Britain’s best Christmas light switch-ons for 2023

The countdown to Christmas has officially begun! The festive adverts are popping up everywhere, shopfronts are filled with sparkle and the seasonal spirit is everywhere. But nothing marks the arrival of Yuletide better than counting down and switching on a glittery light display.

Light up your festive season with our guide to some of the best Christmas light switch-ons across the UK for 2023!

Covent Garden – London

9th November 2023

Covent Garden Christmas lightsCrammed with history and characterful cobbled streets, the Christmas lights at Covent Garden have become iconic in the build-up to the big day. With over 44 million locals and tourists flocking to the capital’s shopping hub every year, the festive period is a particularly special time to visit London’s Covent Garden.

With the sparkling Christmas light switch-on taking place on the 9th November, this free festive event has previously exhibited performances by The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera, alongside over 20,000 lights on the gorgeous Christmas tree alone. Why not add a Christmas light countdown to your festive shopping spree this November?

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George Street – Edinburgh

17th November 2023

Edinburgh Christmas lightsEdinburgh’s charming Christmas cheer returns to the Scottish capital this November. Renowned as the ultimate celebration of the festive season, Edinburgh’s Christmas features an array of sensational lights, exciting fairground rides and plenty of food, drink and crafts market stalls to explore.

Head over to Edinburgh’s George Street to catch the city’s famous Christmas light switch-on! With an outstanding fireworks display and Scottish choir performance, you’ll be sure to get into the festive spirit.

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Oxford City Centre – Oxford

17th November 2023

Oxford Christmas lightsDescribed as the city of Dreaming Spires, Oxford’s historic architecture and city centre is a beautiful sight all year round. But at Christmas, the sparkling lights create a Narnia-like quality to the city.

Starting with a Christmas light countdown on the evening of the 17th November, the festivities turn into a 3-day spectacular celebration of arts, culture and community known as the Oxford Christmas Light Festival. Explore dazzling Christmas light installations, delectable food stalls and delightful exhibitions and performances. One of the biggest highlights has to be the lantern parade that winds its way through the charming Oxford streets every year.

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Lower Gardens – Bournemouth

17th November 2023

To celebrate the start of the Christmas festivities on the coast, why not head to Bournemouth this November? Bournemouth’s unique coastal Christmas light display is the perfect festive event for the whole family!

With live entertainment, fireworks and a Christmas Tree Wonderland trail to explore, Bournemouth will be full of magic and wonder this festive season. Discover the 60ft walk-through tree and over 100 other sparkling trees and Christmas light displays all throughout Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens.

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Marylebone – London

9th November 2023

Marylebone Christmas lightsOne of London’s most underrated Christmas affairs, Marylebone Village’s annual Merry Marylebone event brings together a magical Christmas light switch-on, a charming Santa’s grotto, snow machines, food, drink and gift stalls and a whole host of special offers in the local restaurants, bars and shops.

And all-new for 2023, Merry Marylebone is putting on a dazzling, sustainable light display, utilising a splendid energy-saving LED system that uses 95% less energy than the average festive lighting. Merry Marylebone’s Christmas lights are also made of plastic recycled bottle materials!

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Chester Cathedral – Chester

23rd November 2023

Chester Christmas lightsThe whole family will love exploring the beautiful walled city of Chester this November as they enjoy the city’s annual, enchanting Chester Christmas Light Switch On for 2023! Switched on during the stunning 12 Days of Christmas Parade, Chester’s festive lights are just the start of the city’s wondrous festivities.

With a cosy Christmas market offering an abundance of festive treats, Cinderella and The Snowman shows and an appearance from Santa himself, you won’t be short of joyful activities in Chester.

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Liverpool City Centre – Liverpool

18th November 2023

Liverpool Christmas lightsLiverpool’s lively city centre is getting a festive makeover this November with a agnificent Christmas light switch-on, the grand opening of the Liverpool Christmas Market and endless decorations spread across the city. This truly is the winter wonderland you don’t want to miss!

Check out the Liverpool One shopping centre to join in the celebrations with the annual street festival. Or marvel at Liverpool’s main festive event: the glorious 50ft, heart-decorated Christmas tree, which even hosts its own bar underneath!

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Birmingham Cathedral – Birmingham

15th November 2023

Birmingham Christmas lightsCatch some fantastic street acts, live music and exciting guests as Birmingham’s city centre counts down to the big Christmas light switch-on at Birmingham Cathedral. This historic Midlands location is the perfect spot to feel the festive spirit!

And that’s not all! Birmingham is full of Christmassy things to do, see and explore. Take a stroll through the renowned Frankfurt Christmas Market and discover authentic German treats, crafts and gifts. Check out more of the best Christmas markets across the UK here.

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George Square – Glasgow

19th November 2023

Glasgow Christmas lightsGlasgow’s favourite festive, family-friendly event is back for 2023! Marking the start of the countdown to Christmas, this annual Glasgow event brings together a wide variety of singers, actors and comedians to take the stage.

Expect a breathtaking fireworks display, joyfully decorated streets and a vibrant atmosphere all throughout the city this November. However, don’t delay securing your spot, tickets sell out fast!

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Pittwille Pump Room – Cheltenham 

25th November 2023

Cheltenham Christmas lightsDon’t miss Cheltenham’s extraordinary Christmas event calendar for 2023! Starting with the town centre Christmas launch on the 16th November and followed by the Christmas Launch Party in the city’s Brewery Quarter and the Christmas Lights Switch-On at the Pittville Pump Room on Saturday 25th November, Cheltenham’s festive celebrations make for the perfect day out with the family.

After you’ve enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and witnessed the fabulous  Christmas light switch-on, why not grab your skates and head to the Cheltenham Ice Rink for a magical winter evening experience?

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Carnaby Street – London

November 7th

Carnaby Street Christmas lightsLondon’s most eccentric Christmas display is back for 2023! Famous for its unique and breathtaking festive decorations, Soho’s Carnaby Street proudly believes it offers the BEST Christmas light displays in London!

With a new theme every year, each exciting Christmas light installation is just as unforgettable as the last. Carnaby’s past decorations have spanned from carnival and ocean creature themes to featuring giant snowmen and even collaborations with British icons such as Queen and The Rolling Stones.

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