London Christmas Carols

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St Paul's
Southwark Cathedral
St-Martin-in-the-Fields
Trafalgar Square
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall Carols by Candlelight
Royal Albert Hall
Dimbleby Cancer Care: Carols By Candlelight
Carols by Candlelight: Macmillan Cancer Care
The Sick Children's Trust Christmas Carol Service
Christmas Carol Concert: Hope and Homes for Children
Carols By Candlelight: Action on Hearing Loss
 

 

There are few better ways to get into a festive mood than singing carols around the Christmas tree or in one of London's famous churches and cathedrals. To make sure you know when and where to go this Yule, read our feature on all the best carol singing, Christmas services and festive concerts in the capital - including the popular Midnight Masses at St Paul's and Westminster.

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St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Carols & Services

Try St-Martins-in-the-Fields for a Christmas helping of carols, candles and community spirit.

St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4JJ

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Covent Garden Station, Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 29th November to 30th December 2017

 

St Martin-in-the-Fields is a perfect venue for any kind of service or concert - especially when candlelit and on a cold winter's night - but it is really quite extraordinary during the festive period when it comes into its own with a generous dollop of Christmas carols and services. Located almost in the shadow of the towering Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, St Martin-in-the-Fields offers a seasonal glow throughout December with a range of services and carols that would get even Scrooge singing O Come, All Ye Faithful! The line-up this year includes the BBC Radio 4 Christmas Appeal with a Carol Service, a Norwegian Concert at Christmas, a Christmas Gala by Candlelight and the Parish Carol Service on Christmas Eve.

 
 
 

St Paul's Christmas Carols & Services

The iconic cathedral hosts an extensive series of concerts throughout December.

St Paul's Cathedral, St Paul's Churchyard, City, London, EC4M 8AD

Tube: St. Paul's Station , Mansion House Station, Blackfriars Underground Station

 

Dates: 2nd to 28th December 2017

 

Few places are better for traditional Christmas services and carols than St Paul's, the spiritual home of Great Britain. To meet the increasing demand, this year St Paul's hosts a series of concerts throughout the month of December, kicking off with the dramatic Advent Procession on 2nd and 3rd December, with words and music focusing on the themes of light in darkness and hope in despair. St Christopher Wren's great dome, which dominates much of the City, fills with the sound of the Cathedral Choir for a large part of the month and the most special services and concerts are free and available to all. The season peaks with the Christmas Carol Service on 23rd and 24th December and the excessively popular Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve.

 
 
 

Southwark Cathedral

Catch a festive service at historic Southwark, located in the heart of Borough Market.

Southwark Cathedral, Bridge, Bankside, London, SE1 9DA

Tube: London Bridge Station

 

Dates: 02nd - 24th December 2016

 

Southwark Cathedral has a number of festive services open to the public throughout December including a rather special concert on 12th December for Feed the Minds, raising money for the charity which helps transform lives through education projects. Further carol singing can be heard at an evening for the Alzheimer's Society on 14th December with TV presenter Fiona Phillips and a host of other celebrity readers, the Cathedral Choir Concert on 20th December and the Building the Crib and Midnight Mass on 24th December. For the Cathedral Carol Services, no tickets are required and the bulk of the singing is done by the boys, girls and men of the Cathedral Choir. The congregation will get a chance to join in and sing some of their favourites while the festive music will be interspersed with readings taken from the Bible around of the birth of Jesus. 

 
 
 

Westminster Abbey

Head to one of London's most famous landmarks for a traditional Christmas service.

