50,000 Londoners last night flocked to see the biggest-ever co-ordinated Christmas lights switch-on across the capital’s most famous high streets.

Regent Street Christmas lights 2009

Oxford Street, Regent Street and St Paul’s Cathedral played host to the celebrations, which were linked to the World Premiere of Disney’s A Christmas Carol, held in London’s Leicester Square last night.

Stars from the film including Jim Carey, Colin Firth and Bob Hoskins switched on the lights. Mayor of London Boris Johnson also attended.

More than 40 million shoppers are expected to visit London’s West End over the festive period.

With 50 shopping days left until Christmas, last night marked the start of the festive shopping period in the UK, according to the New West End Company, which helped host the event.