My Illuminating Birthday with Lumiere London

Seeing London in a whole new light.

For my birthday this year I wanted to do something:

  1. different
  2. fun
  3. and that involved minimal organisation on my part

Lumiere London was a perfect answer to all of those things and it was FREE!  It was a light festival held over four days that saw iconic architecture around the capital transformed with 3D light projections, interactive installations and other extraordinary light artworks.  It has been going on in Durham for the last three years and I had seen some photos of my friend attend Lumiere Durham in December 2015.  So I had said next year I would go up to Durham to see it.  Imagine my delight when it was fulfilled in less than 15 days of 2016 as it came to London for the first time!

So I organised my interactive and illuminating walking celebration around the festival as my birthday event, as it is always better to do fun things with other people.  There were different areas that were playing host to these light works so I selected the route and off we went, starting at Westminster Abbey and ending in Carnaby.

From Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, The Strand, Leicester Square, Piccadilly, Regent Street, Oxford Circus and Carnaby.

Here is my journey along in pictures and videos and the delights we got to see…..

Please click on the links for description of the artwork 

Westminster Abbey – The Light of the Spirit by Patrick Warrener

Such brilliance


This was such a beautiful start to our walk! Westminster Abbey is architecturally very beautiful but the projection of light highlighted the tiny details that I would have naturally glossed over such as the crests surrounding the technicolour statuettes of the martyrs and the Queen’s Royal Coat of Arms. Did you know it includes a unicorn? No neither did I!

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Smiling with the guard










We walked along Whitehall up to Trafalgar Square and I thought it a perfect opportunity to get a cheeky night time picture with one of the guards!

Also as we walked along one of my friends was surprised to find that Downing Street was off here after having lived in London for years!  That’s what I love about walking the things you can discover because I’m sure many a time she has passed here on the bus without knowing that it passes Downing Street.

We then arrived at Trafalgar Square and was greeted by two installations that were thought provoking as they highlighted two main humanitarian issues.


Plastic Islands created by the anonymous artistic group Luzinterruptus invaded one of the water fountains of Trafalgar Square focused on the issue of marine pollution caused by plastic bottles.


Centre Point Lights was taken down from its former home of the Centre Point Building found on New Oxford Street and was positioned in front of the steps leading to the National Portrait Gallery.  The Centre Point Grade II listed building has long been associated with the housing charity Centrepoint as a symbol for the plight of the homeless in London.



The Strand – Neon Dogs by Deepa Mann-Kler 

These colourful cannines were housed inside the queen’s bank Coutts and were inspired by balloon dogs often seen at children’s parties.

We then headed to the wonderful magical Garden of Light by the French collective TILT in Leicester Square. This was breathtaking as I just felt I had entered another world full of weird and wonderful species of plants of lights.

We wandered down to Piccadilly and then became enchanted by the dream-like creatures the Lumineoles by Porte par le vent that floated through the air complete with dream-like wintery music (check out my Instagram for the video)

Piccadilly’s offering took me down streets that I had never been down before (and I wander ALOT) and buildings I had not known what they were including 195 Piccadilly which is the BAFTA building.  This installation created by NOVAK showreeled through different genres of film and tv using images from BAFTA’s archive.

Regent Street provided me with much amusement as I stumbled upon an elephant’s bum as I turned the corner! An elephant just randomly lost in the city making his/her journey through Regent Street’s archways.  It was just too Elephantastic so all you can hear are my giggles! (#sorrynotsorry)

Keyframes by Groupe LAPS gave me childhood delight as I watched the stick men jump about all over the Liberty House and bring the building to life.  There were lots of different sequences and the one below is just one that I got to capture.

As it came to 10.30pm and the close of our fantastic walk we hurried to see if we could catch any sights in Carnaby Street.  I’m so glad we tried our luck before they turned the lights out as we got to see a shimmering dress frozen yet changing colours in Liberty’s shop window.

Dresses by Tae Gon Kim

Then we caught Shaida Walking to Carnaby which was so cool, simple and captivating.  So glad I caught these last two installations!  

I believe I executed my illuminating birthday walk pretty well with a total of 24 friends showing up along the way! Thank you guys for making my birthday memorable!

T for Tayo!
T for Tayo!

Some photo credits to friends including Assumpta Ozua at Me Today, You Tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “My Illuminating Birthday with Lumiere London

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