Christmas at Trafalgar Square

Every year, since 1947, the people of Norway have given the people of London a Christmas tree. This gift is in gratitude for Britain's support for Norway during World War II.

About the tree

The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is usually a Norwegian spruce (Picea abies) over 20 metres high and 50-60 years old. It is selected from the forests surrounding Oslo with great care several months, even years, in advance. The Norwegian foresters who look after it describe it fondly as 'the queen of the forest'.

The tree is felled in November during a ceremony in which the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo participate. It is brought to the UK by sea, then completes its journey by lorry. A specialist rigging team erects it in the square using a hydraulic crane. It is decorated in traditional Norwegian fashion, with vertical strings of lights. Energy-efficient light bulbs are used.

The lighting ceremony

Don’t miss the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree, which takes place in Trafalgar Square on 5 December 2019 at 6pm. The 25-metre high tree is a gift from the people of Norway to London, in thanks for Britain’s support in World War II. This historic tradition has happened every year since 1947 and signals the countdown to Christmas in London.

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Recycling the tree

The Christmas tree remains in Trafalgar Square until just before the Twelfth Night of Christmas, when it is taken down for recycling. The tree is chipped and composted, to make mulch.

Blessing of the crib

Date TBC 

Blessing of the crib
Join a special blessing of the crib ceremony in Trafalgar Square in December 2019.

Meet on the church steps at 5.20pm for a torch-lit procession to Trafalgar Square led by the Lakeside Brass Quintet with the Choir and Clergy of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

For more information please visit the St Martin-in-the-Fields website.

Carol singing

09 - 24 December 2019

From Monday 9 to Tuesday 24 December 2019 (except 14 and 22 December), over 40 carol singing groups will gather beneath the famous Christmas tree to entertain visitors to Trafalgar Square. Why not come along? Performances take place from 4-9pm on weekdays, and from 2-7pm at weekends.

See information for choirs

Note: Please be aware that this information is subject to change and The Greater London Authority (GLA) will not accept responsibility for any inconvenience or loss incurred by last-minute cancellations or alterations to the schedule.

Events and visiting the square

Find out more about events at Trafalgar Square on our events pages.

Find out how to get to the square and the facilities available on our visiting page, or for more information go to Visit London

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