Ring in the beginning of the festive season at one of London’s carol concerts taking place throughout the city, featuring a number of celebrity guests and soulful songs. Spend your night enjoying mulled wine and mince pies as you listen to traditional Christmas tunes that are sure to spread merriment
1The Fayre of St James
Once again the Quintessentially Foundation and The Crown Estate promise a night of festive entertainment at the annual Fayre of St James on Thursday 27th November. The Fayre will feature British superstar Leona Lewis and singer songwriter Gabrielle Aplin, followed by the award-winning Jazz artists The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble in a concert leading up to the turning on of the Jermyn Street Christmas lights. Academy Award winner Emma Thompson will deliver a reading on the centre stage after the concert. The celebration doesn’t stop here though. The party carries on at the re-launched Quaglino’s with canapés, entertainment and drinks made with Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. Quaglino’s will keep the night exciting with a silent auction and a luxury gold photo booth designed by renowned portrait photographer Rankin. Proceeds of the event go to the Rays of Sunshine Charity. Tickets are available for £130 per person or for VIP tickets at £500 per person.
St James’s Piccadilly, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL; quintessentiallyfoundation.org
2Woolwich at Royal Arsenal Riverside
Artillery Square will light up this season when famous comedian, actor and musician, Richard Blackwood, turns on the lights to the 30 ft tall Christmas tree in the square on Sunday 30th November. Berkeley’s Royal Arsenal Riverside will host a number of stars at this year’s event including Blackwood’s co-star in the Broadway Theatre’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Nicole Faraday. Faraday, a TMA award winning actress, will perform a ballet show at the event. Other stars expected for the event are X-Factor contestant Nicole Headman, Irish folk singer Chloe Jac and Canadian classical singer Angela Molineaux. The star-studded event will be accompanied by a Christmas market, where you’ll find The Hop Stuff stall selling its finest ales alongside the Cornerstone Café’s cake stall, and kids will keep themselves busy with Santa’s Grotto.
Royal Artillery Square, Royal Arsenal, London SE18 6ST; royalgreenwich.gov.uk
3Carols in the City
BBC broadcaster Joanna Gosling is hosting this year’s Marie Curie Cancer’s Carols in the City on Monday 1st December at Southwark Cathedral. Gosling will be joined by celebrity guests, including Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael and actor Dominic West, who will be performing seasonal readings. The centre stage will also feature performances by star sopranos Bo Bruce and Camilla Kerslake, BBC Radio 2 Choirsters of the Year Laura Barraclough and Luke McWatters and Fever Pitch, a London-based choir. The performances will be followed by a Champagne reception to spread the Christmas cheer.
Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, London SE1 9DA; mariecurie.org.uk
4Guards Chapel Christmas Concert
For 27 years the Guards Chapel Christmas concert has brought Londoners a festive treat with classical renditions of favourite Christmas carols and celebrity readings. Hosted by the MacMillan Cancer Support charity’s Vice President, Martyn Lewis CBE, the concert will continue to bring cheery Christmas carols to guests, as performed by the Royal Military Chapel Choir. On Thursday 4th December visitors to the Officer’s Mess in the Wellington Barrack will be greeted by Champagne and canapés as they listen to celebrity readings. Last year readings were done by BAFTA-award nominated actress Anne Reid and actress Sinead Cusack and this year even greater celebrity guests are expected. Hosted by the MacMillan charity, proceeds will go toward supporting Cancer patients. Tickets are priced from £40 to £120.
Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ; macmillan.org.uk
5The Hermes Experiment
Winners of the Non-classical Battle of the Bands in 2014, the Hermes Experiment will perform its own take on classic Christmas carols at St John’s Church Notting Hill on Tuesday 16th December. The contemporary quartet of harp, clarinet, soprano and double bass presents an alternative version of Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. It will also premiere a new carol written by acclaimed composer Graham Ross. Visitors are encouraged to grab a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie while they enjoy the free show.
Landsdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, London W11 2NN; thehermesexperiment.com
6Carols by Candlelight
In the past Carols by Candlelight, organized by the NSPCC, has been entertained by Christmas readings from stars like Doctor Who’s John Hurt and Downton Abbey’s Samantha Bond. This year the NSPCC plans to continue this tradition of celebrity support by hosting a number of unannounced stars that will read Christmas poetry and prose. These stars will be followed by the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College Cambridge. Carols by Candlelight will betaking place Wednesday 10th December at Christ Church in Spitalfields. Proceeds go toward supporting the NSPCC, which fights to end child abuse in the UK. Tickets are on sale for £30 and include a glass of cava and cupcake.
Commercial Street, London E1 6LY; nspcc.org.uk
7The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is ending the season in style at the Cadogan Hall in Chelsea and Kensington with a number of diverse Christmas concerts, presenting world-class conductors and soloists. The Swinging Sixties at Christmas on Wednesday 17th December, conducted by Richard Balcombe and a quartet of vocalists, presents Christmas favourites from the Beach Boys, the Walker Brothers and many more, meanwhile the Christmas Cracker on Saturday 20th December will feature Christmas classics performed by vocalists Mary Carewe and Michael Dore.
