London gets fully lit up over the dark winter months, from central London to the suburbs: winter illuminations pour colour and sparkle over the city. This winter’s Lumiere Festival will return to Durham, but there are plenty more illuminated trails, light displays and colourful installations to enjoy.

london winter illuminations
Winter illuminations at Kew Garden | Photo by alh1 used under CC

Wrap up warm, and take a wander to one of these London winter illumination events:

Alice in Winterland at Southwark Park

From late November to early January, Southwark Park will be transformed into an Alice in Wonderland themed lantern festival. Enter the world inspired by Lewis Caroll’s classic tale, without needing to shrink yourself or move through a looking glass—you can slide down a rabbit hole though! And follow the light-covered trail which has over 160 giant lanterns telling the stories of Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass including a 5m-tall Alice and a life-sized Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Where: Southwark Park
Dates: 28th November 2018- 6th January 2019
Cost: Adults (Over 17) £15.00, Kids (4+) £9.00, Free for under 3s

After Dark at Chiswick House and Gardens

The historic, West London house gets a contemporary light experience. Visitors can walk the night trail around the Chiswick House grounds and get refreshments from one of the stalls in the walled garden serving up seasonal hot drinks like Terry’s Hot Chocolate Orange, and mulled cider. This event is a more contemporary offering than the previous magic lantern festival, and the emphasis is on installations by world-renowned artists rather than Christmas lights and inflatable Santas.

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Where: Chiswick House
Dates: 15th November – 30th December
Cost: Adults £16.50 | Kids (5-15) £8.50

Christmas at Kew Gardens
Christmas at Kew Gardens | Photo by alh1 used under CC

Christmas at Kew

The return of a classic, Londoners’ Instagram feeds have been filled with pictures from Christmas at Kew for the past few years, but hurry, tickets go fast! Take a stroll through the moonlit woods and into the Laser Garden, past the illuminated lake and marvel at the water screen projects at the Palm House Pond or follow the aroma of mulled wine and roast chestnuts as you walk.

Christmas at London Zoo

After the animals have gone to bed, the lights come on in London Zoo. Humans can roam along a one-mile long illuminated path through the zoo with thousands of twinkly lights, tunnels, animal sculptures and singing trees. There will be some hidden surprises along the way too, and there are plenty of festive hot drinks of the boozey or soft kind to keep you warm.

Where: London Zoo
Dates: 22nd November – 1st January
Cost: Adults £16.50 | Kids (3-15) £10.50 (free for under 3s)

Canary Wharf Winter Lights 2018
Photo by Matt Buck used under CC

Canary Wharf Winter Lights

Probably the only time of of year for cheapos to visit Canary Wharf. Ignore the souless corporate towers, winter lights bring some much needed brightness to the post-New Year lull. It’s free, you can just turn up between 5pm to 10pm to see installations, artworks and light technology.

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