Christmas carol concerts: London sing-alongs to book in 2019
From majestic performances in stunning settings to intimate local gatherings in churches near you, we round up the best Christmas carol concerts London has to offer
Whether you’re an aspiring chorister or someone who rarely warbles outside the shower, there’s no better place than London to welcome the season with song. The capital offers an enormous array of carol services throughout December – here’s our pick of the best.
ON A GRAND SCALE: Carols at the Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall's extensive and varied Christmas programme culminates in two carol concerts in spectacular surroundings on the 23 and 24 December. Highlights include Christmas with the Salvation Army, John Rutter's ever-popular Christmas Celebration, and Bloodwise's Christmas Extravaganza concert in support of research into blood cancers.
When: Various dates from 3 - 24 December 2019
Where: Royal Albert Hall
Cost: £22 - £210.50
FAMILY FESTIVITIES: Festive Family Carols by Candlelight
If you’d like to take your kids carolling, this hour-long service at St Martin-in-the-Fields is perfect for little children with short attention spans. St Martin’s Voices, a vocal ensemble made up of choral scholars past and present, sing a whole host of Christmas classics inviting everyone to join in. This atmospheric church has hosted classical concerts for over 250 years. Head here for carols by candlelight and a side of child-friendly entertainment.
When: 22 December 2019, 4PM - 5PM
Where: St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square
Cost: £10 - £20
GOOD CAUSE: The Lullaby Trust's carols by candlelight
Belt out your favourite carols for a good cause at the Lullaby Trust's annual Christmas carol concert. Not much of a singer? No bother, because former finalists of the BBC's Gospel Choir of the Year competition and Sing Gospel are lending their experienced voices to the event. The Trust's ambassador: bestselling historian, award-winning journalist and TV presenter, Dan Jones is also attending the event. As is comedian, author and sports personality Mark Watson, and historian, broadcaster and writer Tessa Dunlop. Proceeds from this concert go to bereavement support and research relating to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
When: 3 December 2018, 6:45PM - 8PM
Where: St James' Church, Clerkenwell, Clerkenwell Close, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0EA
Cost: £10 - £20
THE WAY TO WESTMINSTER: Carol Concert
Head to Westminster Abbey for a carol concert on a grand scale in one of the most picturesque settings in London. Expect a selection of festive choral works interspersed with seasonal readings and traditional carols to which all can sing along.
When: 12 December, 7PM - 8:15PM
Where: Westminster Cathedral
Cost: £15 - £40
OXFORD STREET BROWSERS: Carols for Shoppers
St James's Piccadilly has yet to announce their December programme, but it's reliably packed with great events. Thanks to its central positioning by Jermyn Street, St James's Piccadilly is an easy pit stop for those who want to inject some traditional carol singing into an evening of last-minute Christmas shopping. This is where its yearly 'carols for shoppers' comes in. It shouldn't be the only service you do this year, but it will be fun, bustling, and rustling with shopping bags. While inside, don't forget to gaze up at its stunning Christopher Wren-designed gallery. Through the clear glass windows you can see the tops of double-deckers sailing by – it's a very London church.
When: 17 December, 5:30PM
Where: St James's Piccadilly, 197 Piccadilly, W1J 9LL
SEASONAL SPLENDOUR: Cancer Research UK's carol concert
The beautiful mid-City setting of St. Paul's plays host to a star-studded charity concert this Christmas. Expect readings from actors Luke Evans, Helen George and Emily Watson, plus a chance to rest your voice while St. Paul's Cathedral Choir, the Band of the Welsh Guard and various well-known soloists take charge. This is one of Cancer Research UK's most important yearly fundraising events and with ticket prices pitched in an appealing arc, it looks set to be a wonderful one.
When: 10 December, 7PM
Where: St. Paul's Cathedral, St Paul's Churchyard, EC4M 8AD
Cost: £10 – £125
Kids for Kids, Candlelit Christmas Concert
Another starry concert in the heart of Belgravia is being hosted by the enigmatic Joanna Lumley OBE. The Kids for Kids Candlelit Christmas Concert also features celebrity guest readers Miriam Margolyes, Barry Cryer, Timothy West and the Lord Cope of Berkeley. Kids for Kids, founded in 2001, provides aid to children in the rural villages of Darfur, Sudan. At this fundraising event, Thames Fanfare Brass and the choirs of Queen's Gate School will charm your ears. The clou (apart from Lumley, of course): mulled wine and mince pies at the end are included in your ticket.
When: 5 December, 7PM
Where: St. Peter's Church, Eaton Square, SW1W 9AL