Three festive London walks to spot Christmas trees in the wild from Soho to Kew

Homes & Property | Gardening

Three festive London walks to spot Christmas trees in the wild from Soho to Kew

Christmas tree too big for your space? Spruce up your winter with a walk around a pinetum

If space in your home is tight before adding six feet of shedding foliage in the month ahead, you could get your fir fix outside the house instead.

Tracking down a Norway spruce, the traditional Christmas tree species, on the capital’s streets is not easy.

According to TreeTalk London, a database where you can design tree walks in your neighbourhood, there are only about 300 of them in London’s public spaces.

Out of an estimated 8.4 million trees, you’ll be looking for a (pine) needle in a haystack. Instead, head to a Victorian ‘pinetum’ to see a living collection of conifers from around the world.

 Bedgebury National Pinetum

Just outside of London exists the world’s largest collection of conifers.

Bedgebury National Pinetum is home to three-quarters of the world’s conifer species, approximately 630 different types of tree.

Throughout December you can enjoy Bedgebury at night with a light show that runs each evening. Tickets for adults start at £17.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

It will be no surprise to learn that Kew Gardens also has an excellent collection of conifers you can enjoy in the glory of its pinetum.

If you visit Kew, make an effort to look for the Coulter pine, which produces the largest cones of any pine tree, and also the Mexican weeping pine with undulating branches and cinnamon coloured bark.

Kew too has a light show running until January 7, with tickets starting at £22.50.

In Soho Square

While London might be sparse of pine trees and conifers in general, my favourite city-dwelling pines are located in opposite corners of Soho Square.

Here you'll see two beautiful Bhutan pines, with blue-green needles that droop from the branches like the coat of an Afghan hound.

You’ll often find me admiring them with a strawberry tart from Maison Bertaux, although at this time of year you might prefer to pick up one of the patisserie’s exemplary mince pies.