As Londoners, we’re lucky to share a city with Westminster Abbey, which has stood on its site since the Eleventh Century. Martyrdoms, coronations and monarchical burials took place in this ancient building; yet for some of us, the Abbey is merely part of a jostling skyline. If there is a time to reclaim our most notable religious house from the tourists, it is the Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols.
Not to be confused with the smaller concert in the St Margaret's Church (Sunday 22 December), the full Christmas Services on 23 and 24 December are the pinnacle of festivities. It is free to attend, but tickets must be reserved in advance (and they're always snapped up faster than hot mince pies).
The concert is candlelit (each attendee is given a candle upon entry, which makes for an excellent keepsake) and enormous – and the service is conducted with all the pomp and majesty that you would expect.
For the All Stand and Sing sections, brush up on old favourites. The choir will introduce you to lesser known carols.
It’s worth getting there at least half an hour early, as the queue of ticket-holders often snakes right up to the houses of parliament. Sit in the nave for the best view; though all proceedings are transmitted to television screens throughout the abbey.
Don’t forget to explore afterwards; Edward the Confessor; Elizabeth I, Geoffrey Chaucer; Henry Purcell; William Blake; Charles Darwin and The Unknown Warrior are all buried here.
Booking Essential: Westminster Abbey carol concert tickets are free but must be reserved. Tickets will be released in batches on Tuesday 12 November at 9:30am, then at 2:30pm, and on Thursday 14 November at 9:30am and 2:30pm.
|What||Service of Lessons & Carols, Westminster Abbey|
|Where||Westminster Abbey, Dean's Yard , London, SW1P 3PA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Westminster (underground)|
On 23 Dec 19, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
On 24 Dec 19, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Abbey's website|