It’s not truly Christmas until London’s landmarks start lighting up for the festive season, and happily one of the most famous spots in town has now undergone a full-on wintry makeover. The Covent Garden Christmas lights were turned on last night (November 7) in a starry affair, kicking off a very merry Christmas in the famed piazza. A brand new (and absolutely dazzling) array of lights has been plugged in and powered up, and it looks utterly magical.
The switch-on event saw guests of honour, Jamie Laing and Sophie Habboo, flanking Nicole Scherzinger as she led the count-down before pushing the button to illuminate the display. Visitors to the Covent Garden switch-on were also treated to performances from the West End cast of SIX the Musical and London’s International Gospel Choir.
Central to the Covent Garden Christmas lights is London’s biggest hand-picked Christmas tree, which stands at a whopping 60 feet tall. That humungous tree has been festooned with 30,000 lights and giant baubles – a task that required a team of 60 workers to put in 300 hours of work and use a cherry-picker for the upper branches.
In total, 140,000 lights will now dazzle visitors to Covent Garden, an upgrade from last year’s comparatively paltry 115,000. And brand new for 2023, 40 gigantic bells with bows, as well as 12 giant baubles and eight spinning mirror balls, hang in the listed Market Building. Together, it amounts to over 29 miles of gold leaf and 275 kilos of glitter – all created by a team of 70 talented people over a period of 18 months.
Christmassy events at Covent Garden
And of course, since it is Christmas, you’ll find pop-up events taking place at Covent Garden all throughout the season. Think surprise performances, daily snowfall, and food and drink festivals – including the much-loved Mulled Wine Festival. Head to the Covent Garden website to see the full roster of events throughout the holiday season.
Meanwhile, the giant outdoor dining hub will stick around, with tonnes of weatherproof seats available for festive dining. You can expect plenty of shopping and dining events to complement all the festivities here, including a series of Christmas markets where you’ll surely find the ideal gift.
Plus, there looks to be an exciting returnee from last year. Trusty weather forecasts inform us that it’ll be snowing again at Covent Garden throughout the festive period, though the start date is to be confirmed. A Christmas miracle, sure, but no less than we’ve come to expect from the magical London piazza.
The Christmas cheer is, as ever, back for 2023, with Covent Garden boasting more festive decorations than you can shake a candy cane at. It’s definitely not one to miss!
For extra information about Covent Garden’s Christmas bonanza, head to their website.
Also published on Medium.