Christmas carol concerts in London make for a fabulously festive night out. From traditional church concerts to mass singalongs and beer and carols in pubs, The Resident picks out some of the capital’s best, listed them in date order so you don’t miss one!
Lead image: Carols at St Paul’s Cathedral
1 The Institute of Cancer Research’s Carols from Chelsea at Royal Hospital Chelsea
The Institute of Cancer Research presents its 17th annual Carols from Chelsea service in the glorious surrounds of The Wren Chapel at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The event features a programme of readings, traditional carols and music from both the chapel choir and guest performers, to celebrate Christmas and the pioneering work carried out by the ICR’s researchers. This year’s readers include film, television and theatre actress Joanna David, as well as art dealer and broadcaster Philip Mould OBE. There will also be a performance by award-winning baritone Henry Neill and BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year 2019 finalist, Lydia South. Followed by a Laurent-Perrier champagne and canapé reception, the evening is a perfect start to the festive season. To date, the annual event has raised more than £1.6 million for the ICR’s world-leading cancer research. 6pm-9pm. Tickets £85 (book here).
Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea SW3 4SR; icr.ac.uk
2 Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Christmas Carols at Central Church of the Royal Air Force, St Clement Danes
For a carol concert that’s a little different, join The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund on 5 December at the Central Church of the Royal Air Force, St Clement Danes. The church, which bisects Fleet Street, will ring with Christmas classics sung by veterans from across the RAF’s storied past and backed by the RAF Salon Orchestra. Attendees won’t just be crooning, though. The charity, which turned one hundred this year, will ask singers to Join the Search. Change a Life. The campaign asks members of the public to help find RAF veterans and their partners who are eligible for support but not coming forward for it due to feelings of pride or humility. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets £5-£25 (book here).
Central Church of the Royal Air Force, St Clement Danes, the City WC2R 1DH; rafbf.org
3 Fulham Camerata Carol Concerts, south west London
5, 6 & 14 December
Fulham Camerata is performing a number of carol concerts this Christmas, including a carol concert in aid of Paul’s Cancer Support Centre in SW11 on 5 December. Conductor James Day will lead the programme, performed at St Mary’s Church on Putney High Street at 7pm. The event, sponsored by Douglas and Gordon, will feature audience participation carols, wine and mince pies. All proceeds will go to Paul’s Cancer Support Centre, which offers support to people with cancer and their families across south west London. Tickets are £15 (book here). Fulham Camerata will also perform carol concerts on 6 December at Duke on the Green, on 11 December at Fulham Palace Chapel, and a Charity Christmas Carol Concert on 14 December.
4 The Chapel at The Old Royal Naval College’s Christmas Concerts
6, 14 & 17 December
The Old Royal Naval College’s Chapel Christmas Concerts will be held on dates throughout December, so that you have plenty of chances to hear your favourite carols, including Handel’s Messiah, sung by the Chapel Choir in the atmospheric Chapel of St Paul and St Peter. As well as a beautiful traditional carol service for the Greenwich and Bexley Heath Hospice Service (6 December, 7pm, tickets £20 including a mince pie and seasonal drink), the Brooke Carol Concert also returns this year to raise money for the international animal welfare charity, The Brooke, with readings from patron and newscaster Alastair Stewart, comedian Rory Bremner, presenter Jan Leeming and theatre star Jodie Prenger (17 December, 1pm, tickets £40-£110). On 16 December, join the congregation and the choir of the Chapel of Peter and Paul for a traditional service of carols and readings (free, 6pm, no need to book).
Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9NN; ornc.org
5 Carols from St Catharine’s College, Kings Place
This Christmas, The Choirs of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge will perform a special concert with St Catharine’s College Girls’ Choir, under the direction of Edward Wickham. As well as a special sequence of contemporary carols by female composers and medieval chant performed alongside secular readings by female authors and poets, there will be specially-commissioned carol by Kings Place from Diana Burrell. Other composers featured include Sally Beamish, Hannah Kendall, Nicola LeFanu and Stevie Wishart. The event is part of Kings Place’s award-winning flag-ship Unwrapped series which focuses on the creative power of female composers. Tickets £14.50-£22.50. 7.30pm.
Hall One, Kings Place; kingsplace.co.uk
6 nsif’s Christmas Carol Concert at St Andrew Church, Holborn
The Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation’s fourth annual fundraising Christmas carol concert will feature award-winning soprano Katie Marshall, one of the most exciting young artists in the classical world today. The incredible Walton Voices choir will also be performing alongside Musical Director and conductor, Jonathan Kilhams. The venue, St Andrew Church Holborn, has been a site of worship for at least 1,000 years. Untouched by both the Reformation and the Great Fire of 1666, it was redesigned by one of England’s most venerated architects, Sir Christopher Wren, and has recently been beautifully redecorated. Tickets are £20, including mulled wine, mince pies and gourmet festive nibbles. Doors open from 6.30pm, starts 7pm.
