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, so wrap up warm and take a wander round one of these London winter illuminations.
There have been quite a few cancelled events this year, so if you’re looking for more festive fun be sure to check our top winter festivals and markets too, or get your rom-com on with these outdoor ice rinks or a walking tour of London’s Christmas lights.
Christmas at Eltham Palace
Eltham Palace is one of the lesser-known places in London. The former Tudor royal residence was transformed into an Art Deco mansion by eccentric millionaire couple Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in the 1930s, so it’s fair to say its walls have seen a shindig or two. But it’s the palace’s great outdoor spaces you’re cordially invited to this year; Enchanted Eltham invites visitors to wander around a brand new illuminated trail through the gardens and see the outside of the Great Hall bathed in light.
There are also refreshments available. The event runs after the normal palace opening hours and requires a separate ticket and allocated time slot.
Dates: 3, 8-10. 14-24 and 26-30 December 2023.
Christmas at Kenwood, Hampstead Heath
The Highgate side of Hampstead Heath is home to the beautiful former stately home Kenwood House. This year, its grounds will host a brand new magical light trail for 2023. Enter a wintery wonderland, filled with forest walks, trees covered in sparkling stars, lasers and sculptures. If you’re feeling chilly, you can grab mulled wine or hot chocolate or warm up at the fire garden.
Dates: 1 December 2023-1 January 2024
Epping Ongar Railway Light Fantastic
Take a ride on an illuminated train line through the Essex countryside for a winter journey with a festive soundtrack and dazzling trackside illuminations, featuring illuminated reindeer and brightly lit stations.
The train is planned to be hauled by a steam locomotive for part of the journey, although they reserve the right to substitute a diesel if needs be. Tickets are going fast, so get booking quickly if you want to bag a spot on the light-filled Essex express.
Dates: 18 November 2022-7 January 2023
|Advance sales: £20.00
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! Over a million lights illuminate the woods, gardens and lakes of Kew in the winter months with tunnels of light, a mesmerising flickering fire garden and a range of hot food, drinks and sweet treats to keep you going.
Dates: 15 November 2023-7 January 2024
Canary Wharf Winter Lights
Over half a million people are expected to bring some much needed brightness to the post-New Year lull with this festival of light. The illuminations are among the city’s finest, with installations from multiple groundbreaking artists including Sign at Westferry Circus, with illuminated bamboo poles creating a flickering forest of flames; a giant marble run at Wren Landing and the return of Squidsoup’s Submergence to Montgomery Square.
Best of all for Cheapos, particularly as it’s January, it’s free. You can just turn up between 5 pm and 10 pm to see installations, artworks and light technology.
Dates: 17-27 January 2024
Lightopia at Crystal Palace
Unfortunately the show’s organising company, Outreach Creative Ltd, went into administration and so Lightopia will not take place this year.
Syon Park Enchanted Woodland
Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled for 2023 – the good news is that they hope to be back next year.
Palace of Light at Hampton Court Palace
Sadly not going ahead for 2023; fingers crossed for 2024.
While we do our best to ensure it is correct, information is subject to change. This article was originally published in November 2018. Last updated on 3rd December 2023.
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