More than one million LED bulbs lit up the sky as the West End in London made history with the world's largest Christmas light switch-on.
Lighting up the streets
From the shopping mecca of Oxford Street, Regent Street and South Molton Street, theluxury boutiques of Bond Street and Mayfair to the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus,culture of St James’s and theatreland of Leicester Square. 20 streets across London’s WestEnd collectively switched on their iconic lights to officially mark the start of the festive seasonin the capital.
Following what has undoubtedly been a challenging 18 months, West End businesses are kickstarting a six-week campaign to shine a light on the exciting and thrilling experiences that canOnly be discovered in the West End. Only in the West End …. This Christmas aims toencourage Londoners and Brits to come together and celebrate the true joy of ‘in real life’festive experiences.
A blaze of colour
From today, Saturday 13 November, visitors can discover the top 50 places to explore,experience, snap and shop that can be found Only in the West End.
From visiting Selfridges Christmas Market on the Mews or shopping at the oldest toy store in the world Hamleys to experiencing a West End Theatre show or iconic, quintessentially English Afternoon Tea at TheRitz London there is so much to see and do only in the West End this Christmas.
Ros Morgan, a spokesperson for London’s West End, said: “Tonight marked a landmarkmoment for London’s West End as 20 iconic streets came together to mark the start ofChristmas.
"Having lost out on Christmas last year, 2021 has to be about getting the chanceto really cherish that joy that you get in the lead up to Christmas and where better to do thisthan the West End.
"Where visitors can experience the very best restaurants and overnight stays, iconic West End theatres shows and shopping like no other, all within walking distance – no other city in the world can offer this kind of experience.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is the greatest city in the world andI’m thrilled that this year the West End is hosting the largest Christmas lights switch-on everseen. From our world-class shops, attractions, arts, and culture to our incredible bars andrestaurants - all of which will be sparkling under more than a million lights – there is somuch to see and do this festive season.
"With just six weeks to go until Christmas, I’m urging Londoners and visitors to enjoy the best our capital has to offer, see the amazing lights and support our hospitality industry to continue to bounce back. My message to Londoners and tourists from all over the UK and the world is, Let’s Do Christmas in London!”
The 20 streets taking part in the switch on November 12 include Baker Street, Bond Street, Bruton Street, Conduit Street, Duke Street, James Street, Jermyn Street, Leicester Square, North Audley Street, Oxford Street, Portman Square, Piccadilly, Piccadilly Circus, Princes Arcade, Regent Street, Savile Row, South Molton Street, St James’s, St James’s Market, St Christopher’s Place plus surrounding streets.
Streets full of colour
In keeping with the West End’s commitment to sustainability, all of this year’s Christmas lightsutilise the latest in LED technology, which provide energy savings of up to 75 per cent againstconventional lighting.
Plus, retailers across the West End have sustainable festive offerings for those looking to shop more sustainably. 60 per cent of products in Selfridges’ Christmas store are sustainably sourced and John Lewis has a ‘Makers Market’ pop-up shop for local artists and makers.
To help visitors discover what is on offer Only in the West End this Christmas, London based illustrator Olivia Brotheridge has created a map of the West End. To view the map and find out more about Only in the West End this Christmas visit the below websites, follow on social and be part of the conversation
Oxford Street www.oxfordstreet.co.uk @oxfordstreetw1
Regent Street www.regentstreetonline.com @regentstreetw1
Bond Street www.bondstreet.co.uk @bondstreet
St James’s www.stjameslondon.co.uk @stjameslondon
Leicester Square www.leicestersquare.london @disoverlsq
Mayfair London www.mayfairldn.com @mayfairldn
The top 50 things to do Only in the West End this Christmas:
1. Find the perfect present at the oldest toy store in the world, Hamleys
2. Snap a selfie at Bond Street’s iconic Christmas Tree
3. Experience the world’s first Bollinger 007 Champagne Bar, in BurlingtonArcade
4. Experience Afternoon Tea at The Ritz London: An iconic,quintessentially English experience
5. Celebrate icons from a century of cinema and entertainment with aninteractive statue trail at Scenes in the Square in London’s home of filmand entertainment, Leicester Square
