The most beautiful festival London has to offer returns this week to lift our spirits, and it is free. At the darkest time of the year, Lumiere London places spectacular lighting installations around the city, so inventive and colourful that they invite you to gaze in awe.
A favourite of mine at 2016’s inaugural festival was the vast abstract shape that floated over Oxford Circus, majestically cycling through the colours from cobalt to crimson. Les Lumineoles, the fish over Regent Street, were another highlight. This year Oxford Circus is being pedestrianised and will display Miguel Chevalier’s luminous, everchanging Origin of the World Bubble 2018. Westminster Abbey is another site not to miss, its intricate carved front transformed with rainbow colours by French light artist Patrice Warrener’s The Light Of The Spirit.
The festival website has route suggestions, and if you wear comfy shoes you can get round many the major installations on foot, perhaps heading southwards from Oxford Street towards the South Bank, or east from Westminster towards Leicester Square. Pop into coffee shops to warm up along the way, or combine it with a trip to your favourite restaurant in the middle of town.
Lumiere London runs 5.30-10.30pm across four nights from January 18-21, at more than 50 locations around central London.
It’s the film awards season, and two of the movies staking early claims to Oscars glory open in cinemas today, Friday January 12. Darkest Hour (PG), starring British actors Gary Oldman (in the running for Best Actor) and Kristin Scott Thomas, is a stirring tale of Winston Churchill’s indomitable wartime leadership. Biting black comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (15) has already won Best Film at the Golden Globes, and stars Frances McDormand (Best Actress) as a mother who takes out adverts criticising the police for failing to catch her daughter’s murderer. See them at the Odeon Wimbledon from today. If you like to be first, another award-nominated film, the Disney-Pixar animation Coco, is previewing this weekend, before it opens on Friday January 19.
Don’t miss Keiron Marshall, guitarist and co-founder of the Sound Lounge, who is playing a soulful set of Chicago blues at the Sound Lounge in Wimbledon tonight (Friday January 12) from 8.30pm. Free.
Have a great week, and keep an eye on Twitter for more upcoming events.