The most dazzling festive facades and Christmas lights in London
The quickest way to banish the winter blues? By taking in the spellbinding festive façades and Christmas lights in London. Designed to usher in the holiday season, they add some much-needed sparkle to the long, dark nights. From enchanted woodlands to illuminated palaces, we’ve rounded up the most magical London Christmas lights and installations to visit this year.
Annabel’s Christmas Façade
Until end of December
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 a dazzling hot air balloon, inspired by the idea that anything is possible when we come together to rise above difficult times.
The installation – which covers the club’s entire exterior – features a glittering dome and hundreds of twinkling lights, and has been designed as a beacon of hope and inspiration. The facade marks The Caring Family Foundation and Annabel’s annual ‘Food from the Heart’ campaign, which seeks to tackle child poverty and food insecurity. Together, 2.3 million nutritious and wholesome meals have been delivered from communities in Sao Paulo, Brazil to schools across the UK.
46 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 5AT
Christmas at Kew
15 November - 7 January 2024
When it comes to Christmas lights, no one does it quite like Kew Gardens. Their annual festive transformation returns for its eleventh 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 and discover brand new displays, including 3m high illuminated flowers, cascading lights suspended from the tree canopy and one of the longest light tunnels to ever feature at Christmas at Kew.
You’ll also find the ever-popular Fire Garden and 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
13 November - 7 January 2024
Alongside its perennially popular Christmas market, the Southbank Centre is playing host to a stunning display of Christmas 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 10 installations in total, including five new ones for this year, ranging from bespoke neon shapes created by Brixton-based architecture practice Squire & Partners to Leo Villareal’s digital installation Cosmic Bloom, with music from DJ Kode9. A dazzling display guaranteed to bring some highbrow culture to your festive frivolities this year.
The Queen’s Walk, Southbank, London SE1 8XX
Christmas at Kenwood House
1 December 2023 – 1 January 2024
One of the main attractions in Hampstead Heath and one of the top places to see London Christmas lights, 17th-century Kenwood House is being transformed into a winter wonderland this festive season, with a light trail featuring 13 brand new installations 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
Cartier’s Christmas Façade
Until end of December
Cartier is no stranger to bringing festive magic to Mayfair. Every year the luxury jewellery house adds a magical Christmas façade to its five-storey flagship on New Bond Street, normally featuring an enormous, illuminated ribbon in the maison’s signature red. This year, they’re trying something a little different, with the ribbon replaced by a glittering red airship taking flight, surrounded by illuminated clouds. To go with the display Cartier has also created a festive music and light show, which takes place daily every 30 minutes from 4.30pm – 7.30pm.
175-177 New Bond Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4RN
Sparkle in the Park
30 November – 3 December
For the fourth year running, this charming Christmas light trail – which is free to attend – returns to Greenwich, and this year it’s back in a much-loved location, Avery Hill Park. The bucolic space will be transformed into an enchanted wonderland for the whole family to enjoy, complete with twinkling fir trees, a fun fair, Christmas market and pop-up performances from local school and community choirs. There’ll also be live music on offer, as well as street food and drinks stalls for festive treats and tipples.
Bexley Rd, Greenwich, London SE9 2PQ
Christmas at Eltham Palace
1 December – 1 January 2024
The same team behind Christmas at Kenwood have created this enchanting light trail at historic Eltham Palace, which is brand new for 2023. The beautiful art deco mansion and former Tudor royal palace in South London will be transformed for the festive season, with a series of displays created by light art pioneers Illumaphonium, bringing together a trail of spectacular illuminations and installations.
One the main highlights to look out for is ‘Halo’, a dynamic, interactive installation that lights up and plays music in response to touch. With plenty of festive food and warming cocktails on offer, it’s the perfect new addition to London’s festive scene.
Court Yard, Eltham, London SE9 5QE