On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… a London lit up by Christmas lights!
Or rather, the lovely Katie from Look Up London took me along on one of her gorgeous Christmas Lights Tours, and she let me bring my camera. So we took a delightful spin through some of London’s prettiest – and most prettily-decorated – shopping streets.
And here at Totally Tailored we know our swagged electrified baubles from our neon santas. So join us as we sort the best London Christmas lights from the rest…
THE BEST CLASSIC CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: OXFORD STREET
Oxford Street (named after the Earl of Oxford, don’t-you-know) has a constellation of baubles hanging high over the traffic. And for an added bonus, the trees are hung with fairy lights, and low-hanging lights shaped like icicles, which ‘melt’ as you walk by. It all makes for a really pretty street scene as you’re doing your shopping.
Christmas shopping should always be sparkly. And speaking of sparkles…
BEST DEPARTMENT STORE WINDOWS: SELFRIDGES
Where: 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB
We stopped opposite the legendary Selfridges & Co., a department store founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge to make shopping more democratic, and more fun.
And he was the king of an eye-catching store display. In 1909 he promoted his brand-new store by displaying the first plane to fly the channel on the shop floor.
The store’s window displays are always really eye-catching, since they’re still inspired by the flair of Mr Selfridge for the ‘theatre of retail’. This year it’s fun twists on classic British culture, from pearly king Santas to a bouncing animatronic robin…
BEST FOR RESTRAINED ELEGANCE: NEW BOND STREET
New Bond Street
Modern London now has many centres of luxury shopping, but this one is the original. And fittingly, the lights swagged across New Bond Street take the shape of peacock feathers, a classic symbol of luxury. This is where the high-end boutiques and ateliers are clustered, and their lights have to make a statement without looking tacky, or distracting from what’s below.
These beautiful Christmas lights let you know that everything beneath is reassuringly expensive.
BEST DRESSED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: REGENT STREET
These Christmas lights are showstoppers: angels spread out over London’s most famous boulevard, a curve which links Oxford Street to Piccadilly Circus. It’s a great street to shop on, or just wander down. For an unforgettable experience, with thousands of lights swagged over your head, it’s pretty much unbeatable.
And Regent Street is home to the famous Hamley’s Toy Shop, which leads us to our next choice:
Best Christmas Lights for Kids: Carnaby Street
Unlike the refined traditional shopping streets like Jermyn Street and Savile Row, Carnaby Street has always been about the newest, hottest trends.
BUT FOR 2017 IT’S HEAVEN FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART – AND ANYONE MISSING THE SUN – THE THEME FOR THESE SOHO LIGHTS IS ‘CHRISTMAS CARNIVAL’.
The network of streets around south-west Soho are all decorated with these beautiful high-flying parrots and sequinned canopies, with neon palm trees decorating the buildings.
Together, they express Carnaby Street’s enthusiasm for colour, pattern, and fun, which has been in full swing since the Swinging ‘60s. And they’re going to bring a smile to the face of everyone, but especially the kids who are experiencing their first Christmas in London!
It was also a wonderful way to end a Christmas lights tour! Katie led us through history, and London’s shopping streets, and even made time for a stop in a lovely hidden pub.
Katie’s Instagram feed @look_uplondon is full of fabulous hidden low-angle shots of London, check it out for year-round insights into our city.
But hang on, are you following us too? Keep up with all the fun festive things we’re showing our guests @totallytailored .
WISHING YOU A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS FROM Totally Tailored!
Why not try a Personal Shopping Tour with your very own expert guide? We can help you navigate Central London’s glistening department stores, and lead you off the beaten track to find the hidden quirky shopping destinations too.