London has kicked off its Christmas festivities with the world’s largest light switch-on in a co-ordinated event which saw tourist hotspots illuminated all at once.
The capital’s most well-known thoroughfares including Mayfair, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square have been decked with over one million LED lights ahead of Christmas.
Shoppers buying their loved ones gifts from Oxford Street and Regent Street are also able to see the lights from Friday.
A total of 20 streets across the city’s West End all had their lights switched on at the same time by the Lord Mayor of Westminster to mark the beginning of the festive season.
London has kicked off its Christmas festivities with the world’s largest light switch-on. Pictured: Regent Street in London
It was the first time ever that all the lights across 10 of the most famous streets in London were switched on at once
Shoppers buying their loved ones gifts from Oxford Street and Regent Street are also able to see the lights from Friday. Pictured: Fortnum and Mason (pictured right) was lit up in festive red while twinkly lights were illuminated in Oxford Street
A total of 20 streets across the city’s West End all had their lights switched on at the same time by the Lord Mayor of Westminster to mark the beginning of the festive season. Pictured: South Molton Street in Mayfair was bathed in wintry blue
Pictured: Christmas lights on Oxford Street were made up of glowing gold stars and silver streams when they were lit up
Pictured: Cast members of ‘And Juliet’, and staff from John Lewis, Hamleys and Fortnums and Mason at Piccadilly, as the Christmas lights are switched-on across the whole of London’s West End district at the same time this evening
Photos and videos taken of the switch-on were shared on social media.
One person tweeted: ‘London’s West End Christmas lights are officially on! A fantastic evening in the West End tonight for the world’s biggest ever Christmas lights switch-on.’
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: ‘London is the greatest city in the world and I’m thrilled that this year the West End is hosting the largest Christmas lights switch-on ever seen.
‘From our world-class shops, attractions, arts, and culture to our incredible bars and restaurants – all of which will be sparkling under more than a million lights – there is so much to see and do this festive season.
It was the first festive light switch on in London in two years after last year was cancelled due to Covid. Pictured: Bond Street
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was hoping the festive spirit would help London recover from the impact of Covid and urged Londoners and visitors to come and see the amazing lights and support the hospitality to continue to bounce back
Staff from Hamleys and Fortnum and Masons celebrate West End Christmas with combined switch on of lights simultaneously on Oxford Street, Regent Street, South Molton Street, Bond Street, Mayfair, Piccadilly Circus, St James’ and Leicester Square
London’s Leicester Square was one of 20 streets in the capital to see it’s festive lights switched on this evening
‘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 to continue to bounce back.’
Ros Morgan, a spokesperson for London’s West End, said: ‘Tonight marked a landmark moment for London’s West End as 20 iconic streets came together to mark the start of Christmas.
‘Having lost out on Christmas last year, 2021 has to be about getting the chance to really cherish that joy that you get in the lead-up to Christmas and where better to do this than the West End?’
As part of the event, Hamleys toy shop brought the red carpet out to mark the occasion with special surprise performances, including an appearance from X-Factor’s chart-topping Grace Davies.
Making a return from 2020, the winged ‘Spirit’ illuminations will showcase the beautiful bright and festive scene that is Regent Street at Christmas, with Hamleys as the focal point.
Sumeet Yadav, CEO, Hamleys, said: ‘The Regent Street Christmas Lights bring visitors from far and wide every year, and we are so looking forward to showcasing the magic of Hamleys at Christmas with our very own elves and a fantastic selection of performances alongside the ‘Spirit’ Illuminations.
‘We can’t wait to welcome families in store for the best view, and festive experiences in London.’
The Lights Switch On Celebration was opened by singer Joe Palmer, and followed with The London Philharmonic Choir, serenading shoppers with Christmas Carols. Following Grace Davies, closing the celebration, 19 year old Grace Holden, runner up of The Voice 2020, wowed the crowds with her set of festive songs.