Best festoon lights: 7 picks to make your garden sparkle

Festoon lights are such a quick and easy way to bring a laid back vibe to your garden, so here are our best picks for all budgets

Lights4fun festoon lights
(Image credit: Lights4fun)

We all love the look of festoon lights as they instantly create a chilled atmosphere in your garden. String them up in trees, over patios or around doorways to add a subtle glow to your outdoor space. They're also great for creating that boho feel that’s been so popular for the last few summers – combine with an outdoor sofa and a rug and you have a whole new look!

We have rounded up seven of the best festoon lights out there, with options to suit all budgets and gardens big or small. Plus, check out our best outdoor lights for even more brilliant ways to illuminate your space. 

The best festoon lights

Lights4fun festoon lights

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

1. Lights4fun 5m 20 Warm White LED Connectable Festoon Lights

The best overall festoon lights for any sized garden and for any style

Specifications
Energy source: Plug
Length: 5m - 40m
Number of lights: 20 - 160 LEDs
Reasons to buy
+Eight lighting effects to choose from +Personalise the colours of the wire and bulbs+Great for large gardens or events 
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive but they are very long lasting 

Our top pick of the best festoon lights come from Lights4fun. We love these lights because they give you so many options. You can pick the length you want, ranging from 5m to a massive 40m, choose the colour of the bulb and the colour of the wire. 

If you have a large garden or are buying for an event such as a garden party, these are by far the best choice. They also have eight light effects that you can match to the vibe of your garden.

Garden Trading Festoon Lights

(Image credit: Garden Trading )

2. Garden Trading Festoon Lights

Gorgeous traditional festoon lights that are great quality and long lasting

Specifications
Energy source: Plug
Length: 12.5 metres
Number of lights: 10/20 LEDs
Reasons to buy
+Clusters of lights in each bulb give a nice glow+Classic design +Well made and long lasting 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest of our picks 

These Garden Trading offerings make it into our list of the best festoon lights because they are as classic as festoon lights come. A thick black wire and big round bulbs are iconic, and we love the almost clunky (in a good way) look of them. 

Each of the 20 bulbs is actually filled with clusters of five tiny LED lights on a copper wire so you don’t get that direct bright light you can find with some festoon lights, this design creates more of an overall glow.

Dunelm festoon lights

(Image credit: Dunelm )

3. Dunelm Festoon Lights

The best festoon lights if you're buying on a budget

Specifications
Energy source: Plug
Length: 9.5m
Number of lights: 20 LEDs
Reasons to buy
+Great price+Produce a lovely warm glow+Quick delivery 
Reasons to avoid
-The plastic opaque bulbs do look quite inexpensive (but lovely when turned on)

If you're after some bargain festoon lights, this set from Dunelm is one of the cheapest we could find. The overall look once strung up is still lovely, you just don’t get the classic look of the clear bulbs – but for 20 quid we think they are great! 

You can also click and collect on the very same day so these lovely lights could be up in your garden by this evening.

Argos festoon lights

(Image credit: Argos)

4. Argos Home Solar 20 Festoon Warm White Lights

The best festoon lights that are solar powered

Specifications
Energy source: Solar powered
Length: 6m
Number of lights: 20
Reasons to buy
+Solar powered so no need to be near a socket +Great-value price 
Reasons to avoid
-On cloudy days they won’t be the brightest

If you are after solar powered festoon lights so you aren’t relying on a plug, this set from Argos would be perfect. If you need more than 20 bulbs, you could buy multiple sets and simply string them together.  

They are a great price and available for click and collect on the same day. They give off a lovely warm light and look just as stylish in the daylight too – they definitely look like they cost more than just £20!

Amazon festoon lights

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Festive Lights ConnectPro Outdoor Festoons

The best festoon lights for a beach vibe

Specifications
Energy source: Plug
Length: 5 - 50m
Number of lights: 10 - 100
Reasons to buy
+Stylish white cable+Two year warranty +Plenty of lengths to choose from 
Reasons to avoid
-Bulbs are not replaceable 

If you prefer more of a beach vibe in your garden, a white cable could be a better option. This set from Amazon is really hard wearing thanks to the rubber cable, which is more malleable than the PVC cables you get and therefore less likely to snap when you wrap it around trees or furniture. 

The lights come with a two-year warranty, so you can replace them if anything goes wrong. Plus, if you have a larger garden you can combine multiple sets to create up to 800m of fairy lights!

