Visitors to Covent Garden can experience the Christmas shopping spree of the future this festive season as the area transforms into the world’s first augmented reality (AR) retail district in partnership with pioneering AR app Blippar.

Over 140 participating stores and restaurants in Covent Garden will be introducing new AR applications over the next six weeks in what will be the largest showcase of AR technology ever attempted in one location. Merging bricks and clicks, visitors can expect fun and digitally enhanced immersive shopping experiences from world-class brands across beauty, fashion and accessories such as Mulberry, Dior and The Watch Gallery – the perfect places for those extra special stocking fillers.

If that’s not magical enough, families can meet Santa in an interactive neighbourhood Grotto and embark on an AR treasure hunt to catch reindeers hidden around Covent Garden, including the largest digital reindeer ever which will soar around the famous Piazza, merging the real and virtual worlds.

Meanwhile, shoppers will be able to unlock exclusive offers from the UK’s first AR Christmas tree – a towering 50ft spectacle in the heart of the Piazza and London’s largest Nordic spruce – which will be decorated with “offers” that can only be unlocked through Blippar.

To help shoppers discover the perfect gifts, top style editors from Esquire, Elle and Cosmopolitan will be working with Blippar and select Covent Garden retailers and restaurants including Hackett, Sandro, Dior, Kiehl’s, Charlotte Tilbury, Clinique, The Watch Gallery, Bobbi Brown, Ted Baker, and Paul Smith to provide AR beauty and fashion gift guides which can be accessed through the Blippar app.

Beverley Churchill, Creative Director of Capco Covent Garden, said:
We are looking forward to merging the old and the new, the real and the virtual in Covent Garden this Christmas to create a unique and truly magical shopping experience with our friends at Blippar.

Speaking at the launch, Blippar COO Danny Lopez said:
“We are very excited to use the festive season as a backdrop for demonstrating the potential of augmented reality. This year we at Blippar will help digitally enhance the Christmas shopping experience and I’m thrilled that millions of visitors will be a part of such an exciting event.”

AR applications enriching the Covent Garden experience this Christmas include:

  • Swing tags on select items in-store unlocking ‘gift picks’, rewards and offers from top fashion editors
  • “Blippable” stickers on restaurant fronts enabling people to explore different menu items, online reviews and even book a table
  • An interactive AR map of Covent Garden which will come alive with events happening during the festive season, and unlock seasonal offers
  • A digitally enhanced Christmas tree and an AR Grotto, showcasing the magic of the technology
  • A digital treasure hunt, where people can collect eight reindeer to enter a daily draw and win cash prizes

Blippar is available on iOS and Android.