‘Tis the season to be jolly, and there are plenty of events on Oxford Street to spark comfort and joy this Christmas. From ice skating to the iconic Christmas lights display, festive lunches to afternoon teas, here’s how to count down to the big day in style.
See the Christmas lights on Oxford Street and sponsor a star
Nothing signals the beginning of the festive season quite like the turning on of the Christmas lights on Oxford Street. This year, the ‘sky full of stars’ display is back, featuring thousands of bright stars floating above the iconic shopping area. The eco-conscious installation is made of more than 300,000 energy-efficient LED lightbulbs and recycled materials, and will only be on from 4pm to 11pm daily to save on consumption. What’s more, this year Oxford Street has partnered with children’s charity Starlight, which supports children spending the festive season in hospital. You can sponsor a star for a loved one and contribute at the tap-and-donate points on Oxford Street to help make those children’s Christmases a little brighter too.
Contemplate the magic of Christmas at the Starlight Faerie
On the corner of Oxford Street and South Molton Street, you’ll be able to pause and reflect in front of the Starlight Faerie, a beautiful sculpture by local artists, made using waste materials from across Westminster, including tealights from Westminster Abbey and a mannequin from an Oxford Street store. She is adorned with stars, which represent Starlight, a charity which helps brighten sick children’s stays in hospital through the power of play. A donation point will be available at the sculpture as well.
Go ice skating in the West End
Time to dust off those skating shoes. Hanover Square will be transformed from 4th of November with a magical elliptical ice rink, providing the perfect setting for a family day out, work social or date night. If you don’t skate, you can still soak up the festive atmosphere by enjoying a hot festive drink at the central bar while watching skaters whizz by. Skate West End is partnered with GOSH Charity (Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity), and a percentage of each ticket sale will go towards supporting the hospital’s work caring for seriously ill children. The ice rink will be open until New Year’s Day, and you can book tickets here.
Visit Santa’s Grotto and toy shop at John Lewis
Santa’s coming to town and you’re invited. Kids can explore the interactive grotto and unlock the door – with the help of certain mischievous little helpers – to meet Santa, have a photo taken and receive a special gift. Or, you can join him for storytime, snacks and a hot chocolate. If you have a pet, make sure to sign up for the Santa Paws experience, and your four legged-friend will go home with a gift too. You can book tickets for all experiences here, but hurry, they’re selling fast! Of course, there is plenty of free fun to be had, by browsing the John Lewis Christmas shop and toy shop, which will give the little ones plenty of ideas for their letters to Santa.
Enter a life-size snow globe at Outernet, in the heart of London
Step into the Enchanted Snowglobe, presented by Uniqlo, and immerse yourself in an interactive wonderland featuring hand illustrated and animated villagers going about their festive activities like snowball fights. You’ll be able to join the fun by making digital snow angels on the giant screen in The Now Building, using real-time technology. As well as the Snowglobe, other free festive activities at Outernet include interactive games and immersive experiences.
Feast on festive tipples and Christmas food
Celebrate the season of indulgence by tucking into one of the many festive lunches and Christmas afternoon teas on Oxford Street. World culinary delights at Market Halls include yorkshire pudding with all the trimmings at Sexy Buns, a Turkey Shawarma at Le Bab and Xmas Poutine at 20ft Chicken. For something more traditional, try a festive afternoon tea or a four-course Christmas day luncheon at the Bond Street Hotel, featuring classics with a twist like Black Norfolk roast turkey with Manuka-honeyed veg and Pancetta-wrapped wild board and apple sausages, with Nutmeg Brulee to finish. Planning an office Christmas party? Try Swingers for crazy gold and festive-themed street food and cocktails including the delicious-sounding Chocolate Orange.
See the Northern Lights from the heart of London
Located in the heart of Marble Arch, Frameless is the UK’s first large-scale digital immersive art experience. Each month it showcases the work of an emerging artist on its Blank Canvas. This December visitors can experience the magic and wonder of the Northern Lights through “Illuminating the Arctic Night”, an installation by Scandinavian-based artist and musician Lela Amparo. They’ll also be able to view the four permanent multi-sensory galleries, showcasing 42 masterpieces from iconic artists from Van Gogh to Dalí, all while sipping on a glass of Hambledon Vineyard’s Finest English Fizz from the Café Bar.
Get some style inspiration from River Island
Get some style tips from the River Island team ahead of the party season during their Style Talk evening on 30th November. During the evening at the Marble Arch store, you’ll also enjoy 20% off everything, a RI tote, free gift card and fragrance, plus festive tipples and nibbles. If you can’t make it, make sure you visit the Created By You pop-up, also hosted at the store 8th-10th December. It will showcase lots of gorgeous products by local small businesses.
Watch Wonka at Selfridges
Experience the magic of Roald Dahl with the little ones by watching the new Wonka movie at Selfridges from 15th December. The film, starring Timothee Chalamet, Hugh Grant and Olivia Colman amongst others, sees a young Willy Wonka, choc-full of ideas, as he starts his journey to transform the world, one sweet bite at a time. You can sign up to the newsletter to be the first to know when tickets are released.
Have a festive bath and pick-up a knot wrap at Lush Spa
Treat yourself or a friend to a festive spa experience at Lush Spa this Christmas. The Snow Fairy Book-A-Bath (£40) is a 30 minute self-led bathing experience during which you can unwind in dreamy fuschia pink waters, scented with the Snow Fairy Bath Bomb, and enjoy exclusive products including a gorgeous face mask, all while listening to a relaxing soundtrack of reimagined songs. After your treatment, why not pick out a gift and wrap it up? A Lush take on the Japanese art of wrapping known as Furoshiki, Knot Wraps are a beautiful and eco-friendly alternative to wasteful wrapping paper. Choose from the selection of organic cotton, recycled polyester made from waste plastic bottles or unique vintage pieces.
Christmas shopping on Oxford Street
Make the most of your festive day out by ticking all of those Christmas presents off your list as well. Whether you’re looking for advent calendars, gifts for her and him, presents for the kids or budget-friendly gifts, Oxford Street has got you covered. Plus, if you need some sartorial inspiration for what to wear on the big day, stay tuned for party outfits from some of your favourite shops, including Selfridges, Zara and more.
Come on Barbie Let’s Go Party
Calling all Barbies and Kens who want to end 2023 in style. Plan ahead and book your New Year’s Eve party at Boom Battle Bar Oxford Street.For the occasion, the venue will get a pink makeover, transforming into a Pink Utopia. The evening will include a welcome cocktail, unlocked gaming including shuffleboard and axe throwing, live DJ and entertainers and a Tequila Rose shot and pink cannons at midnight. Oh, and some banging tunes of course. Tickets start at £45pp and you can book here.
Get fit over the festive period
Banish all feelings of guilty indulgence thanks to Asics’ Run Analysis, which focuses on making your running style safer and more effective. It looks at things like your degree of pronation, which is the way your foot rolls when you walk and run, and how it in turns affects the rest of your body. You can book the free analysis at the Oxford Street store, where a team of specialists will be able to advise you on the best shoes – such as the new Asics NOVABLAST™ 4 – to make your running more efficient.
Be part of the festivities and tag your images @oxfordstreetw1. See you there!