Trafalgar Square lit up for Christmas with giant tree
The tree is an annual gift from Norway to London as a mark of thanks for British support during the Second World War.
After it was hand picked by an expert panel and felled from a forest near Oslo two weeks ago, the tree travelled more than 700 miles to light up the West End.
At 21 metres, the Norwegian Spruce – which is estimated to be aged between 115 and 120 years old – is taller than normal and required extra lights to be lit.
Nearby Nelson’s Column stands 52 metres tall.
Up to 1,000 people turned out to see the tree lit by The Governing Mayor of Oslo, Stian Berger Rosland, at a special ceremony last night, which was also attended by The Lord Mayor of Westminster, councillor Angela Harvey.
There were also festive musical performances by Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth, the St-Martin-In-The-Fields church choir and the Regent Hall Band of the Salvation Army.
Children from St Clement Danes primary school also read a specially written poem called Friendship, inspired by the tradition.
Councellor Harvey, who helped to fell the tree in Oslo, said: “For many Londoners, the lighting of the tree at Trafalgar Square heralds the beginning of the festive season, and I am delighted to welcome all of Westminster’s residents and our visitors to share this iconic symbol of Christmas.
“I would like to thank the people of Oslo for this wonderful tree, the gift of which is a tradition that goes back many years, and has come to represent not only the start of Christmas, but also a long-standing friendship between Norway and the United Kingdom.”
Mr Rosland added: “We hope the tree will contribute once again to the festive atmosphere of London. On behalf of the citizens of Oslo I wish you all a joyous Christmas season.”
For the first time Londoners can follow the tree, which will remain lit 24 hours a day until the twelfth night of Christmas on January 6, on Twitter at @trafalgartree.
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Travel Editor – Best Value Tours