Visit London Blog » christmas tree Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:29:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s On This Weekend: 14-15 December Mon, 09 Dec 2013 10:00:43 +0000

We are counting down the days now and the Christmas events are stacking up in the capital. Take in some traditional treats such as Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square and The Nutcracker at The Royal Opera House, or head down to the O2 for a handmade Christmas.

Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square

The capital doesn’t get much more festive than this, as the famous Norwegian Christmas tree is lit on 5 Dec and Trafalgar Square is filled with carollers every night until 22 Dec. Carol groups will be singing all the classics, from Deck the Halls and Good King Wenceslas, to Ding Dong Merrily on High and The Holly and the Ivy, and it’s all for charity. 5-22 Dec

Handmade Christmas at the O2

Get hands-on this Christmas at Handmade Christmas at the O2. This indoor Christmas fair provides the perfect opportunity to pick up some unique Christmas gifts from hundreds of UK designers, crafters, and food and drink producers, as well as creative workshops and demos. 13-15 Dec

The Wind in the Willows

Will Tuckett and the Royal Opera House bring the beloved childhood story of The Wind in the Willows to the Duchess Theatre this week. Expect innovative stage design, choreography and songs in this adaptation of the fantastical novel, as it follows the adventures of shy Mole, debonair Ratty, wise Badger and hot-headed Toad. 11 Dec-1 Feb

The Nutcracker

See The Royal Ballet perform one of the world’s most famous ballets. The Nutcracker opened at The Royal Opera House this week, a perfect family treat for the festive season. Relive the classic story of Clara, who creeps down to the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve in search of her favourite present, only to embark on a magical adventure against the evil Rat King, all accompanied by the spellbinding music of Tchaikovsky. 4 Dec-16 Jan

The Jameel Prize

This exhibition displays the work of the 10 talented designers and artists that have been shortlisted for the third Jameel Prize at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Jameel Prize looks to reward works that are directly inspired by the Islamic tradition and the top prize is £25,000. Artworks range from Arab typography and calligraphy to fashion inspired by Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia. 11 Dec-21 April

Louis Pearl, the Amazing Bubble Man

And now for something completely different… Louis Pearl is bringing his much loved Bubble Man show to the London Palladium. A perennial favourite at the Edinburgh Fringe, Pearl literally pushes the boundaries of bubbles in a 75-minute show that has to be seen to be believed. 12 Dec-4 Jan

More London events

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London’s Best Christmas Trees Thu, 06 Dec 2012 15:00:28 +0000 Christmas is one of the most exciting times of year in London; this year, the city’s Christmas decorations are looking fantastic. Here’s a round-up of some of the best Christmas trees in town, ranging from the traditional to the quirky.

The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree is an annual gift from the people of Oslo since 1947 as a token of gratitude for British support of Norway during the Second World War The Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2012 was created by Kally Ellis, founder of renowned British floral designers McQueens Covent Garden boasts not one but two trees: this traditional version, and a quirkier one in the East Piazza (see video below) Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living have an innovative Christmas tree – Ice-circles, a sculpture created by designer Mark Humphrey. The 3m tall "tree" is fashioned from a series of perspex circles; inside, a green light gives a sense of traditional foliage The tree at the Tower of London is a more traditional affair Gary Card’s Electric Christmas tree is part of the final instalment of the Vauxhall Ampera season at the Kings Cross Filling Station

Here’s a great video of the Kensington Palace tree. From 1 December 2012, Kensington Palace is transformed into a palace-size advent calendar, with a daily programme of exciting events, music and activities, all inspired by the young Princess Victoria’s Christmas diaries.

Did you spot the elf?

In Covent Garden, there’s a unique 26ft (7.9m) tall Barrel Tree in the East Piazza. Interested in how it got there? Here’s a video explaning all:

Have you spotted any more amazing Christmas Trees in London? Make sure you add any photos you take to our flickrpool.

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Five Funky Christmas Trees in London Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:00:04 +0000 London’s feeling festive as Christmas trees spring up in public spaces around the city. While some venues have stuck to a traditional feel, others have branched out with trees made from cardboard and Lego.

St Pancras Station has unveiled the tallest-ever Lego Christmas tree, constructed by professional Lego builder Duncan Titmarsh out of 600,000 Lego bricks.

Ever-fashionable Claridge’s boasts a tree by Lanvin’s creative director Alber Elbaz, complete with marionettes dressed in Lanvin-designed Claridge’s uniforms.

Covent Garden has a hand-picked British tree festooned with red and white lights, as well as topiary reindeer, giant mirror balls and a nativity art installation.

