Our top 10 highlights for 2023

As we begin to wrap up what has been an extremely busy year, we are proud to share 10 of our top highlights, all of which have been made possible due to the strong relationships built with our members, stakeholders, and partners across the Heart of London.

1. ENTE strategy 

Earlier this year, we launched a first of its kind Evening and Night-time Economy Strategy, Vision and Action Plan, in collaboration with Publica. The strategy provides an ambitious, integrated and deliverable plan for the West End between the hours of 6pm and 6am.

2. Ramadan Lights

This Spring, we collaborated with Ramadan Lights UK and The Aziz Foundation to switch on London’s first ever Ramadan lights display in Piccadilly Circus. The official switch-on saw the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Hamza Taouzzale, former Lord Mayor of Westminster City Council in attendance.


3. Sackville Street and Vigo Street improvements 

Partnering with Westminster City Council, work along Sackville Street and Vigo Street commenced this Summer – the first of our 44 public realm projects. Once completed in 2025, the streets will have widened footways, seating, greenery, an enhanced gateway from Regent Street, and an already constructed traffic free link to east Mayfair. More information about the scheme is available on the West End 2027 website.


4. Coronation celebration at Fortnum & Mason 

In May, we celebrated the Coronation of King Charles III. Hosted at Fortnum & Mason, our team and members had a wonderful evening, making new connections and celebrating the spectacular, historic occasion. Watch the highlights here.

5. Harrison Ford – Scenes in the Square 

Indiana Jones became the tenth statue of the ‘Scenes in the Square’ trail, alongside Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, Paddington, Laurel & Hardy and more. The statue was unveiled by Harrison Ford himself at the premiere of Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny. Our ‘Scenes in the Square’ interactive sculpture trail, supported by Westminster City Council, celebrates the iconic scenes and characters from the past 100 years of entertainment.


6. Best Bar None 

­­­­In September, we hosted the fantastic Best Bar None awards, recognising local venues’ commitment to raising standards in responsible venue management. Kindly hosted in Lola’s at The Hippodrome Casino, a record number of 23 assessed businesses achieved accreditation. Empire Casino achieved the highest score, taking home the Golden Bell. We look forward to hosting the Best Bar None Awards again in 2024 as we continue to play our part in recognising best practice, safety and security across the hospitality sector.


7. Economic & Real Estate Insights Report

We launched our inaugural Economic and Real Estate Insights Report, tracking the economic and real estate performance of the Heart of London.  As one of the only BIDs representing property owners in the UK, HOLBA’s report outlines the huge economic value of the Heart of London and provides a unique insight into the current state of play of the real estate sector in the West End. It will be produced on a quarterly basis, highlighting ongoing trends and insights of the area. – Read the report here.


8. Art of London’s Art After Dark 2023 

In October, we celebrated the return of Art After Dark, our award-winning cultural initiative, which saw a public art takeover and the free late-night opening of over 30 art galleries. To mark the occasion, Leicester Square Gardens saw a giant inflatable sculpture named ‘The Cornucopia’ by British contemporary MTArt artist Claire Luxton displayed along with an illuminated installation ‘The People You Love’ by MTArt poetic artist Robert Montgomery and a display in Piccadilly Circus inspired by performance artists Marina Abramović.

The partnership with Westminster City Council, Landsec and Mayfair Art Weekend, featured London’s most acclaimed independent galleries, opening London’s vibrant art scene to the public with a ‘gallery HOP!’, giving a welcomed boost to the arts sector.


9. Pedicabs  

We have continued to campaign for the regulation of pedicabs alongside Westminster City Council and welcomed the announcement to introduce legislation during the King’s Speech. The Bill passed the second reading in the House of Lords with reference to HOLBA’s stance on the issue and will now proceed to the House of Commons after Committee scrutiny.


10. The Chairman’s Christmas Reception 

Last week, we hosted the Heart of London Chairman’s Christmas Reception at Fortnum & Mason, 3’6 Bar, over 100 of our members and friends in attendance to reflect on the year, raise a glass and celebrate the festive season. It was a fabulous evening to celebrate our members and show our gratitude for everyone’s continued support. Photos from the evening are available here.