The Christmas shopping and dining experience is one of the most memorable and cherished occasions in the calendar, and this year West End retailers and restaurateurs are coming together as part of #MyWestEnd to orchestrate a series of Traffic Free Saturdays in the lead up to Christmas. On Saturday 5th, 12th and 19th December Regent Street will be pedestrianised 10am – 9pm and visitors are encouraged to explore the unique shops, restaurants and world-class Christmas installations throughout the West End.
This initiative is to encourage visitors back to the beating heart of the capital, known for history, architecture, style, independent shops, exclusive products, iconic flagships and experiences that are only available in London’s West End.
Shop the International flagship stores on Regent Street, see the heartfelt Oxford Street Christmas light installation in partnership with Selfridges, eat in one of Carnaby’s 60+ unique restaurants, discover the wonder wood Christmas tree forest in Covent Garden, get a personalised shopping experience at Burlington Arcade, see a show at one of the iconic West End theatres, visit the Bond Street experiential Christmas tree, shop in Soho’s independent stores and be immersed under a sky of colourful lanterns in Chinatown.
Brian Bickell, Chief Executive of Shaftesbury, said:
“Traffic-free Saturdays are an excellent way to encourage people to return to the West End in the build-up to Christmas. In a normal year, the heart of London would be full of people enjoying the different festive experiences that the West End has to offer and supporting the retail and hospitality businesses that form such a key part of the London economy. The festive spirit is alive and well in the West End this Christmas with amazing lights, decorations and vibrant places to visit and we have worked hard to ensure visitors can do so in as safe an environment as possible.”
Jace Tyrrell, Chief Executive at New West End Company said: “The West End will be open to all shoppers who want to enjoy a festive experience like no other while shopping for their last few Christmas gifts, but importantly in a safe and sustainable way. We have 50% fewer people than last year that can get to the West End as tourists are not visiting this season, and we hope that Londoners will take advantage of the spacious and secure environment to enjoy the unique festive offerings of the West End. Businesses have invested millions in ensuring that it is safe and secure for colleagues and customers, and we want to reassure our customers that Christmas can still be enjoyed, and to come and support our hard-hit businesses and get some much needed festive cheer.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Visiting the West End at Christmas is a magical experience offering something for everyone, so I’m delighted that Londoners will be able to soak up the atmosphere in safety and comfort during these traffic-free days. Businesses across London have worked incredibly hard to make their premises Covid-safe, and I am really pleased that they are able to open their doors again. Supporting retailers and restauranteurs over the Christmas period will help them now and in the future, as they play a key role in London’s economic recovery. I’m urging Londoners to enjoy the festive period in the capital safely. We have all made sacrifices over recent weeks and months, and it is crucial that the Christmas period doesn’t see a reversal of the progress made in getting on top of the virus – especially when a vaccine is in sight.”
James Cooksey, Director of Central London at The Crown Estate said: “Regent Street is incredibly special at this time of year, so we’re delighted to be able to welcome our shoppers and visitors back to the West End, to take in our Christmas lights and enjoy everything our restaurants and retailers have to offer. These car free days are a really welcome opportunity to enjoy a more spacious, sustainable Regent Street, and we’re continuing to build on these benefits, with works underway to widen pavements and introduce more cycling facilities and greenery.”
Leader of Westminster, Cllr Rachael Robathan said: “Traffic-free Saturday is just one of the ways we are working with retailers and the great estates to ensure the West End is as welcoming as possible. It has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone, but I hope in the days before Christmas people feel confident to come back and see what a fantastic area this is – with unequalled shopping, restaurants and culture. The council has put in place the extra pavement space and social signage that make the West End a safe place to be. Lots of things have been cancelled this year but Christmas is most definitely on – so let’s rally behind our retailers and really enjoy some festive cheer.”