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Calling all book lovers, did you know that London has a BOOK Christmas tree? Yes, you read that right.
The bookish tree is sponsored by Hatchard’s which is the oldest bookshop in the city and proudly stands in St Pancras International Station.
It’s the perfect festive trip for readers and Potterheads alike who are visiting London around Christmas time.
The best part is that you can sit inside it as it has several book nooks where you can read, rest or catch up with friends.
Here is a complete guide for London’s Book Christmas Tree and how to visit this festive season!
What is London’s book Christmas Tree?
London’s Book Christmas Tree is a stunning 12-metre-tall tower that is completely made up of books.
It has 270 dark wood bookshelves that are filled with 3,800 hand-painted books and light-up editions.
It’s sponsored by Hatchard’s which is London’s oldest book shop that was established in 1797.
There are several book nooks underneath the tree where you can sit and it’s a book lover’s dream come true!
It’s here for the festive season so make sure to visit before it gets taken down in early January.
On the surface, it looks like this tree is made up of colourful untitled book spines. But, if you look very closely you can find all sorts of festive classics hidden amongst the tomes.
Make sure to look out for titles such as ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’.
There are plenty more to find so make sure to have a good nose around. I would recommend using the zoom function on your phone camera to see them better.
Some of the books light up as well and so I found this tree looked extra magical at night time!
Enjoy the cosy book nooks
What I loved about Hatchard’s book Christmas Tree is that you can not only admire it but you can immerse yourself in it too.
Under the shelves of painted books, there are several booths or book nooks with cosy seats to read in.
Each one is decorated in either red or green with damask wallpaper and the illusion of a Chesterfield sofa. In reality, these seats are quite hard!
You’ll find photos in each booth forming a mini Hatchard’s gallery. They even have a copy of the original document of when the bookshop was founded.
Audio book samples
Another treat that awaits you in these book nooks is the audio samples you can enjoy.
They have several Christmas puffin classics that have been made into audio excerpts. Simply press the button and you can hear a short sample from the book through the speakers.
I have to admit, many of these didn’t work on my visit which is a shame! Maybe it was getting on the shop workers’ nerves or they broke from overuse? Who knows!
For children, St Pancras often run a ‘read with Santa’ event here. Santa will sit in one of the book nooks and read a festive story for FREE. How adorable is that?
Why not visit Hatchard’s St Pancras?
Hatchard’s Piccadilly is the oldest bookshop in London but you can pop into Hatchard’s St Pancras on your visit.
It’s located right next to the London Book Christmas tree and it’s a light airy space with hundreds of volumes to choose from.
You can browse their shelves and pick out your next read for your train journey home – it couldn’t be more perfect.
For Harry Potter fans, there is an entire bookshelf dedicated to the series with books, games and gifts.
Enjoy the view from Searcys Bar
Now, the London book Christmas tree is very popular and so grabbing one of the book nooks could be a challenge. I would arm yourself with patience.
However, I think one of the best places to see the Hatchard’s Christmas Tree would be from the upper floor.
You can take the escalators or lift up to see this beautiful tree from afar and it makes a great photo opportunity.
If you wanted to see it in style, then I would recommend popping into Searcys Bar.
They have several comfy booths where you can admire this beautiful tree with a glass of champagne – cheers!
How to find London’s Book Christmas Tree
You can find London’s book Christmas tree in St Pancras International Station in London which is only a stone’s throw away from King’s Cross Station and the Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4’s.
This is one of London’s busiest train stations and is serviced by Eurostar which can take you to magical destinations like Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
As soon as you enter the station, you really can’t miss this Christmas tree as it almost reaches the ceiling!
You’ll find it next to Hatchard’s and then you can admire all the bookish goodness or grab one of the book nooks surrounding the bottom.
After, you could grab a coffee from the highly Instagrammable EL&N Café.
It makes a lovely day trip for book lovers who are visiting London for the festive season.
Ticket prices and opening times
The great thing about visiting St Pancras International Station and the Hatchard’s Christmas Tree is it’s completely free.