John Lewis & Partners Festoon Outdoor Line Lights, Clear

(Image credit: John Lewis)

6. John Lewis & Partners Festoon Outdoor Line Lights

The best festoon lights for dining

Specifications
Energy source: Plug
Length: 9.5m
Number of lights: 10
Reasons to buy
+Emit a beautiful warm glow+Energy-efficient LEDs+20,000-hour lifespan 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most affordable

For a chic and classy look, these lights from John Lewis are ideal. Suitable for use both indoors and outdoors, they emit a classic white light, perfect for long meals outside during the summer. Granted, you only get 10 bulbs, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to entertaining, sometimes less is more. 

Plus, this choice offers a reasonable five metres between the power supply and the first bulb, so you should be able to illuminate your garden table with ease. While they do cost a little more than other options, the quality glass finish compensates for the expense.

OxyLED Outdoor LED Garden String Light

(Image credit: OxyLED)

7. OxyLED Outdoor LED Garden String Lights

The best festoon lights for consistent use

Specifications
Energy source: Plug
Length: 39m
Number of lights: 40
Reasons to buy
+Feature two spare bulbs+Low energy consumption+Last more than three years
Reasons to avoid
-Quite expensive

If you're after a strong and trusty choice, these lights from OxyLED are your go-to. Thanks to the plastic construction, this option is well suited to handle gusts of wind and accidents without smashing like the glass alternatives. 

Appropriate for indoor and outdoor usage, they are IP65 waterproof, snowproof, sunproof and windproof, so you'll get more than your money's worth. Oh, and if worst comes to worst, there's always the spares. One other thing: this isn't a big energy guzzler, so you'll be doing your bit, too.

How to choose the best festoon lights

Finding the right festoon lights for your needs requires a little bit of thought. To help make the hunt that bit easier, we've drawn up a few key considerations and questions you might have in mind when planning your festoon light ideas.

Garden size
If you're used to having plenty of guests over for long summer evenings, then the chances are, you've got a relatively spacious garden. If this is the case, you'll want to make sure you can sufficiently illuminate the area you intend to seat your guests in, and pairing festoon lights with the best garden furniture will ensure your get-togethers can continue long into the evening. 

For larger spaces, this will likely also mean the more bulbs and the longer the wire, the better. Oh, and if you're a little stuck on how to go about arranging your lights, don't sweat it. Check out our ingenious outdoor lighting ideas for the best tips and tricks.

Shine bright
When weighing up how bright you'd like your lights to be, ask yourself what kind of vibe you're keen to curate. For some people, a dimmer or more dispersed lighting set-up might be better, particularly if you want romance, ambience or intimacy. That said, some options might prove a little too dim for the task at hand. For example, if you're hosting in the daytime and it's a little overcast, the solar options might not cut it. Of course, solar choices are kind on the environment. Have a penchant for sun-powered garden accessories? Go ahead and explore our guide on the best solar lights.

Glow up
What kind of glow are you after? Some of the festoon lights out there offer you the option to choose the colour of the bulb, which is perfect if you are particularly picky regarding colour schemes – don't worry, we are too. As well as this, you might be looking to add a touch of life to the party with some light effects. Of course, it's hard to go wrong with a simple but delightfully warm white glow, for which some of the more classic options are your best bet. Plus, if you want to complete that rustic, glowy outdoor set-up, you can also explore our guide on the best fire pits. Bonfire, anyone?

What is festoon lighting?
It might seem silly, but it's a completely valid question. With so many different but similar lighting styles out there, the options can blur into one. With that in mind, it's good to be clued up. Festoon lighting is what you probably associate with the fairgrounds in classic fifties American movies. Often characterised by oversized bulbs, festoon lights are typically white, although nowadays there are hundreds of different colourways out there. 

Can you replace bulbs on festoon lights?
A very important factor indeed. Some options, as you'll discover, come with spare bulbs included, while some do not. As well as this, some options require that replacement bulbs be bought from the exact same brand or retailer. For this reason, it is always advisable to read the product descriptions and details carefully, and if in doubt, enquire with the retailer or manufacturer.

Are festoon lights waterproof?
Having surveyed a fair few options out there, we would say that, generally speaking, most festoon lights are water-resistant to the degree required for use outdoors. However, it is worth noting that most are not entirely waterproof, so flooding or direct submersion underwater would not likely be covered.