The Churchill Arms switches on a record-breaking 135,000 lights
Each year The Churchill Arms in Kensington transforms into a Christmas spectacle and this year is no different, with the UK's most festive pub switching on a record-breaking 135,000 lights.
The Churchill Arms in west London has become famous for its extravagant Christmas decorations. This year took a team of the pub’s dedicated decorators over a month to complete. The planning always starts in the summer when the pub's famous flower display comes down, and the lights start to go up from October, starting from the top of and working down. It's no easy job as the decorating has to take place early in the morning at around 5am when the roads are most quiet, then they are finished at around 10am before the pub gets ready to open.
This year was the 30th year of the display. It originally started with 10 trees and grew each year. 2019 was a record-breaking year for trees with 100 trees as part of the display.
The Churchill Arms team is already planning for next year. James Keogh, the General Manager at the Churchill Arms says, “Christmas is very special here at The Churchill Arms and we love bringing happiness and joy to our customers each year and getting everyone into the festive spirit during the first week of December.”
“I can’t give away too much, but we’re already planning something really special for next year.”
“We like a challenge. It’s taken 30 years to get to this point and it’s become a tradition that everyone looks forward to each year."
London’s most photographed pub
Built in 1750, The Churchill Arms is one of London’s most recognisable and famous watering holes, largely due to being covered in flowers outside of the festive period and crammed with Churchill memorabilia.
The pub was frequented by Churchill’s grandparents back in the day, and today it’s known for serving real ales, authentic Thai cuisine, and for being London’s most ‘instagrammable’ pub.
The Churchill Arms has become world famous for its creative and beautiful flower displays which first went on the pub's exterior in 1986. Christmas time sees the pub exchanging the flowers for Christmas trees, twinkling lights and lots of decorations – creating a Christmas spectacle worth making a special trip to see. When you walk past, it’s hard to resist stopping to take a photo.
New Christmas decorations are added inside and out each year. James said the time and money spent on the exterior of The Churchill Arms is all worthwhile.
“The joy it brings people makes it all worth it. We always get lots of coverage in the news and social media goes through the roof each year – especially Instagram. People stop to take photos of the place – it’s so magical and beautiful."
“It’s amazing what it does for business. It brings people to the pub and not just for Christmas – it’s all year round, we’ve become a tourist destination. People from all over the world come to visit our pub after seeing us on television or online.”
Visit the UK’s most festive pub
Make sure you visit The Churchill Arms before Christmas to see the UK’s most Christmassy pub for yourself. The Christmas display will be up until the 6th January.
The official switch-on always takes place outside The Churchill Arms pub at 6pm on the first Thursday of December each year.
Located at 119 Kensington Church Street, London.
Visit The Churchill Arms’ website to find out more: The Churchill Arms, Kensington.