6. Visit Selfridges Christmas Market on the Mews, expect everything fromsustainably grown Christmas trees, the perfect festive gifts, an impressiveHelter Skelter, performances from Santa and his friends and the capital’sgreatest street food. Visitors can also visit their pre-loved toy pop-up,selling everything from antique teddies to board games, all part of the store’sProject Earth commitment
7. Book yourself in for a personal shopping experience like no other at MatchesFashion in Carlos Place
8. Shop at the iconic heritage listed department store, Liberty London
9. Enjoy a matinee or evening theatre performance on London’s West End
10. Visit Hatchards, the oldest book store in the world
11. Enjoy a magical Christmas tradition for the whole family at the EnglishNational Ballet’s The Nutcracker at The London Coliseum
12. Visit the Princes Arcade to find a beautiful collection of boutiques under oneroof, connecting Piccadilly with the iconic Jermyn Street
13. Get all of your Christmas cards and thank you notes from Mount StreetPrinters
14. Visit Flannels on Oxford Street this season as an incredible line up of artiststransform the stores exterior
15. Visit an exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts including Light Lines:The Architectural Photographs of Hélène Binet at The Royal Academy
16. Pamper yourself with one of the many spa treatments available at Dr BarbaraSturm on Mount Street
17. Find the perfect gift at Burberry’s flagship store on Regent Street
18. Discover seasonal and sustainable award winning food at Fallow, the latestopening in St James’s Market
19. Discover Bottletop on Regent Street, the world’s first zero waste store andfind accessories from the finest sustainably sourced materials
20. Take a trip to the John Lewis Christmas Shop on Oxford Street
21. Celebrate your lost loved ones at the magical Ever After Garden inGrosvenor Square
22. Tech lovers can head to the Microsoft Experience Centre on Regent Street
23. Visit Paxton & Whitfield, Jermyn Street for their legendary tieredChristmas Cheese Cake featuring four classic Christmas artisan cheeses
24. Discover what Tatler called ‘London’s Best steak Restaurant’ at The ColonyGrill Room at The Beaumont
25. Meet your favourite Disney characters at The Disney Store on Oxford Street
26. Discover Bond Street's best kept secret, Boodles Brasserie as it returns totheir store this Christmas
27. Indulge in some sweet treats at The Connaught Patisserie
28. Enjoy a winter favourite at Whitcomb’s at The Londoner, the hotel’sFrench Mediterranean restaurant
29. Step onto Christmas on Oxford and Bond Street this year with the first-everimmersive AR festive trail, look out for QR codes dotted along the street todiscover Festive Magic from this pocket concierge
30. Enjoy light, all day dining with snacks and high tea at the dazzling Palm Court,famed as the birthplace of the afternoon tea tradition at The Langham
31. The first of it’s kind in the UK, visit the new and unique restaurant, AvocadoShow on Princes Street
32. Experience the first fully immersive DC-inspired gastronomic restaurantexperience found anywhere in the world at Park Row
33. Epitomising the sophistication of Afternoon and High Tea in all its splendour,visit the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum & Mason
34. When Two Mayfair Legends Meet, Magic Happens, discover Brown’sHotel’s festive collaboration with Asprey
35. Dine at The Wolseley on London’s iconic Piccadilly
36. Get ready for the festive season at The Dyson Beauty Lab
37. Take the family to the Peter Rabbit Afternoon Tea at The Dilly
38. Book a wreath making workshop at McQueens Flowers
39. Book in for a cocktail at No. 39, the new secret bar hidden inside BrownsBrook Street
40. Visit Claridge’s famous Christmas tree and enjoy a Festive Afternoon Tea
41. Discover Mayfair’s latest restaurant and enjoy incredible Indian cuisine atBiBi
42. Visit the David Bowie experiential pop up on Heddon Street in honour ofthe musician’s 75th birthday
43. Enjoy an evening of Jazz, every night through December at Mercato Mayfair
44. Discover unique and luxurious coffee books & cocktails at MaisonAssouline, a hidden bar on Piccadilly
45. Discover a hidden sanctuary housing a 18m pool, sauna, hammam, jacuzzi,gym, studios and lounge bar at Akasha
46. Immerse yourself in the Ralph Lauren lifestyle, with a coffee break at Ralph’s,the flagship's cafe at No1, New Bond Street
47. Visit an exhibition at The National Gallery
48. Book yourself in for a Christmas burlesque dance class at Danceworks
49. Enjoy Sonic Bloom, the latest art installation by Yuri Suzuki in Brown HartGardens
50. Visit Lush to experience their Personalisation Station and customise productsfrom their most popular Snow Fairy range and choose from a selection ofreusable knot wraps designs to complete the perfect gift