London Christmas Carols

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St Paul's
Southwark Cathedral
St-Martin-in-the-Fields
Trafalgar Square
Temple Church
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall Carols by Candlelight
Royal Albert Hall
Dimbleby Cancer Care: Carols By Candlelight
VSO Christmas Carol Concert
Carols by Candlelight: Macmillan Cancer Care
 

 

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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Dimbleby Cancer Care: Carols By Candlelight

Hosted by brothers David and Jonathan Dimbleby with special guests including Simon Callow.

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

Tube: London Bridge Station

 

Dates: 05th December 2016

 

Join hosts David and Jonathan Dimbleby for an evening of Carols by Candlelight with special guests including Simon Callow and performances from the Junior Choir of Farringtons School. An annual event, this year is somewhat special as it marks the 50th anniversary of the 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.

 
 
 

Carols For The Animals

Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan reads and Massive Violins perform live.

St Stephen Walbrook, 39 Walbrook, London, EC4N 8BN

Tube: Bank Station , Cannon Street Station, Mansion House Station, Monument Station

 

Dates: 08th December 2016

 

Following last year's sell out concert, Carols for the Animals will be taking place again at St Stephen Walbrook Church in the heart of the City of London. As well as traditional carols sung by the Voxcetera Choir, you can enjoy hot mulled wine and mince pies. Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan will be doing a reading and the seven cellists of Massive Violins perform live. All proceeds from this celebration on behalf of all the animals in the world benefit International Animal Rescue.

 
 
 

VSO Christmas Carol Concert

Alex Jennings and Mary-Jess, winner of China's version of X-Factor, play a part.

Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, London, SW1H 9NH

Tube: St James's Park Station , Westminster Station

 

Dates: 08th December 2016

 

Voluntary Service Overseas is hosting a Christmas Carol Concert at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster this December, marking more than 20 years of annual concerts. Everything is lined up for a festive evening with musical performances from the City of London Choir, led by choirmaster Hilary Davan Wetton. Enjoy readings from celebrity supporters including Alex Jennings, Indira Varma and Benjamin Zephaniah, and music from around the world by Cameroonian drummer Jo N'Gala and talented singer Mary-Jess, winner of China's version of X-Factor.

 
 
 

Carols By Candlelight: Action on Hearing Loss

Helen Lederer and Martyn Lewis recite readings and the North London Military Wives choir sing.

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

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

 

Dates: 09th December 2016

 

Celebrities Helen Lederer and Martyn Lewis will recite readings and both the North London Military Wives choir and Blackheath Prep School chamber choir will perform at a special Christmas carol service in the enchanting surroundings of St Bartholomew the Great church. The concert, on Friday 9th December, is put on by the charity Action on Hearing Loss and all money raised goes to help their work.

 
 
 

African Promise: Christmas Carol Service

Brian Blessed and the London International Gospel Choir add volume to the concert.

St Giles-In-The-Fields, 60 St Giles High Street, London, WC2H 8LG

Tube: Tottenham Court Road Station , Covent Garden Station, Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 15th December 2016

 

There will be Christmas readings from booming voiced actor Brian Blessed and musical performances from the London International Gospel Choir at this special evening of carols at St Giles-in-the-Field. Classical singer Libby Berkieta is also lending her voice to support the work of African Promise, a small charity that works to improve the quality of education in rural Kenyan primary schools. You can join in with the festive singing and enjoy drinks and mince pies after the concert.

 
 
 
 

Carols by Candlelight: Macmillan Cancer Support

Familiar faces include Alastair Bruce of Sky News and actress Richenda Carey.

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

Tube: Hyde Park Corner Station , Knightsbridge Station

 

Dates: 15th December 2016

 

This enormously popular carol concert held to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, now in its 26th 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 and actress Richenda Carey. Carols will be performed by award-winning choir Vox Cordis and after the concert, guests can gather in the church courtyard for mulled wine, mince pies and hot roasted chestnuts. If you're visiting the service from out of town and are in need of accommodation, take a look at our hotels near St Paul's Church Knightsbridge.

 
 
 

Christmas Carols & Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall

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

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 13th - 24th December 2016

 

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. The climax of the Royal Albert Hall's Christmas carols programme is the dimly lit traditional Christmas celebration, Carols by Candlelight with readings from Dickens and the Scriptures by special guest Christopher Timothy, 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 sing-along shows irrepressible showman Jonathan Cohen leads you through festive songs including Let it Snow, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Fine dining packages are also available for most events. Check the Royal Albert Hall website for full details.

 
 
 

St Paul's Cathedral

The iconic cathedral hosts an extensive series of concerts, including the ever popular Midnight Mass.

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

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

 

Dates: 26th November - 25th December 2016

 

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 peaking with the excessively popular Midnight Mass service and carol concert. If you prefer not to queue you can see the services on 23rd December and Christmas Eve live on a big screen in nearby Paternoster Square. 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 festive season kicks off with the dramatic Advent Procession, with words and music focusing on the themes of light in darkness and hope in despair.

 
 
 

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 events include an evening for the Alzheimer's Society on 13th December, the Mayor of London's Christmas Carol Service on 19th December, and 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

For a truly royal Christmas, a trip to Westminster Abbey is essential.

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

Tube: Westminster Station , St James's Park Station

 

Dates: 27th November - 25th December 2016

 

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. Best to book in for the Services of Lessons & Carols on 23rd December and Christmas Eve which are especially popular and require (free) tickets. Check www.westminster-abbey.org for full details and ticketing information.

 
 
 
 

St Martin-in-the-Fields

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: 26th November - 02nd January 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! A highlight this year is the Carols by Candlelight event on 6th December, presented by comedian Micky Flanagan in the aid of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Performers include the English National Opera Chorus, the London Welsh Rugby Choir Club and the Sydenham High School Junior Choir. 

 
 
 

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: 01st December - 05th January 2017

 

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 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 even 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. The tree actually goes up in late November if you want to see it in all its naked evergreen glory.

 
 
 

Temple Church

Make sure you arrive early to secure your spot at Temple's popular carol concerts.

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

Tube: Temple Station

 
 

If the renowned author Dan Brown staggered through the vaulted archway of any grand London place of worship to sing carols this Christmas, it would surely be the Temple Church, between Fleet Street and the Thames. The Temple Church was built by the Knights Templar - made famous by Brown's The Da Vinci Code - and was used in the filming of the subsequent movie, starring Tom Hanks as the forty-year-old Professor Robert Langdon with the arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete (who had a haunting phobia of enclosed spaces). Jokes (and best-selling literary assassins) aside, the Temple Church's range of carol services are a true delight and will certainly get you in the mood for Christmas celebrations. Located in a picturesque courtyard between the Middle and Inner Temples, the famously round church is a popular spot for carol singing so be sure to arrive in good time - not just so you can amble around the nearby squares and gardens, but so you can grab a seat in the nave with a good view of the choir. For more information go to www.templechurch.com.

 
 
 
 
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