to your bucket list, here is your ultimate guide to the festive London sights (along with your underground tube map, you’ll be needing it!)
- OXFORD STREET
Head to the red ‘Central Line’ on the Undergound Tube network to start your London Christmas lights tour…
Oxford Street is nearly 2km long and is annually lit up with over 750,000 LED bulbs(!) Not only this, it’s the biggest shopping street in Europe with huge retail stores lining both sides of its length so you will instantly be in shopping heaven as soon as you arrive.
If you’re able, start at one end (tube stations ‘Marble Arch’ or ‘Tottenham Court Road’) and walk the entire street. The Christmas lights are on a huge scale and many change completely from one year to the next. Each side street takes on different themes and styles so you will feel a deep sense of wonder whenever you stumble across a new amazing display. It really is the best treasure hunt!
Top 5 spots to check out on your tour of Oxford St:
Bond Street (2017 lights: Peacock Feathers)
Carnaby Street (2017 lights: Carnival)
Ganton Street (2017 lights: Lightbulbs)
Regent Street (2017 lights: Angels)
Kingly Court (2017 lights: Rainbow)
Final Tip: Each year there is a huge event (usually held in early November) attended by a well-known singer or celebrity who will turn on the lights and perform live. Definitely worth checking out if you are heading to London early.
(Oxford Street – Marble Arch end)
Whilst walking down Oxford Street and taking in the glittering lights, you will not be able to miss the glorious Selfridge & Co.
Founded in 1908, the world’s best department store is covered with festive lights and large crowds gather around the luxurious window displays.
Once inside, shopping has never been such an exciting event. The escalators are extravagantly decorated and DJs or live Christmas choirs perform to the customers travelling on them.
Luxury brands, fine dining and entertainment await you – As well as an entire floor dedicated to a Christmas emporium for the holiday season! Selfridges is where it’s at…
- WINTER WONDERLAND, Hyde Park
It’s the most wonderful time of the year when London’s famous Hyde Park is transformed into Winter Wonderland!
It seems to grow bigger and bigger each year with everything you could possibly need to enjoy the festive season: German Christmas markets (complete with bratwurst, warm cider & gingerbread), thrilling fairground rides (including a ferris wheel with unforgettable views of London), an ice rink, circus shows, bars, Santa land and more…. Suitable for all ages and it’s completely FREE to attend!
Tube Transport: Due to the park’s size, there are various tube stations to choose from when visiting Winter Wonderland. I would recommend Marble Arch (Central Line, Red) for a short walk and smaller crowds!
- COVENT GARDEN
This 19th Century Piazza always has such a great atmosphere throughout the year as it is famous for its boutique coffee shops, delicious lunch spots and vintage fashion/antique stalls.
At Christmas, it’s even more special as live opera singers and musicians take the stage and the cobbled streets are decorated with sparkling reindeer and a 55ft Christmas tree! For the last couple of years now, there’s also been beautiful mistletoe branches suspended from the ceiling illuminating the shoppers beneath. I’m in love.
Tube Transport: Covent Garden, Piccadilly Line, Dark-Blue.
5. SOUTH BANK
What’s a visit to London without checking out Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament?! I always make sure to pay these beautiful monuments a visit whenever I can. There is just something so beautiful about the silhouette created by these historical buildings and the buzz of tourist energy that surrounds them and the London Eye.
At Christmas time, take the tube to Embankment station (Circle & District Line, Green/Yellow) and cross the bridge over the River Thames. This gives you the best view of the London skyline and gets you close enough to pay the South Bank Christmas Market a visit. Magical.
Have you been to London before? Is there a city that you think does ‘Christmas’ better? Let me know in the Comments below!