The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Is On Its Way To London

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 10 months ago

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The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Is On Its Way To London
Image: Shutterstock

With all the upheaval of 2020, it's reassuring to see a bit of familiarity heading our way, in the form of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree.

That's right, the 23m-tall Spruce has managed to swerve current international travel difficulties, and is making its way from Norway to London.

The tree comes from Oslo each year, a gift from the Norwegian people in a tradition dating back to 1947. That much is common knowledge. But how does a towering Spruce get from Norwegian forests to urban London for the holiday season?

How is the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree chosen?

Photo: @trafalgartree

It's not simply a case of heading into the forest with an axe and swinging it at the first tree that takes your fancy. Certain trees are identified as Trafalgar Square material years in advance, and given special care to help them reach their Christmas potential

How does the Trafalgar Square tree get from Oslo to London?

The felling itself is a whole ceremony usually involving Lord Mayor of Westminster, the Mayor of Oslo, and a lot of carol-singing Norwegian children. This year's ceremony was a slimmed down version of the usual festivities, but it went ahead on 17 November.

Once cut, the Trafalgar Square tree makes a beeline for London. It's loaded onto a lorry and driven 100km+ south from Oslo to the port of Brevik, where it's moved onto a ship (avoiding any contact with salt water, which could damage it) and sets sail to the UK. It usually arrives at the port of Harwich, but this year it arrived into Immingham, near Hull, under cover of darkness.

From there, it's another lorry ride to central London, where a waiting team uses a hydraulic crane to winch it into place in the Square. The same team hangs those lights which split Londoners every year, but before you mock them, bear in mind that they're a nod to the Norwegian way of decorating a tree.

Of course, when the tree arrives in its new home, things will be a bit different from other years. There won't be an official lighting ceremony this year, nor any carol singing events, to avoid crowds gathering. But it'll still be in its usual position, watching over central London, where Londoners and visitors can admire it as they go about their business.

Follow the tree on Twitter (a sentence we never tire of typing) for further updates on its journey.

See what else is happening in London over Christmas 2020.

Last Updated 24 November 2020

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