Australian pop star Kylie Minogue flicked the switch on London's famous Oxford Street Christmas lights on Sunday night in front of thousands of fans. Silver lights and 445 golden baubles have been installed along the street to create the effect of falling snowflakes.

For the first time the street was closed to all traffic ahead of the switch-on. Another first was that the lights have been turned on much earlier than ever before – on 1 November, a move criticised by some on social media but defended by organisers.

"It is the earliest we have done this year, " said Jace Tyrell from the New West End Company "But we wanted to try a Sunday switch-on, which we have never done before.

"[There are] a lot of families out here and it's half-term as well, so we are seeing a lot of kids here and the atmosphere's fantastic, so it's been very good for people here and obviously the retailers as well."