Now that the holidays are right around the corner, London is changing into its festive gear, and that means: LIGHTS. Being from Pittsburgh, I expect a quite extra type of celebration. We have this event called Light Up Night, which is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a big deal for us Yinzers. Everyone and their mother’s friend’s cousin goes into the city to skate, drink, and watch the city become further illuminated.
It’s like Pittsburgh’s own little holiday in itself. Because Pittsburgh is quite a bit smaller than London, I was expecting Light Up Night x 20. Different parts of London light up on different days, and I planned to see Oxford Street switch into Christmas mode since it’s conveniently close to my work.
I was permitted to leave work early to see the switch since it was planned to happen at 6 and that’s when I usually get off. I left around 5:50 and headed to the famous street. I was attempting to meet up with my friends, but I soon realised the improbability of that when I struggled to push even a few steps through the massive crowd.
During my struggle, and to my surprise, the lights just flicked on without any buildup or warning, and it was also a few minutes earlier than promoted. A wave of disappointment suddenly washed over me. I went there with high expectations due to my upbringing in Pittsburgh. I’m not mad that I went, the lights themselves are beautiful. I just wanted/needed more of a punch.
A few days after this sad occurrence, my one friend mentioned going to Regent Street’s lights turn on. This street is right by Oxford Street, and because of my lacklustre experience with that, I denied her request. Big mistake. Unknown to me, Regent Street has one of the bigger more festive events in London. If I’m correct, there were musical performances AND fireworks. That’s the kind of cheesy Christmas fun I was craving.
My advice to those in London looking to see lights turn on: There are multiple options and they are worth researching. I made the mistake of assuming Oxford Street would have a spectacular show. Read reviews, ask around.