We love Christmas in London. It’s all sparkly lights, giant trees and shop windows you want to move into. While no one’s pretending it won’t be busy, it’s hard not to get into the Christmas spirit when you see London’s main shopping streets transformed with glittering lights. The window displays for some of London’s biggest stores are always impressive, but this year there are some interesting themes going on too – like Fortnum’s “Together We’re Merrier”. We’ve gathered together the prettiest displays around London so you can see for yourself.
Fortnum & Mason
There’s eight extravagant windows at London’s oldest department store to see this year.
To sum up a turbulent year, they’ve decided to pair opposing characters with each other in a charming symbol of Christmas togetherness. We say ahhhhh.
The 3D models in the “Together We’re Merrier” windows were made by sculpture artists, and then painted by theatre make-up artists based on illustrations by Bret Ryder. We love the wolf and the sheep (see above).
The Conran Shop
Who doesn’t like a bit of outdoors, indoors – and no one does it better than The Conran Shop.
This year their windows look good enough to move into for Christmas. We’re sure no one will notice.
Santa’s got his sparkle on at Selfridges this Christmas. And we’re pleased he’s looking good, as each one of his sequined suits took 193 hours to sew and make.
All the mountain backdrops in the Alpine-themed windows are based on real mountains – so see if you can tell your Everest from your Matterhorn. All the products in the windows can also be bought in-store.
The windows in 2016 reflect the store’s new hand-painted Renaissance marbled columns. Yes, they’ve gone all Italian. Expect to see elaborately draped windows with a nod to the stage sets of an Italian opera.
It doesn’t matter what time of day you pass by. They’ve got a luxury white scheme by day, then when it gets dark the special UV lighting will transform the windows.
You should be able to pick out the colours of the Italian flag and Union Jack as well. It’s all in the red, green, white and blue colour scheme.
House of Fraser
Crikey, it’s bright. They’re really lighting up Oxford Street this year with their exterior lighting display.
Looking to find out more out where to buy your Christmas gifts? Here’s our guide to Christmas shopping in London.
The most environmentally friendly festive lights in London were also the first to go up. They’re on the Strand – and aren’t they pretty. The lights along Villiers Street (between Charing Cross Station and Embankment) are particularly impressive: all 100,000 lights are powered by cooking oil from local business like Gordon’s Wine Bar and Champagne Charlies.
“The Spirit of Christmas” is this year’s lights theme for Regent Street – all 300,000 LEDs of them. This was the first street to have festive lights in 1954 and they’ve got loads of Christmas activities taking place in the run up to Christmas. You might see Sugar Plum Fairies and Toy Soldiers wandering about. They’ll be in hand-sewn costumes and be ready to show you around the customised Christmas hub, which will have sorts going on, like specialist wrappers to make your gifts look good and festive food and drink.
Ever wanted to name your own Christmas light? Now you can. On Oxford Street. And the £5 donation goes to the NSPCC who will be using it to help vulnerable children.
One of the most famous Christmas trees in the world, the tree in Trafalgar Square has been an annual gift from Norway since 1947. The tree is a symbol of the help Britain gave to the country during World War II. It’s massive. And it’s chosen years in advance by the foresters near Oslo and then looked after to ensure it’s smart enough for the trip to London. If you’re passing through, you’re more than likely to hear some Christmas carols. Groups apply every year for the chance to sing in front of all the visitors.
Somehow, nearly everyone finds themselves in Covent Garden at Christmas. But be prepared to pucker up this year, their theme is “Meet me under the Mistletoe”. They’ve got 40 chandeliers covered with the green stuff, as well as berries which light up and 100,000 pea lights along the market building. There’s also a grotto and a Christmas Cart for mince pies and mulled wines.
We’ve rounded the best of them up so you can laugh, cry and sing your way to Christmas – West End Christmas shows.
What are your plans for Christmas in London?
Let us know where you’ll be finding some festive fun by leaving a comment below. We’ve already found 50 things to do in the winter in London if you need some inspiration. For all the latest Christmas parties and exhibitions, visit our London this weekend page to find out more. There’s also lots going on across the country, so we’ve put together a round up of Christmas events in the UK if you want to see what the rest of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.