With festive window displays, mulled cider stalls, and Christmas delights being sold on what seems like every corner, shopping in London in December can sometimes be a little overwhelming.
So, to help you get the very best out of London’s West End, a group of companies have commissioned illustrator Olivia Brotheridge to delineate the area’s top festive sights. The result is a map which gives you all the Christmas feels.
The illustration extends across the West End, from Marble Arch to Holborn, and covers attractions from shopping destinations Selfridges and Liberty, to cultural hubs such as the National Gallery and the Royal Opera House, plus favourite treat spots The Ritz and The Royal Arcade.
And if you don’t know where you’re going, fear not. The map also includes walking distances from the West End’s four main tube stops.
Coloured in rich purple, and covered in Christmas lights, the map has illustrations of champagne, hot chocolate, pale ale, cocktails and mince pies floating over your favourite West End destinations, to really get you in the holiday mood.
‘I’ve made quite a few festive maps before but this is the first one I’ve set in nighttime with a focus on all the Christmas lights as well as other attractions,’ says Brotheridge, who specialises in illustrated maps. ‘I love that each area of the West End has its own characteristic lights and I’ll be heading there this weekend to finally explore in real life.’
Each illustration on the map works like an advent calendar window, begging to be explored. For example, did you know that The Connaught Hotel’s Christmas tree has been designed by artists Annie Morris and Idris Khan? Or that the Christmas lights in Soho this year are based on drawings made by students at the Soho Parish School, and that there is a walking tour you can take to explore them?
Other sights highlighted on the map include Yuri Suzuki’s interactive sound installation ‘Sonic Bloom’ in Mayfair, and Grosvenor Square’s tranquil ‘Ever After Garden’, which will be illuminated with thousands of white roses in aid of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity throughout December.
Brotheridge adds that the map is ‘definitely a career highlight seeing twinkling lights, snowfall and chinking glasses across the map. Plus there is more yet to launch and I’m really excited to see how that looks.’
An interactive AR version of the map has been launched. You can download the map from Oxford Street’s website for free.