Downtown for the Holidays: London looks towards the holidays with new events and old favourites

It may not be winter yet, but something magical is in the works this holiday season downtown. The City of London, Covent Garden Market, Downtown London, and Tourism London are excited to announce Downtown for the Holidays, a campaign promoting new events and returning favourites this December.

It will be a December to remember with large-scale events including Lighting of the Lights, the Holly Jolly Market, and New Year’s Eve in the Park as well as new and free festive programming such as a carousel on Dundas Place, horse-drawn carriage rides, and musical performances.

The holiday season will kick off with the annual Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park on Friday, December 2 at 6:15 p.m. The park will transform into a winter wonderland with the countdown to the spectacular illumination of 75,000 coloured lights, an array of holiday displays, and live music.

Lighting of the Lights continues a 64-year tradition downtown, while the Holly Jolly Market at Covent Garden Market adds an exciting new outdoor experience on Rotary Square beginning December 2. After the lights are lit in Victoria Park, visitors are invited to visit Covent Garden Market where the outdoor market will be open for its first night.

At the new market, visitors can enjoy local artisan and food vendors, live music, light displays, a free hot chocolate station and cozy fire pits as they gaze at a giant beautiful Christmas tree in the centre of Rotary Square. Visitors will have the chance to meet Santa who has made the market his new home this holiday season. Families will also be able to enjoy an outdoor children’s zone full of free kids’ activities and entertainment.

A conceptual image of the new outdoor Holly Jolly Market.
Above: A conceptual image of the new outdoor Holly Jolly Market.

After enjoying the festivities outdoors, visitors can warm up inside Covent Garden Market and experience more vendors, festive décor and programming for families.

Throughout December, visual artists, selfie spots, a holiday window walk, and free activities will make this season extra merry as visitors window shop and stroll the streets. A festive carousel will offer rides on Dundas Place near Talbot Street from December 10 to December 11, and free horse-drawn carriage rides will transport visitors between Victoria Park and the Covent Garden Market on Thursdays and Sundays. Additional pop-up events are being coordinated by the Downtown London BIA across the downtown including along Richmond Row and Dundas Place.

Then, as the holiday season winds down at the end of the month, one last celebration is being planned as New Year’s Eve in the Park returns on December 31 after a two-year hiatus. Victoria Park will come alive with fireworks, free outdoor skating, live music, and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and take in the holiday lights in Victoria Park to celebrate the New Year.

A conceptual image of Victoria Park on New Year’s Eve.
Above: A conceptual image of Victoria Park on New Year’s Eve.

For more information and to stay in the loop, visit and follow Downtown for the Holidays on Facebook and Instagram.

Downtown for the Holidays is an outcome of the London Community Recovery Network and the collaboration of local organizations working together to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. London continues to face transformational effects caused by the pandemic, which heavily impacted the economic and social health of communities, families, and businesses. The London Community Recovery Network has been working to turn innovative ideas into realities that will build a strong and inclusive post-pandemic recovery for London.


Event details:

Lighting of the Lights at Victoria Park

  • Date: Friday, December 2
  • Time: 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Location: Victoria Park
  • Free to attend

The Holly Jolly Market at Covent Garden Market

  • Date: December 2 until December 18 every Thursday through Sunday
  • Location: Covent Garden Market
  • Free to attend

New Year’s Eve in the Park

  • Date: Saturday, December 31
  • Time: 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Location: Victoria Park
  • Free to attend



“All of these free holiday events are being coordinated together this year as part of a larger campaign to support the vibrancy of the downtown,” says Ryan Craven, Manager of Core Area Programs at the City of London. “By working together with our community partners, we hope to provide a memorable and exciting holiday experience for everyone and support economic recovery throughout the month of December.”

“Covent Garden Market will look magical this holiday season,” says Amy Shackleton, CEO and General Manager at Covent Garden Market. “By working with partners across London, we’re thrilled to be expanding this event outdoors to attract visitors downtown to local businesses and to the market’s indoor merchants.”

“This will be a December to remember downtown,” says Barbara Maly, Executive Director of Downtown London. “Downtown will be a cheerful destination for the holidays with several winter events throughout the area for visitors to attend. This will include many new experiences and timeless favourites.”

Last modified:Wednesday, November 16, 2022