In the heart of London, where the bustling cityscape meets the timeless allure of literature, St. Pancras International stands as a gateway to adventure, both real and imaginary.
And this year, as the festive season draws near, St. Pancras has once again woven its magic by unveiling its enchanting Christmas Tree for 2023, in partnership with Hatchards, the venerable UK’s oldest bookshop.
The St. Pancras Christmas Tree has become a beloved tradition, a beacon of joy that lights up the station and infuses the air with the spirit of the season. But this tree is no ordinary fir adorned with baubles and tinsel; it is a testament to the power of books and the enchantment of train journeys. Standing tall at a majestic 12 metres, this towering masterpiece is more than just a holiday decoration—it’s a literary wonderland waiting to be explored.
In a world where screens often dominate our attention, this extraordinary tree is a reminder of the joy of reading and the transformative experience of getting lost in the pages of a book. It’s a celebration of the magic of literature and the art of storytelling, beautifully crafted to inspire visitors to disconnect from their devices and reconnect with the timeless pleasure of reading.
So, step into this enchanting world, as we embark on a journey through the pages of St. Pancras International’s 2023 Christmas Tree — a literary adventure that promises to captivate hearts and kindle the spirit of the season.
This year’s Christmas Tree stands tall at an impressive 12 metres, and it is unlike any other. It’s an embodiment of the enchantment found in books and the excitement of train journeys. The theme is centred around the remarkable ability of both books and train travel to transport people to new and magical places.
Immersive Reading Experience
As visitors gaze upon the towering tree, they will be delighted to find a winding staircase enveloped by 270 shelves adorned with more than 3,800 books. Each book has been meticulously hand-painted and inscribed with titles of beloved Christmas Classics, including Charles Dickens’ timeless “A Christmas Carol” and C.S. Lewis’ enchanting “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” among many others.
Within this literary marvel, there are eight cosy cubby holes where both children and adults can immerse themselves in the magic of Christmas, both figuratively and literally. These nooks provide a serene escape, and each one is equipped with speakers, allowing visitors to select a five-minute audiobook excerpt or reading.
These exclusive audio snippets are generously provided by Penguin Books and feature renowned authors such as Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Zadie Smith, and many more. With two options in each booth, guests can choose from sixteen different enchanting audios. These cubby holes are not only a delightful attraction for the whole family but also a perfect spot to relax while passing through St. Pancras.
Wendy Spinks, Commercial Director at St. Pancras and HS1 Ltd, shared her thoughts on this year’s tree, saying, “This year’s St. Pancras International Christmas Tree is an ode to the wealth of literature that transports us to exciting and novel worlds. From real-life travel experiences to the fantastical lands of our imagination, we hope that festive visitors feel the magic and are inspired to pick up or gift their loved ones the most timeless gift of all, Books.”
Luke Taylor, Retail Director at Hatchards, also expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “Whether we are young or old, books offer an escape from the hurly-burly bustle of the modern world that no other medium can compete with; and there are few better ways to enjoy a good read than whistling through the countryside on a train! We are delighted to be partnering with St. Pancras International to bring this joy to the many station visitors, allowing people to escape, relax and enjoy literature for a few moments with the station tree. What a start to the festive season!”
Promoting Reading and Well-being
In a world increasingly dominated by screens, St. Pancras International and Hatchards are making a concerted effort to encourage reading. With platforms like BookTok and other social media trends fueling a 25% increase in reading among young people last year, the importance of literary immersion cannot be overstated. Numerous studies have also highlighted the positive impact of reading on mental health. This unique Christmas tree serves as a reminder of the joy of reading, inviting people to disconnect from their devices and dive into the world of literature.
St. Pancras International has a rich literary heritage that extends beyond its partnership with Hatchards. The station has long been associated with literature, from its patronage of Sir John Betjeman, the Poet Laureate and railway enthusiast who saved the station from demolition in the 1960s to its proximity to The British Library, home to treasured manuscripts from around the world. The station also hosts Track Records, an annual poetry competition that inspires young people from the local area to express themselves creatively through poetry.
A History of Innovative Christmas Trees
The St. Pancras International Christmas Tree has a history of pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a traditional Christmas tree. Over the years, it has played music, displayed dazzling light shows, and even created a snowy spectacle, all in the name of spreading festive cheer to travellers and tourists.
The Christmas Tree is the focal point of the St. Pancras International festive experience, but there’s much more to enjoy. The Christmas Grotto, located on The Grand Terrace of St. Pancras from November 17th, offers a magical experience for children. Here, they can meet Santa, engage in activities with playful Elves, listen to enchanting stories, and even take their parents on a shopping spree at Hamleys and Hatchards, with a special 20% discount provided with their grotto ticket.
Festive Shopping Extravaganza
For those seeking holiday shopping opportunities, St. Pancras International offers a Christmas Shopping Event on November 1st. Shoppers can enjoy various discounts and special offers at selected retailers throughout the day. The event includes enticing deals such as 30% off at Ted Baker, 20% off at Whistles, 20% off at L.K.Bennett, 20% off at Accessorize, 20% off at Hatchards, 20% off at Grind, and 15% off at Neals’ Yard Remedies. Many other retailers also offer exciting gifts with purchases, including Fortnum & Mason, MAC, Boots, The White Company, and Samsonite.
Throughout November and December, Hatchards will feature exclusive and signed editions available at their St. Pancras outpost. This presents a wonderful opportunity for book lovers to discover unique editions and treasures for their collections.
In conclusion, St. Pancras International’s Enchanting Christmas Tree for 2023 is a celebration of literature and the magic of reading. It stands as a testament to the power of books and the joy of train travel, offering visitors an immersive and heartwarming experience during the festive season. With its rich literary legacy and commitment to spreading holiday cheer, St. Pancras International continues to be a beacon of culture and delight in the heart of London.