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.
Carnaby Christmas lights 2019 - 7 November
It's getting fishy down in Carnaby this year, as the Christmas lights take on an ocean theme. The sealife illuminations and decor — including a 5m whale which blows bubbles — are in aid of ocean conservation charity Project 0. The big switch-on event is Thursday 7 November, with special events and discounts in the local shops that night — full details here.
Savile Row Christmas lights 2019 - 7 November
For the first time, Savile Row is having Christmas lights this year, with a launch event on 7 November. Model David Gandy does the honours, with live music, late night shopping and food and drink offerings forming part of the event. Find out more about the event and book your ticket.
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:
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.
Coal Drops Yard Christmas lights - 13 November
New King's Cross neighbourhood Coal Drops Yard transforms into a winter forest, lit by an imitation of the Northern Lights. They're switched on at a hip, free event featuring live DJs, performances by the London Gay Men's Chorus, food and drink and more. Lights switched on at 7.15pm.
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.
Seven Dials Christmas lights 2019 - 14 November
Seven Dials 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. Thursday 14 November 2019 is the date to put in your diary, and the area goes traffic-free for a star-themed evening, with free activities both inside and outside.
Kingston Christmas lights 2019 - 14 November
The Kingston Christmas lights are switched on and the town's Christmas market opens on Thursday 14 November. The illuminating ceremony happens at 6pm, but before that, there are kids' storytelling and craft sessions (book here), and a special service at All Saints Church. Stick around afterwards to be one of the first to browse the traditional wooden chalets at this year's Christmas market.
St James's Christmas lights 2019 - 14 November
St James’s celebrates the festive season with a late night shopping evening coinciding with the switch-on. the Spirit Of Christmas light installation is back this year, and Jermyn Street is pedestrianised from 5pm on the night, with entertainment including stilt walkers, illuminated ballerinas and live music.
Leadenhall Market Christmas lights 2019 - 15 November
Thousands of lights and a central Christmas tree are switched on in Leadenhall Market by the Lord Mayor of London. Choirs and other live entertainment kickstart Christmas in the historic market — look out for a visit by Harry Potter and friends in December.
Royal Exchange Christmas lights 2019 - 20 November
The Royal Exchange’s annual tree lighting ceremony takes place on Wednesday 20 November with a special guest celebrity (TBA) doing the honours. Fortnum & Mason decorate the 25ft tree with sparkling ornaments. Local residents and visitors are invited to the ceremony, with hot chocolate, mulled wine and warm mince pies from Fortnum & Mason accompanied by carolling from the East London Chorus.
Greenwich Market Christmas lights 2019 - 20 November
Christmas in Greenwich begins at the Old Royal Naval College, the start of a lantern parade through the town. Children from five local schools showcase their lanterns on a route through Cutty Sark Gardens and into Greenwich Market, where the lights are switched on.
Oxford Street Christmas lights 2019 - 21 November
The Oxford Street Christmas lights are switched on a bit later this year, but when they do arrive, they'll be shiny new lights for 2019.
Gone are the twinkly baubles, replaced with new, energy efficient LED screens — 27 of them to be precise, hanging the length of the shopping thoroughfare.
We were expecting new Christmas lights for Oxford Street for Christmas 2018, but they were cancelled due to the Crossrail delay. At least the powers that be didn't wait until Crossrail finally opens before unveiling these new lights.
St Katharine Docks Christmas lights 2019 - 21 November
Head to marina St Katharine Docks for a waterside Christmas lights ceremony. Santa arrives by speedboat to do the honours, followed by carols sung by the City Chamber Choir and the Children's Choir from St Peter's in Wapping. Enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and hot chocolate as the festivities unfold around you.
Chelsea Christmas lights 2019 (King's Road and Sloane Square) - 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.
Chrisp Street Market Christmas lights 2019, Poplar - 29 November
Poplar's Chrisp Street Market holds a special Chrispmas Winter Wonderland event on Friday 29 November, when the Christmas lights are switched on. Family-friendly events are going on all afternoon, with Father and Mama Christmas pressing the lights button at 6pm.
Northbank/Strand Christmas lights 2019 - 2 December
For the uninitiated, Northbank is the new and highly corporate name for the area around Strand. So if it's Strand's Christmas lights you're after, know that they'll be switched on from 2 December — although there's not normally a big event or much fanfare around this one.
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.
East Village, Stratford Christmas lights 2019
If you're going to switch your lights on the same day as the Trafalgar Square tree, you're going to need to wheel out the big guns to get the crowds in. Enter East 17, the boyband mainly remember for Christmas single Stay Another Day. They perform the hit song at the switch-on event in Stratford's East Village, with other local musicians on the bill. The lights go on at 7pm, but there's plenty of other family-friendly entertainment throughout the evening.
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.