London Christmas Carols
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.
London Christmas Carols Map
Check out the LondonTown.com map of London Christmas Carols.
The Royal Albert Hall's Carols by Candlelight are a splendid celebration of the season.
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP
Tube: South Kensington Station
Dates: 13th - 24th December 2014
The climax of the Royal Albert Hall's Christmas carols programme is the dimly lit traditional Christmas celebration, Carols by Candlelight. The name is a bit misleading - there are no actual candles lighting the hall, 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.
Saturday 13 December - 1.30pm & 4.45pm - Christmas Carol Singalong
Saturday 13 December - 8pm - Carols by Candlelight
Sunday 14 December - 1pm & 4.15pm - Jingle Bell Christmas
Sunday 14 December - 7.30pm - Messiah
Monday 15 December - 7.30pm - The BT Christmas Concert
Tuesday 16 December - 7.30pm - Christmas Classics
Wednesday 17 December - 7.30pm - King's College Choir
Thursday 18 December - 2.30pm - Christmas Carol Singalong
Thursday 18 December 2014 - 7.30pm - Classic Carols
Friday 19 December 2014 - 7.30pm - Messiah
Saturday 20 December - 1.30pm - Christmas Carol Singalong
Saturday 20 December - 4.45pm - Christmas Carol Singalong
Saturday 20 December - 8pm - Carols by Candlelight
Sunday 21 December - 1pm & 4.15pm - Anton & Erin's Christmas Cracker
Sunday 21 December - 8pm - Carols by Candlelight
Monday 22 December - 2.30pm - Anton & Erin's Christmas Cracker
Monday 22 December - 7.30pm - The Glory of Christmas
Tuesday 23 December - 2.30pm - Christmas Carol Singalong
Tuesday 23 December - 7.30pm - Carols by Candlelight
Wednesday 24 December - 2.30pm - Carols by Candlelight
Wednesday 24 December - 7pm - Carols by Candlelight
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 Station
Dates: 29th November - 24th December 2014
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 on Saturday 29th November, with words and music focusing on the themes of light in darkness and hope in despair.
Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 November - 6pm - Advent Procession
Wednesday 3 December - 6.30pm - Messiah George Frederic Handel
Sunday 7 December - 1pm - Sunday Forum
Tuesday 9 December - 7pm - Barnardo's Carol Concert
Thursday 11 December - 6.30pm - A Celebration of Christmas
Tuesday 16 December - 7pm - Maggie's Christmas Carol Concert
Thursday 18 December - 7pm - Age UK Love Christmas Carol Concert
Friday 19 December - 5pm - Ceremony of Carols Benjamin Britten
Saturday 20 December - 11am - Family Carols (Please note new earlier time)
Sunday 21 December - 3.15pm - Choral Evensong
Tuesday 23 December - 4pm - Christmas Carol Service
Wednesday 24, Christmas Eve - 4pm - Christmas Carol Service
Wednesday 24, Christmas Eve - 11.30pm - Midnight Eucharist (Communion will be served outside)
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: 30th November - 25th December 2014
Southwark Cathedral has a number of festive services open to the public throughout 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.
Programme (check website for latest listings)
Sunday 30 November - 11am - Advent Sunday Choral Eucharist
Sunday 30 November - 6.30pm - The Advent Procession
Wednesday 3 December - 6.30pm - Lighting of the Christmas Tree
Friday 5 December and Saturday 6 December - Christmas Market
Saturday 6 December - 7.30pm - Merbecke Choir, Christmas Concert
Thursday 18 December - 12.45pm - Cathedral Sing-In
Friday 19 December - 7.30pm - Cathedral Choir Concert
Sunday 21 December - 6.30pm - The Cathedral Carol Service
Tuesday 23 December, 6.30pm - The Cathedral Carol Service
Wednesday 24 December - Christmas Eve - 4pm - Building the Crib
Wednesday 24 December - 11.30pm - Midnight Eucharist
Thursday 25 December - Christmas Day - 8.45am Morning Prayer
Thursday 25 December - 9am - Eucharist with carols
Thursday 25 December - 11am - Choral Eucharist
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: 30th November - 25th December 2014
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.
Sun 30th November - 4pm - An Advent Liturgy by candlelight
Sun 14th December - 6pm - Service of Lesson & Carols
16th December - 7pm - Christmas Concert
Tue 23rd December - 6pm - Service of Lessons & Carols
Wed 24th December - 4pm - Service of Lessons & Carols
Wed 24th December - 12noon - Crib Service. The Christmas story for families
Wed 24th December - 11.30pm - First Eucharist of Christmas
Thu 25th December - 8am - Holy Communion
Thu 25th December - 10.30am - Sung Eucharist
Thu 25th December - 3pm - Evensong
Check www.westminster-abbey.org for full details and ticketing information.
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: 30th November - 26th December 2014
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!
Saturday 29 November - 4pm - Family Carols
Saturday 29 November - 7.30pm - Advent Carols by Candlelight
Thursday 4 December - 7.30pm - A Christmas Celebration
Friday 5 December - 7.30pm - Royal Norwegian Annual Christmas Concert
Saturday 6 December - 4pm - Mini Maestro Family Christmas Carol Concert
Saturday 6 December - 7.30 pm - Christmas Concert with Audience Carols
Thursday 11 December - 7.30pm - The Glory of Christmas by Candlelight
Friday 12 December - 7.30pm - Bach Christmas Oratorio by Candlelight
Saturday 13 December - 4pm - Carols for Shoppers
Saturday 13 December - 7.30pm - A Festival of Carols
Monday 15 December - 7.30pm - The Joys of Christmas
Thursday 18 December - 7.30pm - The Spirit of Christmas - The Annual Celebration
Friday 19 December - 7.30pm - Handel Messiah by Candlelight
Saturday 20 December - 4.00pm - Christmas with the English Chamber Choir
Saturday 20 December - 7.30pm - Handel Messiah by Candlelight
Monday 22 December - 7.30pm - Christmas Gala by Candlelight
Tuesday 23 December - 4pm - Festive Family Carols by Candlelight
Tuesday 23rd december - 7pm - Carols for Christmas by Candlelight
Friday 26 December - 7pm Boxing Day Baroque
Saturday 27 December - 7.30pm - The Complete Brandenburgs at Christmas
Monday 29 December - 7.45pm - Viennese Christmas by Candlelight
Tuesday 30 December - 7pm - Handel Messiah by Candlelight
Tuesday 30 December - 9.30pm - A Ceremony of Carols by Candlelight
Wednesday 31 December - 3.30pm - New Year's Eve Operetta Matinee
Thursday 1 January - 7pm - New Year's Day Extravaganza
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: 04th - 23rd December 2014
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 (9th-22nd Dec) 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.