The city looks amazing when all lit up and one of my favourite things is to take a wander around town. London takes on a very magical appearance at Christmas time. As twilight falls, the streets come alive with a host of twinkling lights. Exploring and photographing the different displays makes for a fantastic evening experience. In my view, the best time to do it is during the blue hour. Just a half an hour after the sunset. A tripod could be very helpful. Below are my 3 favourite spots for photographing Christmas lights in London. The photos in this post are of the 2017 and 2018 Christmas lights. Displays change every year.
1. Oxford Street
Probably the most famous in the capital, the Oxford Street lights never fail to impress eager shoppers. Every year they are usually in collaboration with a movie or a charity. The Oxford Street lights are usually the first to switch on in London in the first half of November. It is accompanied by special entertainment, in-store promotions, and performances. The big switch-on ceremony attracts about 1 million people.
2. Carnaby Street
Carnaby Christmas lights illuminate one of the most fashionable areas of London. Every year, a new theme is chosen, for example, Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018 in collaboration with 20th Century Fox in celebration of the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie. London’s Carnaby Street was transformed into a Bohemian Rhapsody tribute as lyrics from the song were lit up in the historical Soho spot.
Covent Garden’s cobbled Piazza and market buildings are even more irresistible at this time of year. Usually, Covent Garden’s central market is decked with over hundreds of garland as well as hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights – in separate arrangements.
Other notable London Christmas lights
Among the other city centre locations with stunning Christmas lights are the Strand, Marylebone High Street, Seven Dials, Bond Street and Sloane Square.
Explore the magical display of illuminations by yourself or join me on Christmas Lights Photography Tour. London sparkles with amazing decorative lights and I will show you how to get the best shots during a fully instructional night photography tour of London’s finest Christmas Decorations. My tours are one-to-one workshops and you will have all my support and feedback.
You will learn
Composition and Framing
How to focus at night
Long exposure photography
What lens and focal length to use
Capture the atmosphere of Christmas in London