It’s not truly Christmas until the London landmarks start lighting up for the festive season, and happily we’ve got confirmation that one of the most famous spots in town will undergo a wintery makeover very soon. The Covent Garden Christmas lights will be shining from Tuesday, November 9, kicking off a very merry Christmas in the famed piazza. A dazzling array of lights will be plugged in and powered up, and as you can probably imagine, it’s going to look utterly magical.
Central to the Covent Garden Christmas lights is London’s biggest hand-picked Christmas tree, which tops out at a whopping 55 feet tall. They don’t just pick any old tree, either – the Covent Garden Christmas tree comes from the same farm that the Royal Family get their trees from, and to make the process as sustainable as possible, three trees are planted for every tree cut down. At the end of the festive season, Covent Garden’s tree will be recycled to make woodchips.
That humungous tree will be festooned with 30,000 lights and giant baubles – a task which requires a team of 60 workers to put in 300 hours of work and use a cherry-picker for the upper branches. It towers over the Royal Opera House Arcade as well as the stunning Maison de Fleurs festive floral archway that will mark the entrance to the Apple Market, home to British crafts and Christmas gifts. In total, 115,000 lights will dazzle visitors to Covent Garden, and elsewhere in the plaza, those lovely giant mistletoe chandeliers are coming back for another year, along with giant mirror balls in the Market Building.
Meanwhile, the giant outdoor dining hub that popped up over the summer is sticking around for the winter, with 1000 seats available for festive dining. You can expect plenty of shopping and dining events to compliment all the festivities here, including a series of Christmas markets where you’ll surely find the ideal gift. Finally, there’s an exciting returnee from last year – trusty weather forecasts inform us that it’ll be snowing every hour between midday – 7pm at this exact location throughout the festive period. A Christmas miracle, sure, but no less than we’ve come to expect from the magical London piazza.
Moreover, Covent Garden is continuing it’s longstanding partnership with Disney to give us some Frozen themed fun, to coincide with the launch of the musical based on the family-favourite. Expect instrumental renditions of Let It Go, during the snowfalls, as well as Frozen sculptures installed (November 13) for visitors to take festive snaps with.
And of course, since it is Christmas, you’ll find pop-up events such as the mulled wine festival (December 10-24) and Christmas Sandwich festival (December 10-24) scattered around the piazza for you to soak up festivity in the correct way… which, let’s be honest, we all know is getting tipsy on warm alcohol and stuffing ourselves with hearty scran.
The switch-on night was quietly dropped last winter to discourage crowds gathering, but on November 9, festive revellers will once again flock to Covent Garden to celebrate the illumination extravaganza. After a tough winter last year, the Christmas cheer is undeniably back in 2021, and with Covent Garden about to boast more festive decorations than you can shake a candy cane at, it’s definitely one to catch!
For extra information about Covent Garden’s Christmas bonanza, head to their website.
Also published on Medium.