Each winter, the UK capital glows with an aurora of twinkling lights strung between its Victorian façades and ornate Baroque monuments. Heralding the coming of Christmas, these displays light up London’s cobbled alleys and broad boulevards, bathing the capital in contagious Christmas cheer.
Each of our London hotels enjoys easy walking proximity to these displays and presents its own sparkling festive flourishes: The Egerton House Hotel, for example, has been transformed into a festive Victorian sweetshop, complete with garlanded entranceway arcade and appropriately themed sweets. Meanwhile, guests at The Chesterfield Mayfair can enjoy a faithfully reconstructed gingerbread house model of the hotel, complete with fondant recreations of its signature red awnings and terraced house setting. Here we explore the loveliest Christmas displays near our London hotels.
On the ice in Kensington and Chelsea
The Christmas displays of London’s Royal Borough are often overlooked in favour of the extravagant constellations on Oxford Street. However, these lesser-known light shows have an elegant charm that’s uniquely intimate and charming.
Near The Milestone Hotel & Residences is the light-strewn courtyard of the Natural History Museum. Each winter, its surrounding ancient sycamores are festooned with fairy lights, transforming the space into a glittering grove. This glow frames the museum’s seasonal arctic-blue ice rink, which rings with Christmas carols late into the evening. At the centre of the scene stands a towering spruce, boughs shaking with the to-and-fro of excited skaters-by.
Further south, between The Egerton House Hotel and The Rubens at the Palace, are the displays along the King’s Road. The atelier-lined shopping street is punctuated with bright Christmas window displays, with miniature spruces sparkling upon the street’s gilded Victorian lampposts. The crescendo this year is Sloane Square, bedecked in royal Christmas regalia, recalling the road’s origin as King Charles II’s personal inter-palace promenade.
At the North Pole in Kew
In west London, the festive forests of Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens come alive with the fairy-tale glow of its seasonal North Pole trail. As guests traverse its twilight paths, light-laced trees and glowing ribbon-wrapped vines mingle with the moon-tinselled needles of the garden’s conifers. At the centre, Kew’s historic Temperate House is illuminated with mesmeric projections of the Aurora Borealis.
Under the tree at Harrods
A stone’s throw from The Egerton House Hotel, iconic department store Harrods unveils its elaborate winter displays each November. Over Christmas, the opulent retail emporium is resplendent with luscious boughs, glowing fairy lights and, of course, towering Christmas trees above each entrance. The main attraction, however, is the series of Edward Hopper-esque window displays that narrate the joys of Christmas to captivated onlookers. This year’s theme is the Kingdom of Christmas, featuring snowy animal helpers delivering coveted gifts.
With the angels in Regent Street and St. James’s
Just a leisurely stroll from The Chesterfield Mayfair, London’s largest Christmas lights display runs down Regent Street and St. James’s. Here, a swarm of yellow and blue lights collide to form massive angelic spirits that soar gracefully above the boutiques below. The scene resembles a serene apotheosis and adds an air of magic to even the most hurried shopping excursion.
Under the sea at Carnaby Street
London’s most celebrated Christmas displays are on Carnaby Street, and this year, its carnival of decorations receive an on-trend twist. Championing sustainability, the street has partnered with Project ZERO to create a surrealist sea-themed spectacle crafted exclusively from reusable, recycled and repurposed materials.
Experience London’s seasonal cheer at any one of Red Carnation Hotels’ six central properties, each wearing fabulous festive décor of their own.