Fantastically Festive Photos Of London's Christmas Trees 2021

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 8 months ago

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Fantastically Festive Photos Of London's Christmas Trees 2021
Photo: Tabish Khan/@londonartcritic

It's a forest out there. As Christmas approaches, Christmas trees pop up in squares, parks, gardens, shops, bars, restaurants and hotels across the capital — some traditional, and some... less so. Pour yourself a glass of mulled wine and have a scroll through photos of the top Christmas trees in London this year — you'll be full of festive spirit before you know it.

Covent Garden Christmas tree 2021

Much like the ethereal angels hanging over Regent Street, the Covent Garden Christmas tree has been identical every year for the last few years. In fact, we'd be unnerved if it changed. Located at the western end of the square, outside Ladurée, the 18m tree is decorated with 30,000 red and silver lights, plonked in a comically large wooden pot which must be 2m tall, and embellished with an oversized red bow.

ZSL London Zoo Christmas tree at St Pancras station

The St Pancras station Christmas tree is always one to look forward to — in past years they've teamed up with brands such as Disney, Tiffany & Co, and Lancôme for themed installations in the shopping arcade at the station.

When we heard that ZSL London Zoo is the partner for the 2021 Christmas tree, we were picturing a towering tree slithering with snakes, parrots perched on the branches, perhaps a lion lying in wait underneath. Instead we got the above — a giant storybook, with an angular tree emerging from the pages, with the stories of some of London Zoo's famous residents printed on the book. Underwhelming, and, in our minds, reminiscent of the London 2012 Olympics logo.

We're promised 'the full effect of the lights and sounds of the Zoo’s animals' around the installation, and closer to Christmas, other animals popping up around the station, as if they've leapt from the pages of the book.

Somerset House ice rink Christmas tree

Photo: Laura Reynolds

It's all change at Somerset House this year — champagne brand Moët & Chandon is sponsoring the ice rink, replacing Fortnum & Mason. Gone are the festive hampers adorning the tree, replaced by giant champagne corks and seals. But, as always, the tree looks its best at night, glowing against the backdrop of the ice rink.

More importantly, there are still enough low-hanging baubles to get the clichéd bauble reflection shot:

Photo: Laura Reynolds

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree 2021

Photo: Matt Brown

If you've missed the debate around this year's Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, where have you been? The specimen, a gift from Norway every year in a tradition dating back to 1947, arrived looking a bit worse for wear this year. Bearing in mind that the Norwegian manner of hanging the lights doesn't appeal to Londoners at the best of times, it's no surprise this year's threadbare spruce got a bit of a ribbing. As far as we're concerned though, a gift is a gift, and we thank the good people of Norway for sending us some festive cheer (plus, it's a fairly accurate visual representation of how we're all feeling after the last couple of years).  

Christmas tree at Granary Square, King's Cross

In recent years, the Granary Square Christmas tree has become known for being... well, anything but a tree. There was 2020's Electric Nemeton tree, and 2019's scaffolding effort. The tradition continues in 2021 with Temenos by artist Liliane Lijn, who describes it as "a magic circle and space that contains a protective energy, an abstracted grove of trees". It's interactive too, as the public can walk inside, among that grove of trees, formed of 19 yellow and orange neon poles. It'll be in situ in Granary Square until 28 February 2022.

Dior Christmas tree at Claridge's

Though they tend to buck tradition, we've never met a Claridge's Christmas tree that we didn't like. This year, the fancy Mayfair hotel teamed up with high-end fashion brand Dior. The 'Celestial Snow Globe' Christmas tree is by Dior menswear artistic director Kim Jones, and blends holographic projections with toile, leading the eye up the hotel's famous staircase. Extra points for keeping that chequerboard floor so shiny that it looks like there are two trees.

Tree of Love in Connaught Village

Photo: John Nguyen/ PA Wire

Located at the junction of Connaught Street and Kendal Street, just north of Marble Arch, the Connaught Village Tree of Love, Joy and Hope has been adorned with quotes from festive film Love Actually. Gaze up into the branches to see phrases such as "to me, you are perfect" and "first lobster" illuminated in pink and orange neon.

