St. Pancras International unveils a magical literary experience

St. Pancras International unveils a magical literary experience

For the first time, festive visitors can sit within the 12 metre-high Christmas Tree and be transported to a wonderful world of literature courtesy of Penguin Books.

Today, St. Pancras International officially unveiled its much-loved and highly-anticipated Christmas Tree, in partnership with Hatchards, the UK’s oldest bookshop and one of the station’s many iconic retailers.

Lighting up the station and bringing an abundance of festive cheer to London, the 2023 Christmas Tree is inspired by the magical ability of both books and train travel to transport people to exciting new places.

Standing at 12 metres tall, the Christmas tree features a winding staircase, wrapping around 270 shelves with an impressive array of more than 3,800 books, which have been hand-painted and inscribed with titles of Christmas Classics such as Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” and many more. 

Within the tree, there are eight cubby holes where children and adults alike can sit and fully immerse themselves in the magic of Christmas, both metaphorically and physically. In each booth, there are speakers which allow customers to select a five minute excerpt from an audiobook or reading provided exclusively by Penguin Books, featuring authors including Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Zadie Smith, Robin Stevens, Gabrielle Zevin, Alice Winn, Rick Riordan, Michael Morpurgo, Richard Osman and Tom Fletcher.  With each booth having two options, guests will be able to choose from sixteen different audios. These cubby holes are a great free attraction for the whole family or the perfect place to take five and relax while travelling through St. Pancras.

Wendy Spinks, Commercial Director at St. Pancras and HS1 Ltd, said: ”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 said: ” 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! “

Celebrating Literature and St. Pancras International

BookTok and other social media trends stimulated a 25% increase in reading for young people last year*. With reading on the rise and multiple studies noting the positive impact immersing yourself in a good book can have on mental health, St. Pancras and Hatchards have partnered on this inspiring festive tree design in the hope that it will inspire people to switch away from screens and disconnect. 

St. Pancras International is not only home to the revered Hatchards, which has hosted events and book-signings from Richard Osmand, Nick Hornby  and Ian McEwan in recent times. 

Amidst the literary oasis of St. Pancras International, the station has also quietly supported the academic pursuits of countless individuals. Within the echoes of turning pages and whispered narratives, students and scholars are often found deep in study, some even utilizing the custom thesis writing service to ensure their research papers are as thoughtfully crafted as the classic tales that line the shelves of Hatchards.

It has a long-established relationship to literature, from its patronage of Sir John Betjeman (Poet Laureate and railway enthusiast), who saved the station from demolition in the 1960s, to the station’s close proximity to The British Library, which houses treasured manuscripts from around the world. St. Pancras International is also home to Track Records, an annual poetry competition that inspires young people from the local area to express themselves creatively. 

Christmas at St. Pancras International

The St. Pancras International Christmas Tree has been a London icon for well-over a decade with a reputation for iconic brand partners and pushing the boundaries of what traditionally constitutes a Christmas tree. Over the years, the Tree has played music, displayed light shows and even snowed as part of its ambition to bring festive cheer to travellers and tourists.

The Tree is the centrepiece of the St. Pancras International festive offering, which also includes the Christmas Grotto, located on The Grand Terrace of St. Pancras from the 17th of November. During their visit, children can meet Santa, enjoy activities with Elves, listen to stories and even take their parents for a trip to Hamleys and Hatchards where they can receive 20% off with their grotto ticket.

Other seasonal activity includes:

  • 1st November Christmas Shopping Event: A variety of discounts and special offers available to enjoy at selected retailers all day including 30% off Ted Baker, 20% off Whistles, 20% off L.K.Bennett, 20% off Accessorize, 20% off Hatchards, 20% off Grind and 15% off Neals’ Yard Remedies with many other retailers offering a gift with purchase including Fortnum & Mason, MAC, Boots, The White Company and Samsonite.

Throughout November and December:

  • Hatchards will offer exclusives and signed editions available from the St. Pancras outpost.

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