Canary Wharf Lights Festival


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Canary Wharf Lights Festival is one of the much-anticipated events in London. Started to brighten the cold winter season, Canary Wharf Lights Festival has transformed into one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

Serving the locals and other travelers for many years now, Canary Wharf Light Festival is committed to displaying a number of light artworks around the area.

Canary Wharf Lights Festival
Festival highlights

About Canary Wharf Lights Festival

But because of the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, the yearly light festival was postponed. The organizers launched a more Covid-safe version of the Christmas light show called Connected by Light. It showcased a curated collection of new light installations, bringing some festive cheer to the place and giving the locals an opportunity to smile. 

In addition to the new light installations, Connected by Light also displayed Canary Wharf’s art collection. It is estimated to be approximately 75 pieces of artwork. 

While there are many light displays to choose from, Elisa Artesero’s Stories Under Our Feet, Hawthorn’s Newfoundland Reflections, Parker Heyl’s Office Party, Curious Fluorious sees Baker and Borowski, and Squidsoup were the top favorites for many. 

If you love poetry, Artero’s Stories Under Our Feet is an excellent choice. The way the poem is presented is out of the box and jawdropping as the text falls and disappears from benches.

For those who are a die-hard fan of Alice in Wonderland, Curious Fluorious sees Baker and Borowski as the place to go to. Every sculpture-like piece comes with an enchanting glow that you will surely not forget. 

Festival Dates

Canary Wharf Lights Festival is usually held in the last quarter of the year. It starts from December to January. With the cancellation of the Canary Wharf Lights in 2020, the organizers launched Connected by Lights that lasted for around two months. It was open to the public from December 2 to February 27, 2021/22

Where It’s Located and How to Get There?

As the name implies, the light festival is located in the Canary Wharf. Canary Wharf is a central business district in the capital city of England – London for those who do not know yet. Besides being one of the financial centers in the UK, Canary Wharf contains a number of high-rise buildings. It is where to find One Canada Square – the third-tallest building in the UK.

To go to the Canary Wharf, there are many ways to consider. You could take the bus, the train, the tube, the DRL, or the River Bus.

If you are taking the bus to Canary Wharf, it lasts for a few minutes, depending on your location. If you are from Woolwich Arsenal, Woolwich would require around 55 minutes to reach the Canary Wharf.

Festival Hours 

The Christmas light festival is typically open for the public from dusk till 10 pm every day. That’s a lot of time to enjoy the light display, right? You are also free to take pictures to document every remarkable moment.

Cost to Visit the Festival 

The public can witness the Canary Wharf Lights Festival without any cost. Yes, there are no tickets to buy. You can explore people’s artwork first hand at no cost.

Your expenses only include public transport and food. That’s it! This Christmas light show is suitable for those who are on a budget.

Weather and What to Wear 

It is cold in Canary Wharf in December. The average temperature is around 41 degrees Fahrenheit. It increases up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit and decreases up to 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since it is cold and you need to get out of your car to maximize your experience, wear a fashionable yet cozy outfit.

You could particularly wear a baselayer, layer a long-sleeve shirt, add a sweatshirt or fleece, use a jacket designed for the long cold season, use jeans, wear wool socks, and employ hats. That’s it! There is no complicated procedure to follow and remember. Always aim for style and comfort, too.

Where to Sleep?

Canary Wharf is considered an area of work without play. People believe that it is a world of corporate employees in skyscraper offices. But if you are in the UK for vacation or business, you will finally find out that Canary Wharf has many things to offer that you cannot see from other cities.

Below, we have collected some of the best hotels around Canary Wharf:

Lansbury Heritage Hotel

Have you been searching for a boutique hotel without a good result? You will be in good hands with Lansbury Heritage Hotel. In fact, it is the only boutique hotel that Canary Wharf could offer.

Its exterior design is superb. The rooms are grand with a blend of high-end amenities and Regency elegance. Overall, it offers 25 rooms. Each boasts a flat screen TV, state-of-the-art bathroom, and a fridge. Also, it provides other services like a sauna.