Westminster Abbey, Dean's Yard, Westminster, London, SW1P 3PA

Tube: Westminster Station , St James's Park Station

 

Dates: 3rd to 25th December 2017

 

Pack inside one of London's most famous landmarks for an old-fashioned service to take you right through to Christmas Day. Westminster Abbey has been at the centre of royal and religious life in Britain since the time of William the Conqueror, who was crowned here on Christmas Day 1066 following the successful Norman invasion of the British Isles. More recently, it was where Prince William and Catherine Middleton chose to get married. It's easy to lose sight of what Christmas is all about in the sea of commercialisation, but sitting in the majestic history of the Abbey's nave will help remind you of the religious message. These awe-inspiring surroundings provide a striking backdrop for an evening of lessons and carols. Most events do not need to be booked and are free to attend but for the popular services on 23rd and 24th December you will need to book free tickets in advance. Other highlights this year include Schutz The Christmas Story on 5th December and a Christmas Concert in partnership with John Lewis on 14th December, both of which are charged and require tickets.

 
 
 

Dimbleby Cancer Care: Carols By Candlelight

An evening of carols hosted by David and Jonathan Dimbleby.

St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey, 193 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UW

Tube: London Bridge Station

 

Dates: 04th December 2017

 

Join hosts David and Jonathan Dimbleby for an evening of Carols by Candlelight with special performances from the Junior Choir of Farringtons School. An annual event, this year marks 51 years of Dimbleby Cancer Care, which was set up in 1966 in memory of broadcaster Richard Dimbleby. Money raised goes towards providing practical and psychological support to people living with cancer and to their families and carers. Following the service there will be wine and mince pies and the chance to take part in a festive raffle.

 
 
 
 

Children & the Arts Carol Concert

Stars of the stage and screen come together for this evening of readings and music.

Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9BZ

Tube: Sloane Square Station

 

Dates: Monday 4th December 2017

 

The voice of The Snowman's Walking in the Air, Aled Jones is a suitable host for a Christmas carol concert and that's exactly what he's doing for the Children & the Arts Carol Concert, taking place at Holy Trinity Church in Sloane Square. Raising funds for the charity's work in bringing the arts to disadvantaged children throughout the UK, the concert will bring together stars of the stage and screen to perform in an event that will be broadcast by Classic FM on Christmas Eve. The line-up includes Felicity Jones, Adrian Lester, Ben Miller, Brian Blessed and soprano Carly Paoli and will include festive readings and music.

 
 
 

Carols By Candlelight: Action on Hearing Loss

Bill Oddie and Mat Gilbert recite readings and two choirs perform.

St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9DS

Tube: Barbican Station , Farringdon Station, St. Paul's Station

 

Dates: Tuesday 5th December 2017

 

Bill Oddie, Scarlette Douglas and Mat Gilbert will recite readings and both the Addison Singers, BBC School Choir of the Year finalists, and Blackheath Prep School Chamber Choir will perform at a special Christmas carol service in the enchanting surroundings of St Bartholomew the Great church, which was used for the filming of both Shakespeare in Love and Four Weddings and a Funeral. The concert, on Tuesday 5th December, is put on by the charity Action on Hearing Loss and all money raised goes to help their work. Following the concert, guests will be able to enjoy mulled wine and mince pies in the Cloisters Cafe and have the chance to win exclusive Christmas gifts.

 
 
 

The Sick Children's Trust Christmas Carol Service

St Marylebone Parish Church, Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LT

Tube: Baker Street Station , Regent's Park Station

 

Dates: Wednesday 6th December 2017

 

Enjoy an evening of singing and celebrity readings at St Marylebone Parish Church on Wednesday 6th December at The Sick Children's Trust Christmas Carol Service with traditional carols, seasonal readings by special guests and magical musical performances, followed by a wine and mince pie reception after the service. Previous celebrity guests have included Vanessa Redgrave, Alison Steadman, Chris Tarrant, Anita Dobson and Jeffrey Archer and this year's guests will be announced soon.

 
 
 

Christmas Carol Concert: Hope and Homes for Children

Readings by Ruth Jones, John Sergeant and actors Edward and Freddie Fox.

