The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lights Are Being Switched On Today

One of London’s most iconic Christmas trees is back for 2023

Every December, Trafalgar Square gets decked out for the festive season, complete with a seasonal market and, of course, a tree. If you’ve spent any time in London at this time of year, you’ve probably seen the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree. But did you know that it’s part of a decades-old tradition that came about because of World War II?

Since 1947, the tree has been gifted to London by Norway as a token of gratitude for the UK’s support during the war, which included helping Norway’s King Haakon VII evacuate to London where he formed a government in exile with other members of the country’s pre-war government. While in London, Haakon was also able to send broadcasts back to Norway via the BBC, which cemented his important role in the Norwegian resistance.

It’s been almost 80 years since the first tree was shipped out, and London still receives its annual delivery of a Norway Spruce straight from Oslo, though some sources say that this could sadly be the last time. However, it was recently reported that Oslo’s mayor Anne Lindboe has insisted that the tradition won’t stop, but that they are working on reducing its carbon footprint.

This year’s tree is 19 metres tall, 70 years old and grew up in the Nordmarka Forest. It officially arrived in the Square on Mon 4th December and the lights will be switched on today (Thurs 7th December). To see the switch on for yourself, just head to Trafalgar Square between 5.30 and 6.30pm, and the tree will stay up until Thurs 4th January.

Thurs 7th December 2023, 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DS