St Andrew Holborn, 5 Saint Andrew Street EC4A 3AF; eventbrite.co.uk
7 Cancer Research UK’s Carol Concert at St Paul’s Cathedral
Cancer Research UK is bringing together world-famous singers, musicians and actors for an evening of festive celebration on Tuesday 10 December at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral. The concert will feature seasonal readings by Emily Watson OBE, Luke Evans and Helen George, and exclusive performances from St Paul’s Cathedral Choir conducted by Andrew Carwood, The Band of the Welsh Guard, and vocal performances from Sophie Bevan MBE soprano, Peter Auty tenor, Alan Opie OBE baritone and Matthew Rose bass. Previous concerts have seen the likes of Judi Dench, Cressida Bonas, Tom Hiddleston and Sir Ian McKellen gracing the stage. Prices start from £10, but the only tickets left at the time of writing are those on the South Cross & North Cross Benches, priced £80.
St Paul’s Churchyard, the City EC4M 8AD; crukcarolconcert2019.eventbrite.co.uk
8 MS Society Carols by Candlelight at St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street
Game of Thrones power couple Kit Harington and Rose Leslie will reunite for the first time since the hit series ended to read together at the MS Society’s third annual Carols by Candlelight. Deborah Meaden, Nicola Walker, and twice gold medal winning Paralympian Kadeena Cox MBE will also give readings at the event, which will take place in the magical setting of St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate, a beautiful church near Liverpool Street. As well as guest appearances, traditional carols, mulled wine, and mince pies, a gospel choir led by Jermaine Jackman – political activist and winner of The Voice 2014 – will add to the atmosphere of the seasonal sing-a-long. All profits will go directly to the MS Society’s Stop MS Appeal. Tickets are £40 (including a mince pie and mulled wine reception after the concert) or £85 (including a VIP reception before the concert, mince pies and mulled wine). Doors 6.30pm, service 7pm.
St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate EC2M 3TL; mssociety.org.uk
9 Feed the Minds Candlelit Carols at Southwark Cathedral
10 & 13 December
The annual Feed the Minds Carol Concert offers stunning choral performances by the renowned Quorum Chamber Choir and the chance to sing your favourite festive songs in the beautiful, atmospheric setting of Southwark Cathedral. Not only does the evening immerse guests in the full and sparkling Christmas spirit, 100% of ticket sales will go to the charity Feed the Minds, helping people living in poverty to get a new start. This concert sells out over 700 seats every year, so don’t miss out! get your tickets for the event on 10 December here and 13 December here. 7.30pm-9pm (doors at 7pm). Tickets £12-£33.
Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge SE1 9DA; cathedral.southwark.anglican.org
10 Dulwich Coral Society’s Christmas Carol Concert, Dulwich
Dulwich Coral Society’s Christmas Carol Concert will take place at St Stephen’s on Sydenham Hill this year. Conducted by Aidan Oliver, the event will contain a mixture of familiar music and some less well-known fare. Entry is free but there will be a collection for a local charity and it is guaranteed to be a convivial occasion to which all are most welcome. Free entry. Starts at 7.30pm. You can also enjoy a number of carol services at All Saints Church in West Dulwich, including Carols 4ALL, a community drop-in with carol singing and refreshments from 11am-1pm on Saturday 14 December.
College Road, Dulwich SE21 7HW; ststephensdulwich.org
11 Gospel Carol Concert at Wesley’s Chapel, Shoreditch
This magical and uplifting evening of classic singalong carols, performances from IDMC Gospel Choir and a brass band quartet will get you in the festive spirit. All proceeds from the concert will go to Feed the Minds, a charity supporting people living in some of the poorest communities around the world to transform their own lives. IDMC Gospel Choir, a soulful, energetic group with an uplifting and contemporary sound, was a finalist in the BBC Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year 2018 and have had many high-profile collaborations with artists such as Michael Bublé and Lukas Graham. Ticket £12-£14. 7.30pm-9pm (doors at 7pm).
Wesley’s Chapel, 49 City Road, Shoreditch EC1Y 1AU; carols-shoreditch.eventbrite.co.uk
12 Childline’s Merry Little Christmas Concert at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square
The NSPCC and Dame Esther Rantzen DBE will host the charity’s annual Merry Little Christmas Concert in aid of Childline at Holy Trinity Church in Sloane Square.The event will feature a performance from Irish classical soprano Margaret Keys and a reading from renowned art dealer Philip Mould, with more performers to be announced. Previous years have seen performances from acclaimed tenor Russell Watson, classical singer Carly Paoli and readings from actors Martin Freeman and Natalie Dormer. Concert tickets start at £40 and include a welcome drink on arrival. Doors open 7.15pm, concert starts 7.30pm. You can also help Childline support more children this Christmas by bidding on fantastic prizes in the Merry Little Christmas Online Auction.
