London's skies to be filled with 'Northern Lights' over Christmas

Londoners need not catch a flight to Iceland or Norway to see the famous Aurora Borealis.

A recreation of the stunning Northern Lights will be brought to the capital next month as part of a series of light installations aiming to kick-start its tourism industry, which has taken a knock during the pandemic.

Designed by renowned artist Dan Archer, the ‘Borealis’ exhibition has toured around the world, from Switzerland to Japan, before making its way to London.

Free tickets are available online for the display, which will run in Guildhall Yard, the City of London between December 11 and 22.

The show is part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s £6million ‘Let’s Do London’ initiative – touted as ‘biggest domestic tourism campaign London has ever seen’.

Londoners will be treated to a series of light installations on bridges and the trees running along Southbank will be illuminated with vibrant colours.

An animal themed display will be erected at the Tower of London, while Canary Wharf will feature 20 light installations by some of the world’s most talented artists, as well as an ice rink and food stalls.

Khan said: ‘London is the best place in the world to celebrate the festive season and my Winter Lights program is bringing our world-renowned arts, culture, and heritage together to ensure our city sparkles and enthrals this year.

‘The Borealis spectacular will bring the magic of the Northern Lights to our city, London’s landmark bridges, buildings and trees will be illuminated along the Southbank and our world-famous Christmas lights, ice rinks and markets will ensure our city is gloriously decked out for Londoners and visitors to enjoy.’

The Mayor says the campaign aims to boost ‘London’s tourism and economy’ after suffering a massive loss due to the Covid pandemic.

Despite restrictions being lifted, the capital’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks display has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the ‘uncertainty’ caused by the virus.

Instead there will be a ticketed live show at Trafalgar Square, featuring live music, stage performances from some of the capital’s best-known artists, and food stalls.

The Winter Lights programme will coincide with the return of other iconic festive events, such as the much loved Winter Wonderland.

London’s tourism industry fell by more than £20billion in 2020, with hospitality, retail, and arts and culture taking a huge hit.

Designed to help bring back London’s economy after the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign has already contributed an estimated £70million back into the economy.

Khan added: ‘I’m determined to do all I can to support London’s economic recovery now, and in the years to come. But these sectors won’t be able to sustain pre-pandemic levels of employment until tourists return in significant numbers – so Government must act swiftly to prevent widespread job losses and the financial hardship this will bring for Londoners, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.

‘I’m urging Londoners and visitors to experience the best our capital has to offer and support our hospitality industry as much as possible.’

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