The date for the 2019 Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting ceremony has been announced.
Following the tradition of the tree being lit on the first Thursday in December, this year's event takes place on 5 December. Gather in the world-famous square at 6pm to see the towering tree's glittering lights switched on for the festive season (although you'll want to get there early to get a decent view).
The Trafalgar Square tree is a regular fixture of Christmas in London, due to a tradition dating back to 1947 which sees Norway gift a tree to London, in thanks for the support that Britain offered the country during the second world war. This goes part way to explaining why the tree has been described as looking 'like a cucumber' — the lights on it are hung vertically, as is the Norwegian tradition.
Its journey begins in November, when the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo gather in Norway for a ceremony in which this year's tree is chopped down. They usually pick a specimen which is 50-60 years old, and stands at more than 20 metres high. It then travels to our capital via boat and lorry, and stands in Trafalgar Square until early January, when it is chipped and composted to make mulch.
If you can't wait until 5 December, follow @trafalgartree on Twitter — it's the tree's official Twitter account, and usually live tweets its journey from the forests of Norway to the centre of London, starting sometime in November.
Plenty of other Christmas lights are switched on before the Trafalgar Square tree — including Carnaby on 7 November. Covent Garden is illuminated from 12 November, and it's Regent Street's turn on 14 November. Full London Christmas light details here.