Giles Miller is creating the world’s tallest cardboard Christmas tree for the Design Museum. See it in the museum’s atrium from tomorrow, Friday 2 December.

And the lighting ceremony for Trafalgar Square’s famous Christmas tree – donated by the people of Norway every year since 1947 – will take place this evening, Thursday 1 December.

What’s your favourite Christmas tree in London this Christmas? Let us know below or add your photos to the Visit London Flickr pool

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Claridge’s Christmas Tree by John Galliano for Dior Unveiled Thu, 25 Nov 2010 16:06:17 +0000

Today, Claridge’s revealed its 2010 designer Christmas tree by John Galliano for Dior. The spectacular tree, located in the hotel’s Art Deco lobby, has an “under the sea” theme and features swirly silver leaves, sea horses and jellyfish.

This is John Galliano’s second Christmas tree in a row for the iconic London hotel.

Commenting on the design, John Galliano said,

I wanted to create an underwater fantasy and have mixed pink corals, seahorses, anemones and jellyfish, all glinting like gem stones, swimming amidst the silver leaves. I hope we create something as sumptuous as its setting and this inspires a truly luxurious escape and a very festive season at Claridge’s.

The John Galliano for Dior tree will be on display in Claridge’s lobby from now until 5 January 2011.

Enjoy the full experience by booking a hotel room at Claridge’s here Or get a taste of decadence by reserving your Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s restaurant table here

What do you think? Does this underwater theme inspire you to try something different for your Christmas tree this year?

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Merry Kissmas at Covent Garden: Christmas Lights Switch On Fri, 12 Nov 2010 11:00:30 +0000

Daybreak presenter Christine Bleakley launched Covent Garden‘s Christmas lights last night with a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe.

This year, Covent Garden have opted for a giant, interactive Christmas tree which is switched on by human touch.

Competition winner Tariq Fontenelle bid £300 for the all-important kiss from Christine Bleakley, which switched on the tree for the first time.

For just £1 you can light up the tree yourself by puckering up with the one you love. All proceeds go to The Princes’ Trust.

If you’re in Covent Garden you can also take advantage of a love-inspired foodie Christmas market every Thursday night, reindeer petting on Saturdays and late night shopping with a 20% discount on 2 December.

More Christmas lights in London

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Norway In London: The Anglo-Norse Society Fri, 13 Aug 2010 09:00:31 +0000

Every year a piece of Norway comes to London: the huge Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.

For our World In London: Norway post, I spoke to the woman who helped bring that tree to London.

Oslo-born Irene Garland moved to the UK in January 1969. Garland worked for 18 years at the Norwegian Department for Press, Information and Culture (part of the Norwegian Embassy), which organises the annual Christmas tree gift in recognition of Norway’s gratitude for Britain’s support during WWII.

Since 2004 Garland has been secretary of the Anglo-Norse Society, a registered charity with 700 members. Irene tells me it’s made up of “Norwegians in the UK, British people who’ve lived or are living in Norway or have ties to the country, Norwegian students and those who are studying Norwegian language, politics, culture and geography (such as polar expeditions and the Sami people).

“The Society was established in 1918 but had a break for the war. It was re-established and re-financed in the 1950s. The 1950s were the “good old days” of the Society and it was far more high-profile back then – we used to get Vanessa Redgrave and all the big-name actors who were appearing in Ibsen plays in London to speak at our events!

“In the good old days before the internet, the Society was a way for Norwegians in London (and the rest of the UK) to read Norwegian newspapers and keep in touch with their fellow countrypeople.”

Nowadays, Garland says, the Norwegian Church in Rotherhithe is a hub for Norwegians in London.

“The Church hosts family activities, classes, play days and a weekend bazaar that’s very well attended, where you can buy Norwegian food and other products. A lot of Norwegians would go to church for the bazaar, if not necessarily for the services.”

Garland names Holland Park YWCA as a popular budget option for Norwegian students and families visiting or studying here. And, for the children of diplomats on one to two-year placements, there’s the Norwegian school, which closely follows Norway’s curriculum and is attended by 50-80 students from nursery to age 16.

“Most Norwegian people come to London on holiday at some point. When you think that Oslo, Norway’s biggest city, has only half a million people… there’s so much going on in London, you can find anything here. All my friends from university onwards, none have managed to avoid London! And back when things were really expensive in Norway, you used to come with an empty suitcase to fill!”

One thing Garland loves most about London is getting up high for a panoramic view.

“I’ve been on the London Eye and I would love to visit Millbank Tower now it’s opened. I’ve heard you might be able to go up BT Tower too. When you come from a mountainous country, you always want to find places you can look out from.”

Have you experienced Norwegian culture in London? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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