Illuminating the dark with fluorescent lights embarks the holiday season with festivities for all. Carnaby Street in London celebrates excitement of the holidays in its unique way, their tradition of lighting the Christmas lights works well in tandem with the fireworks to create a festive oasis perfect for dreamers. The sound of children’s laughter filling the air signals that Christmas is within reach; once these lights elucidate the sky, it’s time for the celebrations to begin.
Since the 1960s, Carnaby Street in London has known to be the leading Christmas-lighting ceremony in the United Kingdom, which attracts thousands of locals, and hundreds of out-of-towners, with attendance numbers increasing drastically each year. Carnaby’s Christmas lights display glowing above Carnaby Street and its 13 surrounding streets this festive season, and has done so for the past six decades. Some people’s festive seasons don’t begin until Carnaby Street has begun theirs.
Famous for its quirky Christmas lights, the area of Carnaby is transformed with a carnival-themed display featuring quirky lights and bold colors to mark the countdown to Christmas. Carnaby Street will blast on its grandiose Christmas lights with one of its famous shopping parties, where visitors will be able to receive 20 percent off in most shops in the area. Carnaby’s Christmas decorations – usually referred to as one of the most distinctive in town – will remain on display until January 5, 2018.
What surprises most, is how the volume of visitors does not decrease after Christmas and the New Year have past, and the street remains a festive hub post-holiday season.
“We always tend to create the best holiday atmosphere each Christmas,” said Keith Prowse, Director of Design on Carnaby Street. “We sit down months and months in advance to start designing this project, and we put a unique and different twist on it each year.”
The number of locals visiting this Christmas festival is growing yearly, with fresh faces showing up every day of the duration of this display. Some, however, have been visiting Carnaby Street for as long as they could, and have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“My wife and I have been coming to the Carnaby Street lights festival for over 35 years now,” said Rob Jones, a local resident. “We don’t have kids but we enjoy the atmosphere nonetheless, there’s something for everyone here, truly.”
Among locals, many people come from all over the UK and Europe for this festival, with hopes of soaking up as much of the holiday spirit as humanly possible. Many travel agencies in Europe sell travel packages, curated for Carnaby Street. Typically, foreigners come for a weekend getaway with their loved ones, or with their family, and pair up the Christmas lighting ceremony with some discounted Christmas shopping on Carnaby Street’s offered stores, which offer visitors 20 percent off standard prices.
For newcomers, registering online for a free ticket prior to visiting is advised. By doing so, it makes it easier to enjoy discounts, complimentary drinks and more from 5pm to 9pm until the event’s close date.
Those who travel lengths to visit, are very much familiar with the procedures to make this a fun-packed festive event.
“We travel from Denmark each and every year for this,” said Agathe Jessen, a Carnaby Street Festival visitor of over 16 years. “We make this a trip for all my family. We book our flights in advance, they’re cheap and easy. The kids love it and adults too, lots of food and drink. It’s great.”
Planning festive trips in advance is vital to ensure a smooth sailing outing. Free tickets can be claimed at Carnaby.co.uk.