Best festoon lights: 8 picks to illuminate your space in style

Set the mood with the best festoon lights to brighten up your outdoor space

Image of Lights4fun festoon lights strung over garden party scene
(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Looking for the best festoon lights to illuminate your garden this summer? This detailed guide will tell you everything you need to know about the top-rated picks by the Gardeningetc team, to keep your garden party or alfresco lunch perfectly lit – and to create all of the ambience your wish for.

There are so many festoon light ideas out there, from trailing around tree trunks to suspending over your outdoor dining table, meaning that if armed with a set of festoon lights, you'll really be able to get creative with your setup. You can also use these lights to adorn your outbuilding or front door to elevate your hosting experience. 

Extend your outdoor social activities with the help of these lights too, which allow you to keep the lighting just right even when the sun goes down. For now, all you need to do is make your way through this list of the very best festoon light picks, with products to suit absolutely every budget or garden. Check out our best outdoor lights for even more brilliant ways to illuminate your space. 


The best festoon lights

Image of Lights4Fun Connectable Festoon Lights

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)
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1. Lights4Fun Core Connect 20m 40 Warm White Connectable Festoon Lights

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

Specifications

Energy source: Plug
Length: 20m
Number of lights: 10

Reasons to buy

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You can connect up to 75m of these lights
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Simple connectors to set things up
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Great for large gardens or events 
+
Warm white light looks lovely 

Reasons to avoid

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On the pricier side but easy to connect and high-quality 

'These festoon lights are super easy to use and will give any patio space a lovely warm glow after dark. One of the best things about them is that if you want to light a larger area you can simply connect multiple sets together so that you only need to use one power source. I have two sets of the 10m Warm White lights in my own garden, and they easily stretch around the edge of my patio. The rubber cable is really durable, and the lights are hard-wearing too - I even accidentally dropped one of the sets on the paving slabs and the bulbs didn't break. I've used them for a few summers now (and even over winter) and they are still going strong.' Beth Murton, Editor of Gardeningetc

Our top pick of the best festoon lights come from Lights4fun and are the absolute top of the class when it comes to connecting multiple streams of lights up together. You can pick the exact length you want by simply connecting another set, with a lovely warm yellow glow created.

If you have a large garden or are buying for an event such as a garden party, these are by far the best choice, as attested to by our Editor, Beth Murton. These lights have 10 bulbs evenly spaced across each line, and you can connect up to 75m of lights. 

Garden Trading Black Festoon Classic Lights

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

2. Garden Trading Black Festoon Classic 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

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Clusters of lights in each bulb give a nice glow
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Classic design 
+
Well made and long lasting 

Reasons to avoid

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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. There's also plenty to be said for the durability of these lights, which aren't flimsy in the slightest, though that probably adds to the overall more expensive cost.

Image of Dunelm LED lights being used against white backdrop

(Image credit: Dunelm)

3. Dunelm 20 Festoon White LED 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

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Great price
+
Produce a lovely warm glow
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Quick delivery 

Reasons to avoid

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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, as long as you don't mind the look of them when they're not in use. 

This particular set of lights is a very good length too, allowing you to illuminate a fair stretch of your garden. You can also click and collect on the very same day so these lovely lights could be up in your garden by this evening.

Habitat Solar 20 Festoon Warm White Lights - unlit

(Image credit: Habitat)
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4. Habitat 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

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Solar powered so no need to be near a socket 
+
Great-value price means you stock up on more sets 

Reasons to avoid

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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. As with any solar-powered purchase, these lights won't be the most reliable for overcast days, but in the height of summer they should serve you well.

Festive Lights ConnectPro Outdoor Festoons

(Image credit: Festive Lights Store)

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

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Stylish white cable
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Two year warranty 
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Plenty of lengths to choose from 
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Excellent for larger gardens

Reasons to avoid

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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

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

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

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Emit a beautiful warm glow
+
Energy-efficient LEDs
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20,000-hour lifespan 

Reasons to avoid

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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, and you know that the quality of these bulbs will be worth their price too.

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 Lights

(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

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Feature two spare bulbs
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Low energy consumption
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Last more than three years

Reasons to avoid

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Likely not as powerful as plug-in options

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.

Image of exposed festoon lights hanging down

(Image credit: Oliver Bonas )

8. Oliver Bonas Cluster Outdoor Festoon Lights

The best festoon lights for an outdoor dinner party centrepiece

Specifications

Energy source: Battery
Size: 98.2cm x W 17.5cm x D 17.5cm
Number of lights : 5

Reasons to buy

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A unique look for your dinner table
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Durable and long battery life 
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Fully assembled on delivery

Reasons to avoid

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Not suitable for illuminating large areas, more of a centrepiece

Go for something a little different with this wonderful festoon light cluster from Oliver Bonas. Your outdoor dinner setting will never look better, with this rustic light centrepiece there to illuminate your next garden party or alfresco occasion. There are five bulbs with eight flashing settings or a simple steady glow to keep the ambiance at just the right level too. 

Hanging from varying lengths, this festoon light pick is a unique and stylish way to light up your table. Reviewers who have tried and loved these lights say that they are also very robust, which is good for ensuring peace of mind with your purchase. They also say that they have excellent battery life and a solid feel. One reviewer even said they liked them so much they went and bought a second pair straightaway.


How we chose these festoon lights

We've tried some of the best festoon lights in our own homes, which we've indicated where we've given our own views on how they operate. Those lights that we haven't had a chance to test out yet, we have added to this guide based on a number of factors, including cross-referencing specifications and features from retailers and also using user reviews to get a feel for how they performed in customers homes.

How to choose 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.

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?

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.  

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. 

Where to buy festoon lights 

Still looking for the perfect festoon lights to suit your garden? These are the retailers we would recommend heading to first to secure your lights:

Molly is the Ecommerce Writer for Gardeningetc and spends her time searching the internet for the next best thing for your garden. When she's not writing, she would most like to be swimming in the nearest sea/ocean or getting through her neverending pile of novels. She's a huge fan of houseplants and loves identifying new plants and trees on walks too.