23 November 2013

London Christmas Lights: 2013 Edition

Yes, I know. My blog posts about London's Christmas lights are getting earlier every year. It isn't even December and I'm not even a Christmas person, but with my birthday celebrations last weekend and my first attempts to do my Christmas shopping this weekend, I've been around the West End a fair bit. Here's what I spotted.

Covent Garden always does a good job at Christmas time, and with the lovely baubles in the Piazza, the huge Christmas tree and proudly strutting reindeer this year was no exception.

Next to the Christmas tree, there is also a giant snow globe with various iconic buildings from the London skyline constructed from LEGO bricks, which is just as cool as the huge LEGO Christmas tree they put up inside St Pancras station two years ago. There is a button to make the "snow" blow around, but it doesn't work too well, and you can even walk "inside" the globe, as long as you don't mind queuing.

Just around the corner, in Seven Dials, they are using the same decorations as last year, but I don't mind, because I like the funky neon stars and chevrons.

As usual, Carnaby Street has a fun take on Christmas with their decorations and this year a flock of robins have descended upon Carnaby Street, encouraging visitors to Tweet along with them (geddit)?

I was in Liberty two weeks ago when they turned their Christmas lights on, celebrating with a little show projected onto the shop's iconic facade. They were also handing out crackers that apparently contained nice prizes, but sadly I didn't have time to queue. Inside, the central atrium is filled with a swarm of colourful Scrabble-like tiles, which are bursting out of an even more colourful satchel. Très chic.

Less chic, of course, is the nearby Oxford Street, which was particularly hellish this afternoon, even though I stayed on the quieter side of Oxford Circus. Who needs sponsored Christmas lights when you can't take a step without being inundated with brands and logos? At least Selfridges, where I stopped by last week, adds a touch of class to the mix.

In general, the South Bank needs to up its game; they tend to use the same decorations each year. Although they aren't Christmas lights, I liked the advent calendar display that I spotted in the Southbank Centre shop on my walk home. And while I was crossing Waterloo Bridge, I had a little London-lights based fun with my camera.

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