St Mary Abbots Parish Church, Kensington High Street, London, W8 4LA

Tube: High Street Kensington Station

 

Dates: Wednesday 6th December 2017

 

Gavin & Stacey co-creator Ruth Jones (MBE) is teaming up with Strictly star and television news legend John Sergeant and actors Edward and Freddie Fox for this year's Hope and Homes for Children's Christmas Carol Concert at St Mary Abbotts Church in Kensington. The stars of TV and film will be giving guest readings at the festive fundraiser on 6th December, alongside performances by singer songwriter Freya Ridings, the London Suzuki Group and the Deutsche Bank Singers. The service will be followed by wine and mince pies and you can also join in at the Christmas tea before the concert. It's all for a great cause - raising funds for Hope and Homes for Children who support vulnerable children in Rwandan and Ugandan orphanages.

 
 
 

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree & Carols

For a truly memorable Christmas experience it has to be carols in Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Square, Central, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DS

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 7th December 2017 to 4th January 2018

 

Since 1947, stately Trafalgar Square receives a majestic Norwegian Christmas Tree as an annual gift from the people of Oslo, thanking Britain for its support and friendship during World War Two. The enormous tree is a popular seasonal tourist attraction, particularly in the fortnight leading up to Christmas, when each evening (from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays, and from 2pm to 6pm at weekends) a different choir gathers there to sing carols and raise money for a range of voluntary or charitable organisations. Passers-by are welcome to come and listen to the carols in the square and join in the festive cheer. Nelson's Column is decorated with Norwegian white lights and the tree is illuminated from noon until midnight until the Twelfth Night of Christmas in early January. A few days after the official lighting of the tree there's a torch-lit procession on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields, as the choir and clergy bless the Crib in a special ceremony in Trafalgar Square. The tree actually goes up in late November if you want to see it in all its naked evergreen glory.

 
 
 
 

Temple Winter Festival

A series of concerts with music inspired by the Christmas story.

Temple Church, Fleet Street, Temple, London, EC4Y 7BL

Tube: Temple Station

 

Dates: 11th to 15th Dec 2017

 

Back for its fifth year, the Temple Winter Festival presents a series of concerts with music inspired by the Christmas story written over the centuries. Running for five days, it will see the famous historic Temple Church, located in a picturesque courtyard between the Middle and Inner Temples, filled with festive music from the likes of the BBC Singers, Polyphony and the Tallis Scholars. The church's own choir and the Temple Singers will kick off proceedings on 11th December while other performances come from the Choir of Merton College, Gesualdo Six and Voces 8.

 
 
 

Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall

One of London's most spectacular Christmas carol experiences.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 13th to 24th December 2017

 

The climax of the Royal Albert Hall's Christmas carols programme is the dimly lit traditional Christmas celebration, Carols by Candlelight, a fun-filled jamboree of carols and Christmas hits with readings from Dickens and the Scriptures by special guest Bernard Cribbins, accompanied by the Mozart Festival Orchestra in full period costume. There are no actual candles, just an 'evocative candle-lit style setting' - but the hall is splendidly decorated to create a thoroughly festive atmosphere. For the Christmas Carol Singalong shows, irrepressible showman Jonathan Cohen leads you through festive songs including Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Merry Christmas Everyone, Jingle Bells and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. Fine dining packages are also available for most events.

 
 
 

Carols by Candlelight: Macmillan Cancer Support

Alastair Bruce presents and the Vox Cordis choir perform.

St Paul's Church Knightsbridge, 32a Wilton Place, Belgravia, London, SW1X 8SH

Tube: Hyde Park Corner Station , Knightsbridge Station

 

Dates: Thursday 14th December 2017

 

This enormously popular carol concert held to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, now in its 27th year, takes place at the Grade II listed St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge. The Carols by Candlelight concert features well known carols for all to sing along to and includes performances and readings by celebrities. Familiar faces at this year's event include Alastair Bruce of Sky News, who will present the concert, while the award-winning Vox Cordis choir will perform the carols. After the concert, guests can gather in the church courtyard for mulled wine, mince pies and hot roasted chestnuts.

 
 
 
 
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