Christmas comes early to London’s West End. No sooner is Bonfire Night out of the way than the Christmas lights go on, first of all on Oxford Street in the early days of November. Other parts of London celebrate the festivities with some form of illumination (for example in Islington, as shown on the home page) but perhaps not surprisingly, it is in the heart of the shopping part of the metropolis that things burn brightest.

A vibrant display of dangling stars greets shoppers and passers-by on Oxford Street as the city heads towards the Christmas holidays

As one might hope/expect, the displays are more eco-friendly these days. The stars on the Oxford Street show are made from such materials, featuring 300,000 LED light bulbs and recycled plastics. The lights are on between 3 pm and 11 pm (I am sure some eager environmentalists are less than happy about that meaning for some of the time they are on in the daylight) until the whole extravaganza comes down early in the new year.

There are 45 of these angels hovering above Regent Street, in this case as the road begins its curve towards Piccadilly Circus

Although Oxford Street is ahead of Regent Street in getting its lights out earlier these days (the two streets intersect at Oxford Circus, Oxford Street being an east-west thoroughfare whereas Regent Street essentially runs north-south), the tradition began on Regent Street, back in 1954. Nearly 70 years on, it is still going strong.

Merry Christmas!