The most dazzling festive facades and Christmas lights in London
The quickest way to banish the winter blues? By taking in the spellbinding festive facades and Christmas lights in London. Designed to usher in the holiday season, they provide some much-needed sparkle to the long dark nights. From enchanted woodlands to illuminated palaces, we’ve rounded up the most magical Christmas light displays and installations to visit this year.
Annabel’s Christmas Façade
Until 4 January 2023
The legendary Mayfair members’ club is almost as famous for its highly Instagrammable façades as it is for its decadent interiors, and this Christmas they’ve gone all out with a truly magical display. To celebrate the festive season, Annabel’s has unveiled their dazzling Carousel of Dreams, inspired by the club’s infamous white Pegasus horse sculpture, which soars above the main staircase. The installation – which covers the club’s entire exterior – features festive detailed panels that draw on vintage fairground rides, as well as Victorian-era characters misbehaving, in a nod to the artworks dotted around the club itself. Inside, more festive wonders await, including Gingerbread Martinis and Mistletoe Spritzes for the adults and a Christmas Wonderland for the kids, where members will be encouraged to make donations to the Tower Hamlets Hub charity throughout December.
46 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 5AT
Cartier’s Christmas Facade
Cartier is no stranger to bringing festive magic to Mayfair. Every year the luxury jewellery house ‘wraps up’ its five-storey flagship on New Bond Street with an enormous, illuminated ribbon in the maison’s signature red. This December, the centrepiece of the ribbon is Cartier’s famous interlocking logo. Elsewhere on the glittering exterior are huge white lit-up Christmas baubles each one containing a nod to the house’s traditional design codes or symbols including, of course, the panther, an animal which has long been a source of inspiration for the jewellery house.
175-177 New Bond Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4RN
Kings’ Cross Granary Square Winter Installation
Until end of February 2023
Art lovers will enjoy this new site-specific work in Kings Cross’ Granary Square, designed by Berlin-based experimental art and architecture practice Raumlabor. Following on from previous works of recent years, they’ve done away with a traditional Christmas tree and replaced it with an innovative winter installation instead. Entitled elsewhere: a place to think about the world, the 33-foot high structure offers a place for visitors to reflect on the beauty of the world around them, while gazing up at kaleidoscopic light patterns and heat maps that demonstrate our ever-changing planet. As thought-provoking as it is mesmerising
1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AA
Christmas at Kew
Until 8 January 2023
Kew Gardens’ annual festive transformation returns for its tenth anniversary, with the grounds lighting up into a wonderland of sparkling tunnels, dancing waterside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like displays. Work your way around the paths, discovering ArtAV’s magical Starry Night, lit with thousands of twinkling lights, and the ever-popular Fire Garden, alongside an array of immersive installations on your way to the grand finale: the panoramic Palm House light display. Independent street food vendors will also be dotted throughout the route, offering festive treats and hot drinks, and Father Christmas will be waiting to say hello. It’s a beautiful family outing, and an opportunity to see the historic Kew Gardens through new eyes.
Kew Gardens, Richmond, London, TW9 3AF
Southbank Centre Winter Light exhibition
Until 8 January 2023
Alongside its perennially popular Christmas market, the Southbank Centre is playing host to a stunning display of lights this winter. Featuring new works and returning favourites, the exhibition runs across some of the Southbank’s most iconic buildings and all along the riverfront, harnessing the full spectrum of light and colour. There are 11 installations in total, ranging from Conrad Shawcross’s mesmerising Dark Heart to electric neon tree canopies by David Ogle and Jakob Kvist’s multicoloured geometric dome, which is lit by a single energy efficient bulb. A dazzling display guaranteed to bring some highbrow culture to your festive frivolities this year.
The Queen’s Walk, Southbank, London SE1 8XX
Ivy Chelsea Garden
It seems that all that glitters is gold at the Ivy Chelsea Garden this Christmas, where their Golden Feast theme is more opulent than ever. Naturally, the King’s Road restaurant has gone suitably overboard with their Christmas decorations to match, with an eye-catching façade featuring giant golden pheasants and geese poised to take flight, as well as two cheeky monkeys – clad in green top hats – standing guard above the door. To top it all off, there’s a giant green bow hung with an enormous sprig of gold mistletoe, making it the ideal spot for a festive date night.
195-197 King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 5EQ
Lightopia at Crystal Palace
Until 2 January 2023
Crystal Palace has been turned into a mystical wonderland with Lightopia, an award-winning festival of lights featuring striking installations. Bringing together traditional and cutting-edge features, the festival features handmade, hand-painted lanterns that were created using ancient Chinese methods that date back to the Tang dynasty displayed alongside immersive, multi-sensory interactive lights displays. Wander along the routes through the historic park, enjoying some of South East London’s finest local food and drink stalls along the way, before ending at the spectacular festive water show finale on the lower lake.
Thicket Road, Crystal Palace, London, SE19 1UE
Christmas at Kenwood House
2 December 2022 – 1 January 2023
One of the main attractions in Hampstead Heath, 17th-century Kenwood House is being transformed into a winter wonderland this Christmas, with a light trail illuminating the house and grounds. The historic gardens will come to life with a whole array of festive activities, from glittering light trails and animal sculptures in the woodland to imaginative laser projections lighting up the house’s grand façade. Finish off with a winter cocktail at the terrace bar, which comes festooned with twinkling fairy lights.
Hampstead Lane, Hampstead, London, NW3 7JR
Palace of Light at Hampton Court Palace
7 December 2022 – 2 January 2023
For a thoroughly regal festive day out, pay a visit to Hampton Court Palace this December, where you’ll find a majestic menagerie of mythical creatures cavorting around the cobbled courtyards after dark. Inspired by Henry VIII’s heraldic beasts, the palace has been brought to life with a series of fantastical installations and dramatic displays, including a sea monster lurking in the canals of the Great Fountain Garden and polka-dot panther lanterns in the Wilderness. Street food pioneers Kerb will be dishing up winter warmers like halloumi burgers and jerk chicken, washed down with mulled wine and hot chocolate.
Hampton Court Way, Molesey, London KT8 9AU
Sparkle in the Park
1 – 4 December 2022
For the third year running, this charming light trail – which is free to attend – returns to Greenwich, and this year it’s taking over an entirely new location, in Well Hall Pleasaunce Park. The bucolic space will be transformed into an enchanted wonderland for the whole family to enjoy, complete with twinkling fir trees, fire art installations and interactive elements, as well as a special kids trail. There’ll also be live music on offer, as well as street food and drinks stalls for festive treats and tipples.
Well Hall Pleasaunce Park, Greenwich, London SE9 6TH