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Five Alternative Christmas Light Displays in London

14 November 2018 Billie Manning

Forget Regent Street, forget Carnaby Street. Even, yes, forget Oxford Street. We’ve seen it all before: cute snowflake shapes, flying snowmen, whatever. There’s so much more to London life than three streets in Zone 1. If you want a truly modern Christmas light experience, we’ve rounded up a bunch of London’s most distinctive and exciting light shows even the Grinchiest of you will enjoy.

1. The waterside one: St Katharine Docks
Lighting up Central London’s only marina will be Father Christmas himself, who will arrive at St Katharine Docks on a speedboat sleigh – very 90s James Bond. Once Saint Nick has got everyone in the festive mood, the marina will then be transformed with sparkling lights and decorations. Don’t miss the audial treats either: a carol concert from the City Chamber Choir and carols sung by the local Children’s Choir.


 
St Katharine Docks. Light switch-on: Thursday 22nd November 6-7pm
 
2. The designer one: Coal Drops Yard
Not just frosty, this one’s cool. Studio Mieke Meijer, who conceived this chic installation for new Kings Cross shopping district Coal Drops Yard, are an Eindhoven-based design practice. I don’t really know what design practice is, and I have no idea where Eindhoven is either, to be honest, but it sounds cool, anyway. The lights they’ve produced certainly are, too: a dynamic installation that mimics the architecture of their environment.


 
Coal Drops Yard. Lights are on now until 6 January.
 
3. The historical one: Chiswick In A Whole New Light
Over in West London, you can brighten up your winter evenings with a visit to leafy Chiswick. A series of modern light installations will illuminate the gardens of Chiswick House. There will be a special trail to walk through the grounds while you enjoy the specially-soundtracked light shows. You can even make an evening of it by treating yourself to a bite to eat from one of the food traders in the walled garden and, if you’re looking for something extra special, book a table at the exclusive Supper Club.


 
Chiswick House and Gardens. 5 November - 30 December, 5.30pm – 10pm every Thursday – Sunday.
 
4. The eye-popping one: Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland
If you still haven’t satisfied your fairy-light itch, book a trip to Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland, which will see the historic gardens decked out in an almost indecent amount of colourful lights. Follow the trail around the lake to the spectacularly lit up Great Conservatory, have fun with the interactive light installations and don’t forget to take lots of photos. The Enchanted Woodland is only open for two more weekends and usually sells out, so make sure to book your tickets in advance. Adult tickets are £12, children’s tickets are £5.


 
Syon Park. 16 – 18 November; 23 – 25 November
 
5. The unmissable one: The Shard
The Shard’s annual festive display sees the very tip of the building lit up in various dazzling colours. This year’s display is named ‘Reflections’, and is based on the concept of reflecting all the colours of the London sky in a 30-minute show, from golden sunrises to the pinks of sunset and the dark blue of twilight. The show commences every half an hour from 4pm to 1am each evening, and it’s Western Europe’s highest light show, so it’ll be unmissable in both senses of the word.


 
The Shard. Lights are on now.

 
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