A few weeks ago I came up with the idea that I’d try to see all of London’s best Christmas trees. Along with the capital’s Christmas lights, peering up those needle covered branches and breathing in as much pine as my lungs can manage is a guaranteed way to feel festive. I also thought that knowing how creative this city is, that I’d find some interesting interpretations of the season too.
It can’t be too difficult to see them all before 25 December, right? Well, the only problem I faced was that slippery thing called time and without noticing I suddenly realised that I had only one working week left in 2015 (cue end of year panic) and one week to get everything else Christmas-related sorted before we left for Birmingham and then Guernsey.
So on Sunday evening I was convinced that my mission had failed, but as I was scrolling through Instagram for the
10th 100th time that day I realised that I could virtually see them all from the comfort of my sofa through the powers of my favourite social media app. OK, I know it’s not the same as seeing it in real life, but grab a glass of mulled wine, hot chocolate, or gingerbread latte, get some Christmas songs playing (I’ve added my favourites at the bottom of this post) and enjoy some of London’s best Christmas trees as seen through the eyes of its visitors and residents.
The five-star Christmas tree – The Ritz
As an iconic luxury London hotel I would expect no less than a spectacular but traditional Christmas tree at The Ritz and at two levels high, opulently decorated, it doesn’t disappoint.
Would you believe I’ve never set foot in this five-star hotel? I definitely need to correct this soon and I reckon its tree would make the perfect excuse to book a festive afternoon tea (if I can wait that long!).
The Christmas tree by Burberry – Claridge’s
For the last six years, Claridge’s have asked a series of guest designers to create a Christmas tree that takes centre-stage in the hotel’s art deco foyer. This year’s tree was designed by Burberry’s creative director and CEO, Christopher Bailey, and features 100 umbrellas covered in gold and silver metallic fabric.
It might not be obviously festive but I do like the playful reference to the UK’s delightful weather and any fellow magpies are bound to be attracted to its glossy appearance.
There had to be an artist collaboration in this mix and The Connaught’s first 30ft Christmas tree, decorated by Damien Hirst, certainly makes a statement. As the artist himself explains:
“The Christmas tree is a celebration of togetherness, a joyful symbol of hope and love. For the decorations, I wanted to reference some of the amazing things that give us hope in the world today.”
There are 300 decorations covering the tree, from the more traditional white doves to reimagined medical instruments.
I’m certainly intrigued to find out who decorates next year’s tree and how they interpret such an important feature of the season!
Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas tree – Somerset House
Oh how much I love Skate at Somerset House. It has the most happy atmosphere and, well, it’s just beautiful. I don’t think the ice rink would be complete without the Christmas tree and with Fortnum’s being the go-to Christmas present destination I can’t think of anyone better to decorate it.
Granary Square’s 11ft Christmas tree is made from 365 wooden sledges and has its own sequence of light and sound. It’s a clever hint to the illusive white Christmas we all long for but never get as our climate changes.
(If you like what you see then you’ll want to put Lumiere London in your 2016 diary – 4 evenings in January featuring installations from the world’s most exciting artists working with light.)
Disney Junior Tree – Kings Cross St Pancras
A station like St Pancras certainly needs a striking tree and at 14m high you won’t miss the Disney Junior Christmas tree. It’s made from 2,000 Disney toys, all of which will be donated to the KIDS charity.
When I managed to see it for myself at the weekend, it reminded me of the giant pile of toys I rummaged through in the Disney store as a child, trying to find my favourite Disney character. It’s definitely the most fun Christmas tree in London this season and children will love it.
The Norwegian Christmas tree – Trafalgar Square
Thanks to Emma, I shamefully only discovered this year that the Christmas tree which pops up every year in the very heart of Trafalgar Square is part of a historical tradition that dates back to 1947. Every year since, Norway has gifted a huge tree to London in recognition of Britain’s support during World War II.
The Hay’s Galleria Christmas tree
I was completely taken by surprise when I stumbled upon Hay’s Galleria’s Christmas tree when I was taking a short cut to reach the river last week. It reaches up to the heady heights of the Galleria’s curved roof and is surrounded by twinkling lights. The London Bridge Christmas market nearby added scents of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts I always associated with the season.
So which tree is your favourite? Have you seen any great Christmas trees?
Here are my top five Christmas songs, just to make sure you’re feeling festive enough 🙂