Let me set the scene for you: you have absolutely no idea what day it is, you haven’t left the house in almost a week, you’re gradually morphing into a Quality Street, and you’re considering a new career in property because you managed to put three houses on Mayfair during a game of Monopoly last night. That’s right folks, it’s the crimbo limbo.
Now, as much as I whole-heartedly support hibernating in pajamas until the new year; we all know that getting some fresh air and getting some steps in is good for us. And what better way to do both of those things than with a festive walking tour of our lovely capital city? Christmas may be over but London is still glowing, glistening and giving out some well-needed end-of-year cheer. So, we’ve mapped out the ultimate festive walking tour of London to help you dash your way around the best and the brightest Christmas lights in the city before they’re taken down. You can thank us later…
Start your walking tour at London’s most Christmassy pub
Your journey will begin at the iconic Churchill Arms in Kensington. Here you can admire the magically festive display that adorns its entire exterior (which features a whopping 80 Christmas trees, FYI), and grab a glass of liquid courage to help you brave the cold.
Make your way to Kensington High Street and down Gloucester Road, until you reach Da Mario
This beloved, family-owned spot is actually Princess Diana‘s old local Italian restaurant, and is always vibrantly lit-up for the festive season.
Continue through South Kensington and past the Natural History Museum
Although the museum is sadly no longer home to one of London’s best ice rinks; it’s still well worth a mention. As far as I’m concerned, if one gets the opportunity to gawp at the Natural History Museum; one should always take that opportunity.
Continue all the way up Brompton Road until you reach Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason’s annual advent calendar and Christmas window display truly never disappoints.
Head to Mayfair via New Bond Street
Here’s where you can marvel at London’s most impressive Christmas shopfronts courtesy of Cartier, Chanel and Dior (just to name a few). Oh, and don’t miss this opportunity to do some well-deserved window shopping. Or real shopping. No judgment here.
Take a quick detour to Annabel’s
This much-loved spot on Berkeley Square unveils a sensational new design every year. This year’s uplifting display features an impressive hot air balloon that stretches over and beyond the building’s three floors. Well worth a little detour, in my humble opinion.
From there, head up to Regent Street
It’s an oldie but a goodie. Who can resist the annual event of trying to awkwardly position yourself in front of the camera to make it look like you have angel wings? Our videographer, Phoebe, certainly couldn’t, that’s for sure…
And then on to Oxford Street
Another Christmas-in-London stalwart; the Oxford Street stars are as synonymous with London as angry commuters and big red buses. Be warned, though: Oxford Street during the post-Christmas sales is not for the faint-hearted.
One street over (past Liberty’s, if you can resist popping in) is Carnaby Street
The Carnaby Street lights are always a personal favourite of mine and this year they’re – quite literally – out of this world. There’s a plethora of pubs, restaurants and coffee shops for a mid-walk pit-stop here so you can gaze at the lights whilst refueling and rehydrating for the remainder of the festive walk. What more could you ask for?
Make your way through Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square
Top tip: make your way through both of these as quickly as possible because you do not want to get caught up in the rush and chaos here. Trust us.
Now on to the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree…
Each year, the lovely people of Norway donate a tree to London as a thank-you for helping them out in World War II, and have done since 1947, which is rather nice of them. Each year, Londoners love to poke fun at said tree with phrases like “world’s tallest cucumber” often bandied about. But look, lots of effort is required to bring the tree to Trafalgar Square and get it lit, so it’s well worth a visit if you’re in town.
From there, take a wander across the river (and revel in the gorgeous view of the city) to the Southbank
Here you can reward your high step count with a cup of something warm and cosy, and some delicious street food too.
So, there you have it – our ultimate festive walking tour of London’s Christmas lights. We know, we know: so many lights, so little time – but we hope this helps. Most of the city’s lights and displays will be shining until next weekend (January 6-7), so make the most of them while you can, as soon enough they’ll be gone for another year!