Nothing signifies the approach of Christmas more than the glow of seasonal street lights. Here's our guide to when London's 2019 festive lights are switched on (and the accompanying parties) in some of the capital's biggest shopping destinations including Oxford Street, Regent Street, Marylebone and Carnaby. We'll be updating this article in the run-up to Christmas, so keep checking back closer to the festive season as more details are announced — and keep an eye on our Christmas in London page for more festive fun.
Covent Garden Christmas lights 2019 - 12 November
Head to the world-famous Piazza on Tuesday 12 November to see thousands of glistening lights being illuminated in Covent Garden. The huge Christmas tree is back again, and details of this year's VIP guest have yet to be revealed. Keep an eye here for updates.
Here's the 2017 switch-on, for an idea of what to expect:
Regent Street Christmas lights 2019 - 14 November
The 2019 Regent Street Christmas light switch-on takes place on Thursday 14 November. Full details have yet to be announced, but the street goes traffic-free for the evening, with events going on in nearby shops. Keep an eye on this page for details of performers and hosts when they are announced.
Trafalgar Square Christmas tree 2019 - 5 December
The Mayor of Westminster, Norwegian Ambassador and governing Mayor of Oslo usually switch on the lights on the Trafalgar Square tree on the first Thursday in December (that's 5 December this year). The tree is a gift from Norway every year — more information about the lighting ceremony here.
Oxford Street Christmas lights 2019
The Oxford Street Christmas lights are usually London's first to be switched on — it was Tuesday 6 November 2018, with 2019 details TBC. The event usually has in-store gigs and pop-up performances taking place on the night plus shopping and dining special offers.
We were expecting new Christmas lights for Oxford Street for Christmas 2018, but that was to tie in with Crossrail. Seeing as though we're not yet riding the #PurpleTrain under London's streets, the decision was made to delay the new lights as well, but a touch of purple was added to the illuminations for 2018. It's not yet known whether new lights will be installed for Christmas 2019... keep checking back for updates.
Carnaby Christmas lights 2019
Carnaby Christmas usually has special events and discounts in the local shops, bars and restaurants, as well as the all-important switch-on. The lyrics to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody were illuminated above the area for Christmas 2018, with the switch-on on Thursday 8 November — 2019 details TBC.
King's Road and Sloane Square, Chelsea Christmas lights 2019 - 23 November
Chelsea's in for a treat this year, as a new Christmas light scheme is due to be unveiled. New 'gateway' displays are unveiled on King's Road, consisting of decorative lights inspired by the crown of King Charles II, for whom the road was originally built as a private route to travel between palaces.
The switch-on is celebrated on Saturday 23 November, with carol singers, performers and other free festive entertainment around the area from 2pm. At 5pm, Santa makes an appearance to switch on the lights of Duke of York Square, Pavilion Road, Sloane Street, and King’s Road, aided by a local child in need of a Christmas treat.
Brunswick Centre Christmas lights 2019
The Brunswick Centre near Russell Square usually hosts a Christmas party evening, when the lights are switched on, along with live music from West End performers and gospel choirs, plus stilt walkers and other entertainment. It was Wednesday 7 November 2018 — 2019 details TBC.
Marylebone Village Christmas lights 2019: 13 November
There's a full afternoon of events before this Christmas lights switch on gets underway, with stage performances, activities to take part in and plenty of places to shop and drink. It takes place on Wednesday 13 November 2019 — full details on the Marylebone Village website.
Northbank Christmas lights 2019
The Northbank BID lights above Strand were switched on from 14 November 2018 — details for 2019 TBC.
Seven Dials Christmas lights 2019
Seven Dials usually combines the switching-on the light installation with a Christmas shopping event, offering discounts, special offers and events in the shops, bars and restaurants around the area. It was 15 November 2018 — 2019 details TBC.
Elizabeth Street, Belgravia Christmas lights 2019
Belgravia's Elizabeth Street lights are usually switched by local celebrities, with stores in the area open late for shopping, prosecco and mince pies. It was Thursday 15 November 2018 — stay tuned for 2019 details.
Kingston Christmas lights 2019
The Kingston Christmas lights were switched on and the town's Christmas market opened on 15 November 2018 — 2019 details coming soon.
Connaught Village Christmas lights 2019
In 2018, the lights were switched on on Thursday 15 November. 2019 details TBC.
Royal Exchange Christmas lights 2019
Wednesday 21 November was the date that the lights on the 25ft high Christmas tree outside the Royal Exchange at Bank were switched on in 2018 — keep an eye out for 2019 details.
St Katharine Docks Christmas lights 2019
Father Christmas arrived by speedboat to launch the festivities at St Katharine Dock on 22 November 2018, with a full carol concert, mulled wine, mince pies and hot chocolate. 2019 details TBC.
The Shard Christmas lights 2019
The top 20 floors of The Shard are usually illuminated throughout December. There's no specific switching on ceremony, but eyes to the skies throughout December to see the 30 minute show in action.