London is beginning sparkle as lights across the capital are turned on to mark the start of the festive season.

Covent Garden's Christmas lights switch on takes place on Tuesday (November 14), and kick-offs a jam-packed calendar of festive events happening around the capital's oldest market square.

The switch on extravaganza in Covent Garden's piazza will be led by special guests.

The cast of hit West End musical 42nd Street will be performing hits from the show and BBC Children in Need's Pudsey Bear will be helping to host the celebrations.

London’s largest hand-picked Christmas tree will stand 55ft high in the piazza, whose buildings will be wrapped in huge red ribbon bows.

A glittering reindeer decorates the front of the Covent Garden Market building.

More than 115,000 pea lights will illuminate the area as well as a glittering reindeer at the front of the Market Building.

Christmas Shopping

Stores across Covent Garden will be creating unique Christmas experiences, with exclusive gifts from luxury names such as Tom Ford, Monica Vinader, NARS, Atelier Cologne, Charlotte Tilbury and Petersham Nurseries among others.

Paul Smith, N. Peal and kikki K will be offering limited edition bespoke and personalised gifts in-store.

More than 115,000 pea lights will illuminate the area

And there will be a mulled wine pop-up with wreath making and gift-wrapping masterclasses at Noël.

Christmas lights to be switched on in Oxford Street, Bond Street and Southbank this week

Those planning to shop til they drop will be pleased to hear that Covent Garden is offering Dropit, a hands-free shopping service that lets customers drop purchases off in-store and have them delivered home or to a hotel at a later date.

A number of pop-up stores and art galleries will appear on Floral Street.

This includes Nick Knight’s SHOWStudio, neon artist Lauren Baker, Wantz, and Rakes Progress, a café from Peardrop.

From December 1 there will be an exclusive Christian Louboutin photography exhibition about the garden he created over 30 years in his French chateau.

London’s largest hand-picked Christmas tree will stand 55ft high in the piazza

Another Floral Street pop up includes Noël, the specially-curated Christmas shop showcasing highly crafted artisan festive products, designed and made by Britain's community of artists, designers and makers.

Noël stocks a range of Christmas cards and stationery, homeware, tree ornaments, art and children's gifts, in addition to London's finest hand-baked mince pies and Christmas puddings.

Stores across Covent Garden will be creating unique Christmas experiences with exclusive to Covent Garden gifts

Lidl is the first supermarket to unveil its Christmas advert

To Eat and Drink

Covent Garden restaurants Balthazar, Frenchie, Flat Iron and The Ivy Market Grill will also be creating special Christmas cocktails and festive menus to treat shoppers during the season.

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