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Let's Do London: Best light festivals in London

Be dazzled by twinkling light sculptures, cool artworks and immersive illumination experiences across the capital.

Brighten up those dark London winter nights, fill your Instagram feed with colourful snaps and make the most of Christmas in the capital with some of the best London light festivals. 

For more fun things to do in London, check out our Let's Do London guide. Make sure to share your adventures on social media using the #LetsDoLondon hashtag!

Borealis at Guildhall Yard

Green, red and blue lights illuminate the sky at night, with a crowd of people below.
Borealis presented by GDIF (FESTIVAL.ORG). Image courtesy of FESTIVAL.ORG.

Uncover the colours of the Aurora Borealis at an unparalleled installation lighting up the skies of the City of London over Guildhall Yard. The breathtaking visuals are set against a serene soundtrack to create a multisensory experience. Soak in the stunning light display by Dan Acher and capture the moment with a selfie. 11-22 Dec

Top tip: Make a night of it and tour the pubs, restaurants and bars just a stone's throw from Guildhall Yard.

Illuminature at the London Wetland Centre

A woman and a man smile while looking at an art installation of two light-covered swans at London Wetland Centre
See wildlife in lights at Illuminature. Image courtesy of London Wetland Centre

Explore the London Wetland Centre after dark during Illuminature. Enjoy the glittering rainfall lights, an immersive water-themed light tunnel and jump across responsive lily pads. You can also walk through the habitats of owls, geese and otters, and be wowed by large-scale illuminations of wetland creatures. 22 Oct-9 Jan

Top tip: Get cosy at The Red Lion near the WWT London. The Victorian-era pub has a log fire and comfy sofas.

Hetain Patel at Piccadilly Circus

Check out the latest art installation illuminating the screens of Piccadilly Circus this winter. Artist Hetain Patel has created a broadcast called Baa’s House 11, which shows a representation of his grandmother to explore themes of immigration and identity. 1-30 Nov

Top tip: Explore the foodie-filled streets of Soho and tuck into dishes from the area's diverse array of restaurants.

Winter Light at the Southbank Centre

Brightly lit art installation titled Dichroic Sphere by Jakob Kvist at night near Southbank Centre in London
See Winter Light art installations around Southbank Centre, including Dichroic Sphere by Jakob Kvist © Christoffer Askman

Visit the free outdoor art installations and video projections set up around the Southbank Centre. Wander through the art complex's site and along the river Thames for an illuminating Winter Light experience during the dark months. 4 Nov-9 Jan

Top tip: Soak up the sights and smells of Southbank Centre's Winter Market, which is loaded with festive food, drink and gifts.

Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park

Discover the magnificent 600-year-old gardens of Syon Park in a brand new light. Follow a trail of sparkling lights through the Enchanted Woodland, to be dazzled by laser shows, light displays and music, ending up at the historic Great Conservatory. 12-14, 19-21 and 26-28 Nov

Top tip: Grab a tasty treat or snack from the pop-up Food Village, which serves mulled wine, pizzas, burgers, churros and more.

Regent Street and St James's

A Christmas tree with dazzling warm white lights and red ornaments in the foreground. Red buses beneath shining 'spirits' of Christmas and stars.
The Spirit of Christmas at Regent Street and St James's. Image courtesy of The Crown Estate.

Get into The Spirit of Christmas, this year's theme for the Regent Street and St James's lights, which envelop the shopping area in a canopy of twinkles. Watch the giant spirits as they glimmer above the city and switch off at 2am to make the festive period a little more sustainable. 13 Nov-2 Jan

Top tip: Enjoy a pitstop at one of the fabulous restaurants and bars in London's West End before you explore the city's lights.

Christmas at Kew

Two children look up in a tunnel of fairy lights during Christmas at Kew at Kew Gardens in London
Tunnel of light at Christmas at Kew © Royal Botanical Gardens Kew

Discover some of the most enchanting Christmas lights in London with Christmas at Kew. Meander through the gardens illuminated by more than one million twinkling lights and stroll the Holly Walk under the glow of hundreds of LED spheres lit up like the Northern Lights, before a spectacular finale in front of the Palm House. 17 Nov-9 Jan

Top tip: Book a traditional Christmas dinner at Kew Gardens' restaurant, The Botanical

Lightopia Festival London at Crystal Palace Park

Illuminated flower art installation at Lightopia Festival London at night
Light display at Lightopia Festival London. Image courtesy of Lightopia Festival London

Step into a winter wonderland of hand-painted lanterns and colourful installations during Lightopia Festival London at Crystal Palace Park. Watch as the history of the park comes to life through a projected recreation of the famous Crystal Palace, as well as animatronic and digital reptiles in the much-loved dinosaur park. 19 Nov-2 Jan

Top tip: Warm up at Westow House, a Crystal Palace pub with great beer and an extensive food menu.

