123 Shirland Road, Maida Vale, Maida Vale, London, W9 2EW
Tube: Maida Vale Station
A rose-nosed reindeer walks into a bar and the elf barman says: "Why the long face?" Rudolf duly replies: "I've got pines and needles". Yes, yes... it's a shocker - but it's presumably the inspiration behind this London-based premier Christmas tree service. Pines and Needles was set up by brothers Josh and Sam Lyle in 1995 when the entrepreneurial pair (aged just 15 and 13) decided to travel down from Scotland to London with a horsebox full of Christmas trees in a bid to make their fortunes. The gamble paid off and now Pines and Needles is a veritable festive topiary giant, with 19 outlets all over London, including stalls at Notting Hill, Fulham and Brick Lane. The Brothers Lyle believe in sustainable forestry and all their trees come from a site in Scotland where a triple-fold re-planting policy is in force. What's more, a percentage of all profits go to charity - and the boys will even come collect your tree after Christmas for recycling. It's an astoundingly accommodating service and they have a long loyal list of customers who faithfully return to them every year. And hats off must go to the friendly and ever-helpful staff, all of whom wear kilts even on the most freezing of days. Trees come in all shapes and sizes with traditional trees ranging from around £30 to £130, plus there is a huge selection of stands, lights, decorations, wreaths, holly, mistletoe, and garlands. Visit the website for more information on prices and products. The flagship stall is in Maida Vale where the Lyles started selling trees outside their older brother's laundrette.
Camden Garden Centre, 2 Barker Drive, St Pancras Way, Camden Town, London, NW1 0JW
Tube: Camden Town Station
Dates: 25th November to 24th December 2014
With a client list including No. 11 Downing Street, the London Dungeon and Tower Bridge, Camden Garden Centre must be doing something right in the Christmas tree stakes. Whether you want a simple tabletop sapling or a five-metre giant, this North London spot is definitely the place to visit. Expert staff are on hand to answer your Christmas tree-related queries while all the specimens are nicely displayed and can be trimmed and netted to facilitate transportation back to your home. Types of tree include the traditional Norway Spruce, the guaranteed needle-holding Nordmann and Noble Firs, the new compact pot-grown Fraser Fir variety and a wide selection of artificial trees. A delivery service is available throughout London, and while you're at it, make it a clean Christmas sweep with the selection of wreaths, holly and mistletoe on offer. The Christmas display opens from the 8th of November - but don't leave it too late because trees often run out well before Christmas Eve.
Pools on the Park, Old Deer Park, London, TW9 2SF
Tube: Richmond Station
Offering an urban forest on eight farm-style sites around London, the Christmas Forest is London's largest independent "treetailer" ensuring that Londoners can enjoy their tree-browsing experience with their conscience appeased. For every tree that is sold, a donation is made to Tree Aid to plant and care for a new tree in the drylands of Africa. Last year they completed their goal of planting their 100,000th tree in Africa through Tree Aid, and have now planted more than 105,000 trees in the African drylands. The Christmas Forest is also saving on 'tree miles' by sourcing home-grown firs from special farms and sustainable plantations in the UK. Four different varieties are available, including the traditional aromatic Norway Spruce (from £22), the non-drop Nordmann Fir (from £28), the Fraser Firs (from £52) and Noble Firs (from £26). The Christmas Forest brings the magic of visiting a country farm to the city and, once you've chosen the right tree, you can add a few more homely festive touches by shopping for wreaths, lights, mistletoe, holly, stands, logs for the fire and even special entwined reindeer sculptures. The Christmas Forest stores can be found in Richmond, Putney, Dulwich, Islington, Stoke Newington, Kensal Green, Finsbury Park and Ealing.
Clifton Nurseries, 5A Clifton Villas, Little Venice, London, W9 2PH
Dates: 22nd November to 24th December 2014
For those who like to do Christmas with a touch of class, a visit to Clifton Nurseries (or merely to their online shop) is a real festive treat. The Warwick Avenue garden centre is open seven days a week and will be selling Christmas trees of all shapes and size through to Christmas Eve (although supplies usually run out well before, so head early to avoid disappointment). For an extra cost, the Nurseries will adorn your tree with their own special balls, lights and decoration - you can even get the tree delivered and installed for you. But if you're after a basic package (ie. a tree tout simple) then prices start from around £40. The trees are renowned for their freshness and quality.