You don’t even need a train ticket to enter so you don’t have to spend a single penny to enjoy it. It’s a great budget activity.
St Pancras International Station is also open 24 hours a day – so you can visit any time you like!
I would recommend visiting very early in the morning or late at night to enjoy this tree without the crowds.
My top tips for visiting Hatchard’s Christmas Tree
- Visit in off-peak – this book Christmas Tree can be very busy at peak travel times and rush hours. I would visit earlier or later in the day for fewer crowds.
- Be patient – the book nooks are almost always taken. Be patient for one to free up!
- Get a better view from upstairs – make use of the stairs, escalators or lifts to access the upper floor and see this beautiful tree from above.
Festive things to do nearby
If you’re travelling to London for the Christmas season, there are plenty of festive things to do near St Pancras International.
If you’re Potterhead, you’ll be happy to hear that most of these are Wizarding World activities too!
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
One of my favourite places to visit in London at Christmas time would be the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
Their Grand Staircase is a showstopper and has a gorgeous lick of red paint, winding staircases and gold fleur-de-lis.
To me, this always reminds me of the Gryffindor Common Room at Christmas time, especially with the gorgeous Christmas trees on either side of the stairs.
Non-hotel guests are allowed inside to admire the staircase and take photos from the bottom. Just make sure to ask first and then, you can enjoy a drink in their bar.
Beyond Harry Potter, this staircase has been featured in Spice Girl’s Wannabe music video and The Crown.
It’s also a Harry Potter filming location from the Chamber of Secrets when Ron and Harry fly over King’s Cross in the blue Ford Anglia.
King’s Cross Station Christmas Tree
So, King’s Cross station is only a few metres from St Pancras International and it’s the perfect place for Harry Potter fans.
It’s the official home of Platform 9 and 3/4 and was where they filmed the Hogwarts Express scenes in the very first movie!
Although that platform doesn’t technically exist, there is lots to do here that honours the Harry Potter fandom.
You can visit their Harry Potter Shop and you can queue to get a photo with the famous trolley. Remember to bring your house scarf!
Also, every year they have a ‘Back to Hogwarts Day’ celebration where they announce the Hogwarts Express. It only happens once a year so it’s very special.
In the festive season, they put up an incredible Platform 9 3/4 Christmas Tree in the station and it’s HUGE.
You can spot all sorts of Hogwarts express tickets and owls. It’s the perfect photo opportunity for Potterheads.
Related post – how to find Platform 9 3/4’s in London!
Harry Potter Christmas Shop
You can always find Harry Potter-themed Christmas decorations at the Harry Potter Studio Tour all year.
But, this year there is a Harry Potter Christmas pop-up store at King’s Cross Station too.
This can be found just around the corner from the original Harry Potter shop and it sells all sorts of festive gifts that look like they’ve been plucked from the Wizarding World.
You can buy magical stockings, knitted Molly Weasley jumpers, wands, Christmas decorations and toys too. It’s great to buy some last-minute gifts for all you Slytherin’s out there.
As this shop is slightly smaller, I found that it was a lot easier to find things and the decor was so magical and cosy.
Related post – 40+ Harry Potter places that you can visit in London
Hogwarts in the Snow
If love seeing Hogwarts at Christmas with scenes like the Yule Ball, then you must visit Hogwarts in the Snow.
It’s an annual event at Harry Potter Studios in London that sees the studio tour transformed into a winter wonderland but it will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.
It’s guaranteed to melt even the coldest of Slytherin hearts.
In the festive season, you’ll find all the sets have been decorated with trees and decorations. You can even see Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Castle covered in snow.
Make sure to read my detailed review of Hogwarts in the Snow to see if it’s something you’d enjoy.
Looking for the best Christmas lights & displays in London?
London is arguably one of the best cities to visit in the world at Christmas time as nearly every shop and street is decorated for the holidays.
You’ll find that the entire city has festive events going on. You’ll find light displays, festive trails, Christmas markets, ice skating rinks and more.
If you were looking for the BEST activities, make sure to read my post below. It has over 30+ places to visit and a festive walking route.