Consumer warning: this article may give you intense tree envy.
Especially if you’re currently eyeing up the drooping artificial tree that your parents rejected.
1. Victoria & Albert Museum
Halfway between a word cloud and a Christmas tree, the Victoria & Albert’s latest effort is pretty conceptual. Designer Es Devlin has worked with Beyonce and Kanye West, and clearly she’s got an ear for a tune, because this is a singing tree. (Press play on the Instagram above to listen to her hypnotic song.) The public are invited to contribute festive words, which will be transformed into audio-visual carols. Presumably there’s something in place to stop naughty words slipping in, but there’s only one way to find out. Might we suggest ‘jingle balls’ for starters?
The Grand Entrance, V&A Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, SW7 2RL. Nearest station is South Kensington.
2. Marie Curie Memory Tree (December 4-17)
Much like the weirwood trees from Game of Thrones, this tree remembers. The seven-metre tree from Marie Curie is powered by your memories, and the more you share, the brighter it shines. Use #LightUpXmas on Twitter or Instagram, and watch it illuminate the South Bank.
Find it next to the London Eye, Lambeth, SE1 7PB. Nearest station is Waterloo.
3. St Pancras International
Well it was bloomin’ obvious this one would make the list, wasn’t it? St Pancras’ floral Christmas tree is a stunning sight, and we bet it smells delightful too. Exactly what you want to lessen the horrors of commuting. It’s just the latest in a long line of ambitious designs that the station have conjured up, including this cuddly effort from 2015.
Euston Rd, Kings Cross, N1C 4QP. Nearest station is Kings Cross St Pancras.
Flower power is definitely in this Christmas! Also going with the floral theme are sketch, the Mayfair restaurant renowned for their incredible designs. Four talented London florists have teamed up, each decorating a different part of the tree. The highlights include a floral crown and a peacock that has wrapped itself around the tree in a floral festive hug.
9 Conduit St, Mayfair, W1S 2XG. Nearest station is Oxford Circus.
5. Claridges Hotel
Apparently Claridge’s have been watching too much Stranger Things, because they’ve gone full Upside Down with this tree. The dizzying reverse evergreen has been designed by fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld, and can be found in the hotel lobby. Helpfully, they solved the question no one was asking: where do you put the star on an upside down tree? It sits atop the roots, and throws beams of light at wonder-struck visitors.
Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR. Nearest station is Bond Street.
6. Granary Square
Last year, Granary Square presented a stunning ice-bound Christmas tree. This year, we’ve got… whatever this is. This
abomination tree lights up and plays sounds that are vaguely reminiscent of Christmas. Reportedly, it’s called DOES THE ITERATIVE FIT (yes, with capitals, and yes, without the question mark). We think it looks like the lovechild of Pingu and some fairy lights, so we’ve renamed it NOOT NOOT.
Granary Square, Kings Cross, N1C 4AA. Nearest station is Kings Cross St Pancras.
7. Covent Garden
At this point, you may be thinking “ugh, what’s so secret about Covent Garden?” Well quit your grumbling, because this one is a classic. It also happens to be gigantic, and draped in twinkling lights just for your enjoyment. Covent Garden’s tree is the biggest hand-picked one in London, and is just one part of a festive display which totals over 100,000 lights.
Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 8RF. Nearest station is Covent Garden.
8. One Aldwych Hotel
Covent Garden’s tree has a close competitor, however. A stone’s throw away at One Aldwych Hotel, you’ll find an ornately decorated tree dedicated to Theatreland. This pink and gold spectacle features scenes from West End shows around the base. Miniature replicas of The Lion King, Matilda, and Wicked are all here. You’ll find it in the Lobby Bar, and we think it’s best enjoyed with a cocktail in hand. Just sayin’.
1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest station is Covent Garden.
9. Hays Galleria
Sometimes, a good Christmas tree just needs to sit there and let the location do the talking. Whilst the silver and gold effort here is pretty, it’s very hard to take your eyes off of the beautiful surroundings of Hays Galleria, especially when it’s wearing it’s finest Christmas outfit.
1 Battle Bridge Ln, SE1 2HD. Nearest station is London Bridge.
10. Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch
The East London hotel has something suitably alternative this Christmas. You won’t find a trace of tinsel or baubles on this origami tree, which is made of the finest Japanese paper and lit from within. East London origami masters Papershake are responsible for this one, and it’s daringly unique.
10-50 Willow St, Shoreditch, EC2A 4BH. Nearest station is Old Street.
11. Aqua Shard
Christmas trees don’t come much more fragile than this. In the atrium of Aqua Shard, on the 31st floor, sits this illuminated glass tree, designed by Lee Broom in collaboration with global design brand Nude. Paying homage to the design of The Shard, it is composed of 245 pendant lights, all of which are suspended from the ceiling. We don’t even want to think what would happen if someone knocked this one over…
31 Saint Thomas Street, SE1 9RY. Nearest station is London Bridge.
Well, it’s tree shaped at the very least. Sanderson’s multicoloured offering is made entirely out of Plasticine – over four hundred bars were used to build this. It’s a case of quirkiness more than Christmas, as there are figures from Alice in Wonderland to be found all over the tree. Not a bauble in sight, though.
50 Berners St, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NG. Nearest station is Tottenham Court Road.
13. London Edition
The London Edition have an evergreen with a charitable backstory. All the decorations were designed by illustrator John Booth, and once Christmas is over, they’ll be sold off. The proceeds are going to The Albert Kennedy Trust, which helps LGBTQ+ young people who have been affected by homeless.
10 Berners St, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NP. Nearest station is Tottenham Court Road.
14. The Connaught Hotel
Unless your tree was decorated by a Turner Prize-nominated artist, it isn’t topping this one. Tracey Emin, of unmade bed fame, has created this wordy delight. Traditional it is not, but the neon words are very pretty, and the poem dedicated to her mother is rather sweet.
Carlos Place, Mayfair, W1K 2AL. Nearest station is Bond Street.
Now that you’ve got your inspiration, pick up your own Christmas tree and recreate your favourite!
Featured image: @sketchlondon