It's even got the blessing of Love Actually writer and director Richard Curtis, who said:

One of my favourite bits of Love Actually is all the shots of the beautiful London Christmas lights - it’s a lovely surprise now, years later, to have Love Actually itself as part of the lights.

Veuve Clicquot Christmas tree at Aqua Shard

Not to be outdone by the Moët tree at Somerset House, champagne brand Veuve Clicquot has installed a Christmas tree in the atrium at Aqua Shard, which, at 31 floors up, probably makes it one of the highest Christmas trees in London (although there's also the illuminated digital tree on the crown of Tower 42).

It's certainly not your traditional spruce. The skeletal structure is made up of 800 illuminated paintbrushes, and is known as Act II: Christmas Reimagined, a nod to the fact that it was briefly erected last year before Covid restrictions brought Christmas celebrations to a halt. It was carefully packed away, and reconstructed this year — fingers crossed it stays out for a full season this time round. As for the paintbrushes, they signify the restaurant's backing of The Theatre Support Fund, and portray backstage life.

Christmas tree at Winterfest, Wembley Park

Photo: Wembley Park

The light installations at Wembley Park's Winterfest includes what they claim is London's tallest Christmas tree. At 25m, we're not going to argue, but we will say this — there's not a leaf, nor a branch, nor a needle to be had here. The 'tree' is an entirely manmade illumination, created from 100,00 lights, with a walkway through the centre so you can get inside. It's not one for Christmas tree purists, but it's pretty nonetheless.

Ed Curtis X Choose Love Christmas tree at The London Edition

Designer/artist Ed Curtis was the brains behind the colourful Christmas tree at The London Edition, which he describes as "the tree of my childhood dreams". You can see where he's coming from — it looks like a child was let loose on the tree, with colourful streamers, baubles and handmade decorations all thrown at it.

Refugee charity Choose Love — which has a pop-up shop in Carnaby — was also involved in the collaboration, and The London Edition is serving its Choose Love cocktail, Savoia Le Fizz, in the Lobby Bar, with a portion of proceeds going to the charity, until the new year.

Knitted postbox Christmas tree at Great Ormond Street

Photo: Matt Brown

A sharp-eyed member of Team Londonist spotted this yarn-bombing contribution to London's festivities atop a Royal Mail postbox at the junction of Queen Square and Great Ormond Street — here's hoping it puts a smile on the faces of young patients on the way to the hospital nearby.

The Connaught Christmas tree 2021

Artist duo Annie Morris and Idris Khan are responsible for The Connaught's Christmas tree, a 9m tall Nordmann Fir which sits outside the hotel on Carlos Place. The design is a simple — some might say naïve — one, consisting of three strings of irregular spheres in bright colours, a 2D version of Morris' sculptures. 1600 lights illuminate the spheres.

Christmas tree at The Standard, London

'Gothic-meets-romantic' is the official description of the Christmas trees in the lobby, Library Lounge and restaurant at King's Cross hotel The Standard, London (that's the one opposite St Pancras with the whizzy red lift on the outside of the building). Fashion designers Harris Reed and Chet Lo decked the hotel out for Christmas this year, with the trees being the work of Reed, who wanted to create a 'fluid forest' throughout the hotel.

Fiona Leahy tree at Television Centre, White City

©Charles Emerson

The BBC's former home in White City, now home to the Television Centre development, had event planner Fiona Leahy overseeing this year's tree. With illuminated red and pink bows, and tiny gold fairy lights, it's described as "a romantic celebration of the timeless glamour of West London’s most iconic destination". We'll let you be the judge of that, but we are fans of the simple-yet-effective design.

Wool Christmas tree at Native Bankside

Ethical floral artist Jake Kuit had the environment in mind when he created what is believed to be the UK's first decorative tree to be constructed of wool, for aparthotel Native Bankside. The 3.4 metre tree is made of British wool and decorated with natural items such as cotton stems and recyclable dried hydrangeas. After the festive period, the tree will be taken down and used in educational packs for children and schools. Though the tree isn't the traditional green, it does have a winter wonderland vibe going on.

Last Updated 09 December 2021

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