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Published on: 3 December 2021

Last updated: 21 December 2021

Magical Christmas experience opens in the heart of London

Westminster City Council has launched its Christmas experience for families, ‘Westminster Elves’.

Local residents, families and visitors can scan a QR code, open a microsite and be transported into the Westminster Elves’ world at four landmark locations.

Across Piccadilly Circus, Marble Arch Mound, Soho Square and Hanover Square, the Elves will be sprinkling their Christmas magic with the help of augmented reality (AR) technology. From throwing snowballs, sharing a magical moment with Santa’s reindeer, glimpsing inside Mr Claus’ workshop and seeing Santa himself, families looking to get out and about this Christmas can enjoy a fun and free experience across London.

It’s also a perfect picture opportunity, and visitors have the chance to win a £50 Love To Shop voucher for the best photo with the Westminster Elves. All they need to do is take a fun picture of themselves, a friend or family member alongside the Elves at one of the four locations and DM it to our @CityWestminster social accounts.

The competition will close and the winner will be announced on 28th December.

Visitors can enjoy the experience at with QR codes and instructions displayed on the floor at each location.

At Piccadilly Circus, the codes are opposite Lillywhites; at Soho Square, they are accessible near the central Tudor House; at Hanover Square, they are on the pavements leading into the square; and at Marble Arch Mound they are displayed on posters attached to the railings. 

Each site has different closing times – Soho Square and Hanover Square shut at dusk, the Marble Arch Mound is open until 8pm and Piccadilly Circus is open 24 hours a day.

From 9am on 23 December the experience can be accessed from anywhere by visiting on a smartphone, clicking on a location and then launching the experience.

Commenting on the launch, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Aruj Haider said:

Christmas is such a magical time of year in London and our Westminster Elves aim to spread a little extra festive magic across four of our most beloved landmarks. We hope families and visitors can get out and about in Westminster this year, soaking up its festive atmosphere, and enjoy a free family-friendly experience.

Councillor Paul Swaddle, Cabinet Member for Finance and Smart City at Westminster City Council, said:

Westminster Elves is a new, free and inventive way for people to enjoy Christmas in the West End safely this year, and hopefully brings a different, fun and festive experience to life for both our residents and visitors. Our aim with this AR project is to create innovative spaces where the local community and visitors can come together, and is part of our wider Smart Cities initiative, which aims to create an inclusive smart city for anyone who lives in, works in or visits the city.