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Kimpton Fitzroy
Photograph: Kimpton Fitzroy

London’s loveliest Christmas tree displays

Yup, these trees are fir real

Alice Saville
Alex Sims
Written by
Alice Saville
&
Alex Sims
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Christmas is when London is at its glittering best. Everywhere you look, there are festive lights illuminating wintry skies, Yuletide markets offering mulled wine and kitschy trinkets, elaborate shop window decorations and gleaming ice rinks. But for true Christmas connoisseurs, London's fir tree displays are a highlight.

The presents arrayed round them might be fake, but the magic of these Christmas trees is real. Trafalgar Square's towering fir is a prized London tradition. Covent Garden always goes all out on the festive glitz. You'll typically find an arty riff on a classic at Coal Drops Yard. And London's fanciest hotels often commission top designers to create oh-so-chic trees you could never emulate at home. Here's our rundown of London's best Christmas tree displays this year.

RECOMMENDED: Where to buy a Christmas tree in London

Best Christmas trees in London

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Library-botherers will be delighted by this year’s St Pancras tree, which is a majestic tower of more than 3,800 books. In partnership with Hatchards, the UK’s oldest bookshop, St Pancras station has created the 12-metre-tall tree that features a winding staircase, wrapping around 270 book shelves. At its base, eight cosy cubby holes offer visitors a spot to sit down and listen to a five-minute excerpt of an audiobook provided by Penguin Books from authors including Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Zadie Smith, and Richard Osman. Perfect for a bit of relaxation before your train arrives.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

And the award for hugest tree goes to... this towering installation by the banks of the Thames. Living legend David Hockney has teamed up with another London icon, the Battersea Power Station, for a massive Christmas tree-inspired artwork. The building's gigantic 100-metre-tall chimneys will be adorned by Hockney’s digital drawings from 5pm to 10pm every evening from now until Christmas Day.

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  • Attractions
  • Public spaces
  • King’s Cross

Head to Kings Cross's Granary Square and you'll typically find a more abstract riff on the Christmas tree theme. This year's eco edition is no exception. Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble has collaborated on a planet-friendly installation of 36 living trees called Fleeting Forest. They're housed in a square made from traditional straw bale and chestnut fencing. Step inside and you can listen to a sound installation by Cameron Bray, inspired by the tree's future home in Bramcote Park.  

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • London Bridge
  • price 4 of 4

This year, sky-high restaurant Aqua Shard's tree has a charitable theme. Its branches are decked with teddies and toys, replicas of real gifts that it will give to kids at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Christmas stockings of food will be donated to food banks, while special shelter suits under the tree will be distributed to help keep homeless people warm as winter temperatures dip.

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  • Hotels
  • Mayfair
  • price 4 of 4

Contemporary artist Dame Rachel Whiteread has done the honours on this year's Connaught tree, but don't expect anything too wildly avant garde. This 31ft addition to Mayfair's streets is adorned with tasteful glowing neon circles, a symbol she often uses in her work. 

Pan Pacific

This gleaming glass goddess of a tree is a visual feast for anyone finding themselves in the vicinity of Liverpool Street Station. Fancy hotel Pan Pacific has commissioned artist Arnaud Lapierre to reimagine the Christmas tree, so he's used recycled emerald glass and mirrors to create a verdant reflection on the ultra-modern tower blocks that surround it. 

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  • Attractions
  • Event spaces
  • Trafalgar Square

Every year since 1947, Norway has gifted Londoners with a classic Norwegian spruce by way of thanking Britain for its support of Norway during the Second World War – and 2023 will be no different. Come Thursday December 7, the square will be decked out with vertical strings of light, with a tree that towers over the surrounding buildings. It’s little wonder the bedazzling tree is fondly described by Norwegians as ‘the queen of the forest’.

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