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. With the much admired Lumiere Festival no longer in London, other illuminations are stepping up their games and turning up the lights in a bid to be this year’s best display. We’ve covered everything from the Canary Wharf Winter Lights to Lightopia—so wrap up warm and take a wander to one of these London winter illuminations.

Looking for more festive fun? Be sure to check our top winter festivals and markets too!

Winterfest at Wembley Park

One of this year’s most impressive free light festivals, Winterfest at Wembley Park is set to wow tens of thousands this winter. This big draw is the Sonic Runway, which has come all the way from the world-renowned Burning Man Festival over in the US. That’s not all though. The Illumaphonium:Halo piece will use light and sound to transform Wembley Market Square into an interactive, multisensory playground. As a limited time only free event, it’s definitely a must-see.

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. The lights are among the city’s finest, with installations from multiple groundbreaking artists each year. Best of all, it’s free. You can just turn up between 5 pm and 10 pm to see installations, artworks and light technology.

Lightopia at Chiswick House and Gardens

The historic west London house gets a contemporary light experience. As in previous years, visitors can walk the night trail around the Chiswick House grounds. Expect a “world of expression and raw emotion”, as the ambitious designers set out to transcend the usual light display drama with carefully crafted artistic pieces.

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Chiswick house is known for radically changing its offering each year, with previous incarnations including the beloved Magic Lanterns and Chiswick House After Dark.This year’s Lightopia is another big change—but as always it’s sure to impress. Lightopia is one of the later London lightshows—making it a great place to visit in the often-dreary New Year months.

Christmas at Kew

Christmas at Kew
Photo by RBG 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 flickering lights illuminate the woods, gardens and lakes of Kew in the winter months. This year’s theme leans heavily on myths and legends. So expect to encounter playful will-o-the-wisps, mysterious colourful flames and the legendary Bifröst—the rainbow bridge of Norse legend. Naturally, there’ll be mulled wine and roast chestnuts to enjoy as well.

Syon Park Enchanted Woodland

The 600 year old gardens of Syon Park are once again transformed into an enchanted woodland. With interactive lights, a dedicated trail and beautiful displays it almost always requires booking in advance—so don’t just show up on the day! At £10.00£12.00, it’s not the city’s cheapest offering, but it’s also a far cry from the bustling crowds of the usual London Winter lights. So it’s well worth the price of admission if you fancy a break from the norm.

First published Nov 2018 by Becky Matthews. Updated 2019 by Felix Wilson.

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