Novotel London Canary Wharf Hotel

Although it is new to the industry, Novotel has established its credibility and reputation despite the intense competition.

Year after year, people switch to Novotel. Thanks to its impressive rooftop bar and picturesque views.

But wait, there’s more! It is home to locally inspired design nods – home to copper fixtures and hurricane lamps.

DoubleTree Docklands Riverside

Last but definitely not the least is the DoubleTree Docklands Riverside. Whether you want to witness the dazzling views of the UK’s 17th century wharf, DoubleTree Docklands Riverside will be your best bet. Established in a factory building, this hotel prides itself with ceiling beams, brick walls, and original windows.

The rooms are extremely more peaceful than expected. Other amenities include a flat screen TV, desk space, oversized bathtubs, and a strong internet connection

What to Eat

There are more things to find in the glittering skyscrapers. Restaurants are among the favorite destinations not to overlook.

The Breakfast Club

It takes a few hours or days to explore a destination in London, and you can’t do that on an empty stomach. Taking a delicious breakfast is a perfect start to your day, and the Breakfast Club can do the trick. It provides strong options, including bacon-topped pancakes, Disco fries in cheese, and more. It hosts Olde Towne Tavern – a Northern-inspired venue for a cocktail bar. While you take a sip of your favorite liquor, you could enjoy the shimmering disco ball.


Eating a heavy breakfast is not for all. Many people prefer a cup of hot coffee, and the Canary Wharf is where to find Notes. Compared to other choices, Notes prepares beans in its own roastery to take the quality of its coffee to the next level. Notes also specializes in other services, including craft beer, wine, and all-day dining. Similar to its coffee products, its wine and beer are superb and addicting. Aside from Notes in Canary Wharf, it has locations in other popular districts throughout London.

Wharf Kitchen

For all your lunch needs, Wharf Kitchen can come into play. The menus will always go beyond your imagination and expectation. Food choices are smashed avocado and Austrian gulasch. There are organic drinks to try, including cocktails, Columbian coffee, and juices. Wharf Kitchen has a fashionably bare setting that you can’t resist. It is also a very relaxing place to unwind.

More Things to Do in the Area

Yes, Canary Wharf is a busy area. But it has more to offer that can catch your attention and interest as a traveler. More than the skyscrapers and bridges, it is home to the following tourist destinations:

Canary Wharf Crossrail Roof Gardens

2020 was one of the most challenging years of the 21st century. Perhaps, you lost someone during the Covid-19 pandemic. Maybe, you lost your job. It is normal to feel stressed about everything you have gone thru. But do not get stuck to it for years.

It is time to take a break, and Canary Wharf Crossrail Roof Gardens is a good spot to relax. It prides itself with an urban jungle situated on its rooftop. It consists of various plants you would love to look at. This botanical garden provides workshops, performances, and other free events.

Billingsgate Market

Before, Canary Wharf was an active trading port. Everything changed today. It is not as active as it was years ago. Despite that, you can still find a large amount of food trading, particularly in the Billingsgate Market – considered the largest fish market in the UK. It is estimated that over 25,000 tonnes of fish products are sold in the Billingsgate Market alone every year.

One Canada Square

While there are many skyscrapers in Canary Wharf, One Canada Square really stands out from the rest. Aside from being the third tallest building, One Canada Square is Britain’s largest one, measuring 400,000 sq meters. It consists of over 50 floors, and it has withstood the test of time since 1991.

But it is sad to know that One Canada Square is not open to the public. However, you could visit the building and be mesmerized by its stunning and magnificent architecture.

So, what are you waiting for? Canary Wharf is an excellent tourist destination you cannot afford to ignore!

Arik Akunis
Arik Akunis

My name is Arik Akunis and I have been in the field of lighting for over the last 20 years, I started my journey in the world of lighting in the lighting niche for events where I first came across a festival of lights and immediately fell in love with it.

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