Top 5 Christmas Light Displays Across UK And Ireland

Christmas Tree Lights

The giddy feeling of Christmas and bright displays of Christmas lights go hand in hand to create a truly magical feeling this time of year.

With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, I’m really starting to get that festive feeling - from my colourfully decorated house to the tinsel-adorned shopping centres, and now also around the beautifully illuminated city. No matter what the weather is like, it’s always a treat to take in the festively-lit streets. So to add some colour to your Christmas, here are five of the best Christmas light displays across the UK and Ireland.

Oxford Lights - London, England

The Christmas lights on Oxford Street are undoubtedly England’s most famous and popular display. The tradition of lighting up Oxford Street began 53 years ago and the events on the night that they are lit just get bigger and better each year. 300,000 magnificent bulbs light up the street in festive colours and beautiful patterns to get locals and tourists in the mood for Christmas - and of course, while you are on Oxford, why not do some Christmas shopping?

Each year since 1981, iconic celebrities (mostly British) have had the honour of switching on the lights, making the night an eventful one that is watched by hundreds upon hundreds of screaming fans. Celebrities such as Bob Geldof, Richard Branson and The Spice Girls have all had the chance to light up the street. This year, Robbie Williams not only flipped the switch, but he also gave a fantastic performance of some of his best hits for all the fans who came to watch.

Take a look at the 2012 Oxford Street Christmas Lights ceremony in the video below:

Edinburgh - Scotland

Edinburgh Christmas Winter Wonderland in Edinburgh

The beautiful Scottish capital goes out of its way when it comes to getting the city into Christmas mode. All of the streets are lit up and decorated - creating a truly festive atmosphere. The Christmas lights are really something you must go and see, with the best displays in the city centre amongst the shops on Princes Street and George Street. And you literally can't miss the giant Christmas tree imported from Norway that stands right on top of The Mound (the really steep hill right in the city centre).

If you’re in Edinburgh around this time of year, make sure to check out the Winter Wonderland. It not only looks as if you’ve stepped into a Christmas fairytale, but it also has a fairground with rides, an ice rink and food stalls.

Stratford-upon-Avon - England

Why not take a mini-break from home this Christmas and visit the hometown of the one and only William Shakespeare? The town has a rich heritage and a tight community - which was proven this year with the switching on of the annual Christmas lights. The residents, along with City Council, put together the funds to afford the wonderful Christmas light display.

The town aims to boost the shopping market this time of year with its appealing light display, and with the allure of late-night shopping. Every weekend, Stratford-upon-Avon also has Christmas markets that are a must-do tourists and locals alike. This year the lights were switched on on 22 November and you have until 5 January to enjoy them.

Take a sneak peek at one of the street displays in Stratford-upon-Avon:

Dublin - Ireland

O'Connell Street Christmas Tree O'Connell Street Christmas Tree

The Irish don’t mess around when it comes to celebrations, so it’s only fitting that they have Christmas lights in over 30 streets in the city centre of Dublin alone. As you walk through the many streets, the lights vary from little fairy-lights up in the trees, to bigger ones intertwining around massive tree trunks and huge, spectacular displays hanging in the air above the street. You simply can’t help but feel full of festive spirit as you make your way around the sparkling city.

A visit to Dublin isn't really a visit if you don’t go to O’Connell Street - the most famous in the capital. It is adorned with monuments and statues honouring those who impacted the country, and during Christmas, it’s even more alluring with its big Christmas tree and light displays. This year, spectators watched as Irish singer, Brian Kennedy and Lord Mayor of Dublin switched on the lights.

Cardiff City Centre - Cardiff, Wales

No matter how much of a pain Christmas shopping may be to some, it’s still something that needs to be done. This is why the council of Cardiff came up with the brilliant idea of having its Christmas light display smack-bam in the middle of Cardiff’s city centre. This year the theme is “Step into Christmas” and it truly lives up to it's name. As soon as you step onto the streets adorned with stunning, pale blue lights hanging from above, you will no doubt be in the mood for the festive season. Another bonus of the lights being in the city centre? Enthusiastic shoppers can indulge in a bit of late night shopping as the shops stay open till late.

You can see the festive blue lights of Cardiff from last year in the video below:

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Zoe Harrington

Zoe Harrington

After graduating with a degree in English Literature and a passion for writing, Zoe finally ended up at Essential Travel. An avid animal lover, Zoe is also an enthusiastic traveller and loves the richness it brings to one's life. Born in London, she has been to many European countries, the USA, Thailand and Singapore, making her always keen to inform others of the wonders of travel through her writing.