The big switch-on: Christmas lights in London 2019

Natasha Afxentiou

8 November 2019

London is set to bask in the glow of Christmas. Expect carol singing, mince pies and plenty Yuletide cheer as switch-on parties pop-up across the capital

8 November 2019 | Natasha Afxentiou

Coal Drops Yard, King's Cross

Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross is poised to transform into a twinkling winter forest on Wednesday 13 November. This year, shoppers will be encouraged to perform their own rendition of a festive hit in a quick-fire karaoke experience, in order to win the chance to switch on the Christmas lights. Entertainment will also be provided in abundance with carol singing by London Gay Men’s Chorus, and House Gospel Choir, followed by live DJs until late. The evening also kicks off a calendar of festive workshops including piñata making and wrapping paper printing. Each workshop requires a minimum £10 donation to homeless charity, Shelter, who's Boutique by Shelter charity shop is nestled in Coal Drops Yard.

Date: 13th November 2019 Time: From 5:30pm  Location: Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross Closest Station: Kings Cross 

Mount Street, Mayfair

Mount Street in Mayfair has previously commissioned Tracey Emin, Sir Anthony Gormley and Damien Hirst to design its alternative Christmas tree, which stands in front of The Connaught hotel. This year, the prestigious shopping row is hosting its annual festive street party on Thursday 28 November, when this year’s resplendent display will be unveiled. Mount Street boutiques, including Christian Louboutin, Stephen Webster, Celine and Erdem, will be spoiling shoppers with champagne, mince pies and mulled wine throughout the evening.

The Connaught Christmas tree 2018

Date: 28th November 2019 Time: From 5:30pm, Lighting ceremony at 6:30pm Location: Mount Street, Mayfair Closest Station: Bond Street 

Regent Street, West End

Regent Street lays claim to London’s largest light installation, which will be switched on during a merriment-filled extravaganza on Thursday 14 November. Amanda Holden and Jamie Theakston will host an evening of live performances from The Script, the cast of A Christmas Carol and Maisie Peters, while shoppers can enjoy special offers and complimentary treats from 4-9pm.  

Date: 14th November 2019 Time: 5:00-6:30pm Location: Regent Street Closest Station: Oxford Circus 

St James's, Piccadilly Circus 

A canopy of twinkling angels will light up Jermyn Street and St James’s Market from Thursday 14 November. From 5pm onwards, Jermyn Street will be completely pedestrianised to make way for festive entertainment and warming street food, while shops including Aesop and Sunspel are marking the occasion with special discounts in in-store activations. 

Date: 14th November 2019 Time: 5-9pm Location: St James Closest Station: Piccadilly Circus 

Sloane Square and Duke of York Square, Chelsea 

The Royal Borough is celebrating Christmas with a family-friendly afternoon of Yuletide merriment on Saturday 23 November, with carol singers and an immersive Christmas grotto. Kicking off at 2pm, festivities span Sloane Square, Sloane Street, Duke of York Square, Pavilion Road and the King’s Road, with a special appearance from Santa at 5pm to switch on the Christmas lights. For the first time, a new display will light up the King's Road inspired by the crown of King Charles II, for whom the road was originally built.

Date: 23rd November 2019 Time: From 2pm, light switch-on at 5pm at Sloane Square Location: Event runs across Sloane Square, Duke of York Square, Sloane Street, Pavilion Road and the King’s Road with switch-on at Sloane Square Closest Station: Sloane Square 

The Royal Exchange, The City of London

This year Joanne Froggatt, star of Downton Abbey, will switch on the Christmas lights at The Royal Exchange by Bank. Marvel at the mighty Fortnum & Mason evergreen tree, while enjoying a spread of mince pies, mulled wine and hot chocolate throughout the evening, as well as carols performed by the East London Chorus. There will seasonal offers at shops including Aspinal of London, Bremont, Boodles, Church's and London's only Halcyon Days boutique.

Date: 20th November 2019 Time: From 5:30pm Location: The Royal Exchange Closest Station: Bank

Carnaby Street, Soho

Carnaby Street's lively light display has an eco-conscious twist this year. The underwater-themed display has been created in collaboration with Project Zero, an ocean conservation charity, with the pivotal message, ‘One Ocean One Planet’ written on the Carnaby Street arch. Each element featured in the display has been made using water-based, eco-friendly vegan paint and reusable, repurposed, or recycled materials which will be re-used again by Project Zero once the installation has been removed. 

Carnaby Street Winter Lights 2019

Date: From 7th November 2019 onwards Location: Carnaby Street Closest Station: Oxford Circus 

Covent Garden

Covent Garden will be illuminated with more than 115,000 lights from Tuesday 12 November, including the piazza’s theatrical mistletoe chandeliers and a towering British-grown Christmas tree wrapped with 30,000 lights. Festivities will spill into Floral Court and the adjoining streets, with carol singers, roasted chestnuts and shopping surprises. An ice-skating rink, sponsored by Tiffany & Co., will follow on the 28 November.

Date: Christmas lights switch-on 12th November 2019 Time: From 5:30pm Location: The Piazza, Covent Garden Closest Station: Covent Garden 

Marylebone Village 

This year, on 13th November, Kaiser Chiefs lead singer Ricky Wilson will be leading the Marylebone Village Christmas lights switch-on at 6pm on Marylebone High Street. This festive evening in Marylebone will include live music, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, and food and drink for attendees of all ages to enjoy. The tombola which will be available throughout the event will also be raising funds for Teenage Cancer Trust. 

Date: 13th November 2019 Time: 6pm Location: Marylebone High Street Closest Station: Baker Street 

The Shard 

It is commonly believed that children are the true spirit of Christmas, making local Bermondsey schoolchildren the perfect choice of designers who are behind the designs being projected at the top of the Shard as part of their festive Light Show this year. The unique, vibrant LED lighting installation using cable the length of 956 London double decker buses will glow across the top 20 storeys of the Shard, making the display the highest light show in Western Europe. Every half an hour from 4pm to 1am, three nine-minute sequences featuring the schoolchildren’s heart-warming designs will be projected atop the Shard to illuminate the otherwise dull night skies of the capital. The make the launch of the Light Show extra special, the young designers were present for the first switch-on. 

Date: From 9 December 2019 Location: The Shard, 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG Closest Station: London Bridge 

Baker Street Quarter, Marylebone 

Marylebone’s Baker Street Quarter is aglow this Christmas with four brand new light installations. As well as illuminating Baker Street Quarter, the installations also tell the stories of infamous figures and places associated with the Quarter, including the notable Sherlock Holmes. Inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, glowig geese are perched on lamp columns situated on the corners of the Baker Street and Marylebone Road Junction, where the missing blue jewels can also be discovered. Decorative displays can be seen at Portman Square Garden, Manchester Square Garden, 55 Baker Street and the Baker Street/Marylebone Junction; for an opportunity to explore them in all their glory, a free Christmas lights discovery walk will take place at 6pm on 4 December, starting at 55 Baker Street. 

Date: From 21 November Location: Baker Street Quarter, Marylebone Closest Station: Baker Street