What could be more festive than picking your own Christmas tree, fresh from the farm where it grew?
There's something quite magical (and yes, American) about donning your wellies and Christmas jumper, strolling out into the field, and pretending you know what you're talking about when it comes to branches, needles and what-not.
Some farms and plantations will let you do the heavy work of cutting down or digging up the tree yourself (you may need to bring your own equipment, so check ahead before you travel). Others, understandably, don't let the general public loose with an axe or saw, and will do the difficult bit for you. Our roundup includes both types of tree farm.
Note: some farms may require you to book a slot before you visit — check with individual venues for the most up-to-date information.
Christmas Tree Farm, Enfield
Luxury Nordmann Fir trees are available at the aptly-named Christmas Tree Farm in Enfield, which has been selling the trees for 32 years. Judging from the photos, they've also got their own festive display, starring massive inflatable Santas and snowmen — which the kids will adore.
Christmas Tree Farm, East Lodge Lane, Botany Bay, Enfield, EN2 8AS. 25 November-24 December 2022
South London Christmas Tree Farm, Chelsfield
Despite its name, South London Christmas Tree Farm is located just over the border in Kent. Still, if you live in south London, it's probably your closest Christmas tree farm, so we'll let them off. Happily, you can cut your own fir down, if you bring your own tools (no power tools, and they can't lend you their equipment for safety reasons). Not feeling the lumberjack lifestyle? That's OK — take a label from the office and tag your tree, they'll cut it for you. Or simply pick up a ready-to-go tree from the sales area.
Note: it's cash or cheque only — no cards taken, so stop at an ATM on the way.
South London Christmas Tree Farm, Westwood Farm, Rock Hill, Chelsfield, Kent, BR6 7PP. 12 November-11 December 2022.
Harold's Park Farm, Essex
This farm has been growing Christmas trees for 25 years and has hundreds to pick from each year, whether you want one for your home, or a larger one for a church, school hall or village green. They offer a 'pick and cut your own' service, or you can order over the phone and collect your prepared tree without having to get your fingers pricked by pine needles.
Harold's Park Farm, Bumbles Green, Nazeing, Essex, EN9 2SF. 26 November-24 December 2022.
Hurleys Christmas Tree Farm, Wickford, Essex
Also known as Pumpkin Forest (for its fields of orange gourds in the autumnal months), Hurleys Farm grows its trees on site, with sizes ranging from 3ft to 10ft. In previous years, Santa has made an appearance — keep an eye on the website to see if he's coming back this year.
Hurleys Christmas Tree Farm, Woodham Road, Battlesbridge, Essex, SS11 7QL. From 26 November 2022. Note you need to book car entry at weekends, though weekdays don't require booking.
Kingswood Christmas Trees, Maidstone, Kent
Over 20,000 Christmas trees are planted at this Kent farm each year, and they range from 2ft to 20ft tall at time of cutting. Wander through the fields and select your own, or pick one from the ready-cut selection.
Kingswood also does an excellent line in Christmas decorations, so browse the shop (open from 12 November 2022) while you're there and collect all the ornaments, baubles, tinsel and lights you need to make your prickly new friend feel at home in your living room. There's a Christmas Cafe on site, as well as a Santa's Grotto (booking required — open from 19 November 2022) so you can have a whole festive day out.
Kingswood Christmas Trees, Gravelly Bottom Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 3NU. 12 November-24 December 2022.
Kingsley Farm Christmas trees, East Grinstead, Sussex/Surrey
Sitting close to the Kent/Sussex/Surrey border, Kingsley Farm has been growing Christmas trees for over a decade, and offers a choice between Norway Spruce, Nordmann Fir and Blue Spruce varieties.
Wander through the farm and pick your tree, then you can either have the farm staff cut it down for you, or cut it down or dig it out yourself. They also sell ready-cut trees.
Kingsley Farm Christmas Trees, Blackberry Road, Felcourt, East Grinstead, RH7 6NQ. 23 November-23 December 2022.
Sussex Trees, East and West Sussex
Sussex Trees has over 100,00 pines growing in the Sussex countryside, so if you can't find one you like here, we can't help you. The Northdown Plantation is the original location, where you can either pick and cut your own, or choose a ready-cut one from the barn. You can also purchase a Sussex tree from Goddenwick Farm — ideal if you're after a full day out, with reindeer, goats, donkeys, alpacas and other farm animals to see, plus mulled wine sold from a converted horse trailer.
Sussex Trees. Goddenwick Farm, Lindfield, West Sussex, RH16 2QZ. Northdown Christmas Tree Plantation, Five Ashes, East Sussex, TN20 6JG. Both 25 November-23 December 2022.
Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, Battle, East Sussex
Visit this farm between 18-27 November 2022 to select your tree direct from the plantation, and arrange to collect it (or have it delivered if you live locally) at a later date. Alternatively, order your tree online, or visit the farm closer to Christmas to pick a ready-cut tree. Choose between Nordmann Fir, Serbian Spruce, Norway Spruce and Fraser Fir varieties.
Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, The Stream, Battle, East Sussex, TN33 9BB. 18 November-24 December 2022.
Crockford Bridge Farm, Surrey
In October, Crockford Farm attracts visitors to its pumpkin patch, but come November, the gourds are gone and it's all about the Christmas trees (Nordmann Fir, Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce and Fraser Fir are all grown here). Happily, they'll let you cut your own tree down, provided you follow the rules (hand saws only, cut trees from the bottom, no children using saws, cutting only in daylight hours...). You'll need to book a time slot to pick your tree this year.
Prefer someone else to do the work? Ready cut and potted trees are available to buy at the farm too, in sizes up to 6ft.
Crockford Bridge Farm, New Haw Road, Near Weybridge, Surrey, KT15 2BU. 26 November-18 December 2022.
Other Christmas tree farms near London
- Hans Christmas Andersen: This puntastic business grows its trees on a farm in the Surrey Hills, and sells them at several sites around Surrey and Kent. Though you can collect your tree from the Santa Fir Christmas Tree where it's grown, the trees are ready-chopped in a 'standing forest' situation, so you can't pick your tree from the exact spot where it grew. On the plus side, Father Christmas can often be seen at work here, and there are reindeer too.
- Oxenford Farm: The trees at Oxenford Farm are grown on site in Surrey, however they're also ready-chopped, so you can select your festive fir from the sales area, rather than the field itself.
- Badger Hill Christmas Tree Farm: At this Bedfordshire farm, you can either book a slot at an open day in mid-November when you can pick your tree, which will then be chopped down and delivered to your house closer to Christmas, or you can visit later in the season, and take a pre-chopped tree home with you.
Where to rent a Christmas tree in London
It sounds odd at first, but renting a Christmas tree is a more environmentally friendly way to have a real tree in your home for Christmas. The tree makes itself comfortable in your living room for a few weeks a year, before being stripped (oo-er) and sent back to the field to be replanted and live its best life among its arboreal chums until the festive season comes round again. Some places even tag the trees to keep track of them, so you get the same one in your living room next year (handy if you've left a bauble on there). We like to think Phoebe Buffay would approve.
Unlike visiting a Christmas tree farm, you may not be able to see your tree in a field, but handily for Londoners, many rental firms offer London hubs where you can collect and return your tree either side of the festivities. Of course, the environmental benefits of renting a tree can be undone if your tree is being transported from the other end of the country to your living room, so do your research. Oh, and order soon — rental trees often sell out way in advance.
Here's where you can rent a tree for Christmas in London 2022:
- London Christmas Tree Rental (hubs in West Norwood, Barnes, Kilburn, Wimbledon and Honor Oak) Already sold out for 2022 (boo!) but taking bookings for Christmas 2023.
- Christmas on the Hill (Previously at Alexandra Palace, but operating completely online for 2022)
- Simply Plants (delivered — and they'll decorate Sprucey for you too)
We're fully expecting more Christmas tree rental firms to sprout in the capital in the coming years, as it becomes a more popular option.
Where to buy a Christmas tree in London
Of course, if you're not the muddy field type, there are plenty of nurseries, garden centres and other shops in London where you can buy a Christmas tree without even leaving the tarmac. Here's a selection of them:
- Green Elf Trees is a London-based company that delivers Christmas trees to the majority of London postcodes (as well as the likes of The Ritz and National Trust), and all delivery vehicles are electric. Oh, and for every tree sold, Green Elf Trees donates £3 to charity. Good eggs.
- Pines and Needles pops up at an impressive 30+ London locations in the run-up to Christmas, from Wimbledon to Highbury, and Victoria Park to Kingston. They sell real Christmas trees, can deliver if you can't collect, and also sell lights, stands, decorations and all the other gubbins required — they'll even pop by and decorate your tree if you like. Open from 17 November 2022.
- Good Elf offers a choice of Norway Spruce or Nordmann Fir trees, and delivers to anywhere within London (and many other places). If you've got a larger gap to fill, they offer an installation service for your towering tree, and will even collect your tree once you're done with it, for an extra charge.
- Christmas Trees Delivered does exactly that, delivering trees to all inner London postcodes — choose from Nordmann or Noble Firs, or Norway Spruce.
- Shoots and Leaves lets you collect your tree from one of six London locations — Little Brook Green, Eel Brook Common, West Ealing, Acton, Hammersmith or Hampstead Heath. Not in one of those areas? They also deliver.