London's Chanukah Menorah in Trafalgar Square

Mark the nights of Chanukah with a special celebration in Trafalgar Square. At nightfall, a new light will be lit each night at London’s Chanukah Menorah in the heart of the city. 28 Nov-6 Dec

Top tip: Trafalgar Square is within easy walking distance to other festive light displays, as well as top-notch restaurants and pubs.

Shard Lights

Look up to see the highest seasonal light display in Western Europe at The Shard, which illuminates its top 20 storeys in a bright display visible across the city. The Shard Lights celebrate the theme of togetherness and can be viewed daily from 4pm to 1am. 1-31 Dec

Top tip: Get a bird's-eye view of London with a visit to The View from the Shard

Menagerie at the Tower of London

Learn the fascinating history of the animals that once lived at the Tower of London this Christmas. The festive Menagerie brings to life elephants, polar bears, ravens and more in a spectacular series of magical decorations across the iconic attraction. 1 Dec-3 Jan

Top tip: A short walk away is the historic timber-framed Dickens Inn pub, located on the waterside at St Katharine Docks.

The Ever After Garden in Grosvenor Square

Illuminated white roses light up Grosvenor Square in London at dusk
White roses light up Grosvenor Square. © David Parry / Press Association

Look for a bright glow coming from Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, as it fills with thousands of illuminated white roses. Visitors can dedicate a flower in the Ever After Garden to a loved one for a donation to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. 1-23 Dec

Top tip: Mayfair and the West End have plenty of great restaurants, pubs and bars to visit after a stroll around Grosvenor Square.

Enchanted Eltham Palace

People walking along the river and light illuminations at Enchanted Eltham Palace
Enchanted Eltham Palace. Image courtesy of English Heritage

Be transported to a world of light, colour and sound with Enchanted Eltham Palace. Discover the historic mansion in a new a light, as you explore tunnels and paths filled with twinkling lights, talking trees and interactive light displays. 9-12, 16-23 and 27-30 Dec

Top tip: Eltham Palace's cafe is open during the event, and hot drinks and food, including marshmallow toasting, are offered on the South Lawn.

Dawaat at Tara Theatre

South Asian woman with curly hair wearing red lipstick and red bindi against a blurry brick background.
DAWAAT at Tara Theatre. © Harry Elleston

Spoil your senses at Dawaat at Tara Theatre as they celebrate Bangladesh's 50th year of independence. Immerse yourself into the experience by sitting on stage or in the auditorium and explore what it means to be part of the British Bangladeshi diaspora through artistic treats including national dishes, live music and poetry. 10 Dec

Top tip: Grab a tipple at nearby Old Bengal Bar, located in a stunning Grade II listed building that was formerly owned by the East India Company. 

Canary Wharf Winter Lights

Man in front of tunnel of light
Marcus Lyall, On Your Wavelength. Winter Lights festival

Marvel at thousands of lights during January's Winter Lights festival in Canary Wharf. As the area glows in the wintry dark, you can discover more than 20 artworks and immersive installations from artists from across the world. 19-29 Jan

Top tip: Carry on the winter fun with a skate at Canary Wharf's outdoor ice rink.

Illuminated River boat tours with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers

Lambeth Bridge at night lit up with purple lights with the skyline of London in the background
Illuminated River art installation at Lambeth Bridge. © Paul Crawley. Image courtesy of Illuminated River

See some of London's most famous bridges along the river Thames lit up during an Illuminated River boat tour with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. Learn about the capital's landmarks on this river tour with knowledgeable guides, as you drift underneath the bridges and past Illuminated River installations. Various dates

Top tip: Tours set sail from Tower Pier, so enjoy dinner before the journey in a festive igloo at nearby Coppa Club.

Illuminated River walking tours

The sun sets over the river Thames as its bridges glow with colourful lighting as part of the Illuminated River installation
Discover the Illuminated River in London at night. Credit: Jason Hawkes. Image courtesy of Jason Hawkes and Illuminated River.

Join an Illuminated River walking tour with qualified guides this winter. On an evening riverside walk, you'll stop admire and learn about the Illuminated River public artworks, which stretch from London Bridge to Lambeth Bridge. Various dates

Top tip: Duck into one of the many cosy, historic pubs along Fleet Street, such as The Punch Tavern or Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

For even more holiday cheer, check out Christmas activities across the capital, including the best London Christmas lights, the top places for Christmas shopping in London and 101 Christmas things to do in London over the whole festive season.

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