5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ; cadoganhall.com
8Street Child’s Christmas Carol Service
The Tower of London’s Chapel Royal is hosting a festive evening of caroling, put together by the UK charity Street Child, on Thursday 4th December. Supporters will come together to sing traditional Christmas carols while enjoying warm, mulled wine. Profits will go toward the Street Child’s Ebola Crisis Appeal, which supports Children orphaned by Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Tower Hill, London EC3N 4AB; street-child.co.uk
9Rainbow Trust Christmas Concert
Get ready for a night of Christmas celebration at St Paul’s Church in Knightbridge with the Rainbow Trust Christmas Concert featuring a handful of celebrity guest appearances on Thursday 4th December. Actress and author Sheila Hancock, The Wire’s Dominic West and The Eastenders’ Gillian Wright are among the many big names expected at this year’s event. They will be joined on the stage by the chapel choir of Thomas Clapham and the opera group Canteremo, who will entertain guests with traditional carols. Guests can enjoy the Christmas merriment for £40 per person. Proceeds from the concert will go toward benefiting the Rainbow Trust, which helps terminally ill children and their families.
32a Wilton Place, London SW1X 8SH; rainbowtrust.org.uk
10Maggie’s St Paul Cathedral Christmas Carol Concert
Christmas is coming to St Paul’s Cathedral with performances by the Cathedral’s consort choir, singing alongside tenor Toby Spence, mezzo-soprano Dame Ann Murray and the Manning Camerata on Tuesday 16th December. To celebrate the London charity, Maggie’s, 18th anniversary, actor Dominic West and a Maggie’s Patron and actress, Janet Ellis, will give seasonal readings that night, as well. Proceeds from the event go to Maggie’s, which provides cancer patients and their loved ones with free practical, emotional and social support. Tickets are available for £25 for seating in the nave or transept or £150 for seating under the dome. Special Gold tickets are also available at £1,000 and include a Champagne reception before the show and a three-course dinner in the Crypt of St Paul’s.
St Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD; maggiescentres.org
11Hope and Homes for Children’s Charity Christmas Carol Concert
Silent Witness star Emilia Fox will be joined by her brother, Freddie Fox, in presenting this year’s Carol Concert for the Hope and Homes for Children’s 20th anniversary charity Christmas show. The event, on Wednesday 3rd December, will take place at St Marys Abbots Church in Kensington High Street. Hope and Homes for Children will raise funds for its international charity that works to move children into loving families. This year, donations will be matched by the UK Government through the UK Aid Matching Scheme. Tickets are on sale for £20.
Kensington Church Street, London W8 4LA; hopeandhomes.co.uk
12Red Cross’s London Christmas Fair
The Red Cross’s Christmas Fair at Kensington Town Hall will feature live entertainment, including celebrity guest speaker Claire Bertschinger, this year on Wednesday 26th November. Enjoy the live music while you browse over 90 stalls filled with gifts that will help you complete your Christmas shopping. Quench your thirst with vintage afternoon tea or gin cocktails. There’s something for everyone at the Red Cross’s Christmas Fair, like Santa’s Christmas grotto for the kids, while the adults sample chocolate in one of the many tasting workshops. Once everything has been packed away for the night and the entertainment is over a drinks and canapé reception will take place, giving you a chance to unwind. Tickets are £10 per person.
Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX; redcross.org.uk
13Royal British Legion’s Christmas Celebration
The world-renowned Bach Choir will treat guests of the Royal British Legion’s Christmas Celebration to a musical delight in Guildhall’s Great Hall on the nights of 10th and 11th December. The choir will partner with musicians from the Royal British Legion’s central band. The musicians will be joined by a number of celebrity guests reading Christmas poetry and prose. Tickets cost £40 including pre-show wine and drinks. A Gold Package is also available for £175 including a black tie dinner in Guildhall’s Old Library.
Silk Hall, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DT; britishlegion.org.uk
14Operation Smile Christmas Carols by Candlelight
Warm up with whiskey mac and carols performed by the MOBO nominated Gospel Choir IDMC featuring X-Factor’s Jahemene Douglas and the children of We Sing U Sing in Mayfair on Wednesday 10th December. Grosvenor Chapel will host this event featuring several celebrity readers, including actor Tom Burke and co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery Julia Peyton-Jones. As you enjoy the entertainment, munch on classical Christmas foods, like mine pies and mulled wine. The money raised through this event will benefit Operation Smile, which works to provide surgery to kids born with cleft lips in developing countries. Tickets are available at £30 per person.
Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair, London W1; operationsmile.org.uk
15 Caroling for Canine Partners
Chelsea’s Holy Trinity Church in Sloane Square will host celebrity readers, including ITV’s Brideshead Revisited star Anthony Andrews, for its service Monday 15th December. The Draycott Nursing and Care Charity Carol Service has put together this fabulous service to raise money for Canine Partners, a charity that provides service dogs for the disabled. Other celebrity readers include BBC journalist, Esther Rantzen and opera singer Constance Novis. Enjoy readings from these well known stars as you appreciate the gorgeous interior of the Holy Trinity Church once called the Cathedral of the Arts and Crafts movement by Sir John Betjeman. The church is filled with art from the Arts and Crafts movement, like William Morris and Edward Burne Jones. After the service, refreshments and canapes will be available for all attendees. Tickets are available for £20 each.
Sloane Street, London SW1X 9BZ; caninepartners.org.uk
16 Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Now in its second year, the Battersea Carol Concert, on Monday 8th December (sponsored by Harrods Estates Luxury Property Agents Chelsea office) promises to be full of canine cheer as Battersea’s special dog Guard of Honour greets guests on arrival. The Home’s rescue dogs will also stay throughout the concert to enjoy festive carols led by the Collegium Musicum of London Chamber Choir and Christmas readings by friends of the Home. Held in St Luke’s Church, Sydney Street, doors will open at 7pm and guests will be treated to mince pies and mulled wine, courtesy of Gaucho, to finish off the festivities. Tickets for the Carol Concert are £20 for adults and £10 for children and all funds raised go towards caring for the centre’s lost and abandoned dogs and cats. Tickets can be booked online at battersea.org.uk/carolconcert.