You’ve got to give Carnaby Street credit: they always find ways to up their Christmas lights game. Having delivered these impressive Bohemian Rhapsody lights in 2018, they went ahead and topped it in 2019 with a vivid Christmas lights display made from recycled materials that celebrated the world’s oceans. In 2020, the Carnaby Christmas lights spread a message of solidarity, hope and connection — all things that were much needed last year — that shone bright above Soho for the winter. Then in 2021 a kaleidoscope of butterflies burst onto Carnaby’s streets and sky with a heart-warming message of spiritual rebirth, transformation, change, hope, and life.
Fast forward to 2022, and yet another spectacular lights display is now illuminating the night! Taking a look back to the past, the installation – which will light up each night through the festive season – celebrates the street’s history of iconic Christmas displays. On the day of the lights turning on, the street were overtaken by celebration as includes over 100 shops, bars and restaurants participated in an all-out shopping and dining party. Live music, in-store events, and cheeky discounts saw the area bustling with activity.
The Christmas lights find Carnaby once again collaborating with the Choose Love charity, who work tirelessly to raise funds and much-needed amenities for refugees and displaced people across the globe. They also run a charity pop-up shop in Carnaby each year, selling limited edition products and refugee gifting packages. And there always seems to be a celebrity guest behind the counter, serving Carnaby’s shoppers.
This year’s theme
As Carnaby looks all the way back to 1997, when shoppers were first enchanted by the street’s lights, the Christmas lights theme is ‘Carnaby Celebrates‘. The street and surrounding areas have been lined with historic installations across 14 different themes that bring back iconic moments from Carnaby’s past. We’re talking neon lyrics from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, glittering Rolling Stones tongues, a giant snowman, colourful palm trees from Carnaby Carnival, and underwater scenes from the fan favourite Under The Sea. Above it all is silver shimmer discs covering the Carnaby arches, embellished with carnival decorations, and an eye-catching globe to show that ‘Carnaby Welcomes The World’.
The installations will light up Carnaby Street, Foubert’s Place, Ganton Street, and Newburgh Street each evening, providing shoppers a chance to stroll down history. The official party for the lights turning on may have passed, but you’ll still definitely want to check out the incredible display. Head on down and see if they’ve brought back your favourite display from years past!
Also published on Medium.