Being a Londoner at this particular time of year, there is always a pull on the old conscience, to take a trip ‘up west’ to see first-hand, the traditional annual Christmas Lights displayed on Oxford Street, Regent Street, South Moulton Street, and these days, many other streets in the surrounding area – a seasonal tradition that began back in 1954.
As a nipper, a trip ‘up-west’ to see the lights, was something that my mum & dad always tried to get done before Christmas Eve – but quite naturally, as you get older, the enthusiasm tends to wain a bit – especially when you’ve heard that devastating news that ‘Father Christmas’ doesn’t really exist.
However, in the past few years I have felt the urge to resurrect the pilgrimage up London to see the ‘lights’ again – maybe becoming a grandad has re-kindled some of that pre- Christmas excitement.
So – for the “London Shoes” website blog this week, and accompanied by my Mrs – I made way to London’s West End, to try and get in to the old Christmas spirit.
The weird (and slightly disappointing) thing about this year’s decorative light displays is that they are exactly the same as last years!!!
This ‘duplication’ was not intended – the original plan and design had been for the ‘lights’ to be themed around the forthcoming completion and opening of the “Crossrail” project – the new rail network running under London’s streets and out into the ‘burbs’, stopping at all the major main line connection stations – but, and probably to be expected, the official opening date has had to be put back as the project is some considerable way off completion.
So – viewing the 1,778 lights on display in Oxford Street for 2018, is a bit of a deja-vu experience for those that went to see the lights last year.
It’s not just the street lights that draw in the public – many of the stores also have invested in magnificent festive window displays, particularly the world famous “Selfridges” department store – whose theme for its 2018 window displays, is all about ‘Glam Rock’.
Their ‘Rock n Roll’ Santa windows consist of mannequins inspired by the likes of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie – plus other iconic ‘Glam Rock’ and music artefacts such as vintage microphones – clothing – numerous classic guitars and vintage theatre seats – all of which are surrounded by a backdrop of thousands of yards of shimmering glitter curtains
In “Regent Street, it is also the return appearance of their wonderful 2017 ‘Angels’ display.
However, in the famous Carnaby Street the main theme for its Xmas decorations this year, is something new and spectacular – To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – the songs entire lyrics are displayed in neon, in the skies above the street – a brilliant display, well worth seeing.
So – having spent a couple of hours wandering crowded streets full of shoppers (and pick-pockets) taking in all the sites, we decided to hop on the Central Line at Bond Street and head off to Notting Hill Gate station, and then stroll up to Kensington for the specific purpose of visiting the famous “Churchill Arms” pub – where there are some 93 Christmas Trees emblazoned with 21,500 lights, completely smothering the exterior of this excellent iconic old boozer.
The pub is famous for decorating its exterior – with thousands of ‘flowers’ in the summer months, and then ‘Christmas trees’ during the festive period. It’s a wonderful sight to see, and it certainly attracts the punters – so much so, I had to sadly ‘cock a snook’ at the massive queues at the bar – and uncharacteristically for me, had to make my way back home without a ‘cheeky’ beer having touched my lips 🙁
Anyway –that’s London’s 2018 Xmas Lights for ya – hope the accompanying photos have made you feel a bit Christmasy 🙂