Sloane Street SW1X 9BZ; nspcc.org.uk
13 Breast Cancer Haven’s Christmas Carol Service at Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair
Enjoy a night of night of carols and fizz with Breast Cancer Haven and Sir Derek Jacobi at the 18th century Grosvenor Chapel in Mayfair, which was featured in the hit film Love Actually. The festive occasion will be brought to life by stars from stage and screen with readings from actor Sir Derek Jacobi, along with solos from the First Lady of the West End, Kerry Ellis, and musical star Hugh Maynard. The carols will be led by the renowned London Show Choir and guests will be treated to fizz and mince pies. Breast Cancer Haven is a national charity that provides vital support to all those affected by breast cancer. Doors open at 6.30pm, service finishes at 9pm. Tickets £35.
24 South Audley Street, Mayfair W1K 2PA; breastcancerhaven.org.uk
14 The Spirit of Christmas Carol Concert at Holy Trinity Sloane Square
The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir will be performing at The Spirit of Christmas charity event this month. Last year, The Spirit of Christmas – hosted by World Child Cancer, a charity that works to support children with cancer and their families, in the low-and middle-income countries around the world – raised a massive £10,000. The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, made up of dedicated NHS staff, is best known for their charity single, A Bridge Over You, which became the number one Christmas single in 2015. Since topping the Christmas chart, the choir has performed at Glastonbury Festival, the Football Association Challenge Cup final and Christmas with the Stars at the Royal Albert Hall. 7pm. Free entry (RSVP here). Donations welcome.
Sloane Street SW1X 9BZ; worldchildcancer.org
15 Beer & Carols at The British Oak Pub, Blackheath Standard
12 & 19 December
Enjoy a Beer & Carols service at The British Oak Pub on Old Dover Road on Thursdays 12 & 19 December in conjunction with St John’s Church. It’s a fun, relaxed approach to carols perfect for those who might find a church setting too formal. 8.30pm-9.30pm. You can also enjoy a traditional Advent Carol Service at All Saints Church in Blackheath from 5pm-6pm on 1 December.
109 Old Dover Road, Blackheath SE3 8SU; britishoakblackheath.com
16 Cara Dillon’s Upon a Christmas Night Tour, Islington
Cara Dillon, possessed of one of the most celebrated folk voices to have come out of Ireland, will be touring her Christmas show, Upon a Winter’s Night, for the fourth year running, stopping off for a capital performance at London’s Union Chapel on Thursday 12 December. The overwhelming success of previous tours has cemented this festive experience as a firm tradition. Cara and her band will once again capture the mystery of Christmas with a collection of songs ancient and modern providing a welcome reminder that the festive season is about more than commercialism. Advance tickets £25. Doors 7pm.
Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington N1 2UN; unionchapel.org.uk
17 London Welsh Chorale: Christus Natus Est – Choral Music for Christmas at St John’s Waterloo
The London Welsh Chorale, committed to keeping Welsh music alive in London, has rehearsed and performed in central London and around the globe since 1983. Members hail from a range of professions and backgrounds, and the repertoire spans from the Renaissance to the modern. The Christmas concert, conducted by Edward Rhys Harry with organist Edward Kemp-Luck, tenor Rhodri Prys Jones and bass Meilir Jones, features some well know and less familiar music from classic Bach and Puccini to works by living composers. 7pm. Tickets £15 (book here).
73 Waterloo Road, Lambeth SE1 8TY; londonwelshchorale.org.uk
18 Organoke: An Alternative Carol Concert, Camberwell
Organoke is a fantastically modern alternative carol concert for those who like to channel their inner Beyonce. Hosted at St Giles’ Church in Camberwell, this is one event where you can sing your heart out without being frowned upon. Grab a beer and a pew (or dance in the aisle!) and sing along to karaoke classics with one of London’s oldest church organs, before rounding off the night with an after-party in the Crypt. Host Ida Barr, a faded-yet-fabulous Edwardian music-hall singer-extraordinaire, will guide you through an evening of non-stop feel good vibes. 7.30pm. Tickets £16. Profits raised from the event go towards restoring the church’s 19th Century organ. *Sadly, this event is sold out, but sign up for the newsletter to be the first to hear about additional ticket releases*
St Giles Church, Camberwell SE5 8RB; organoke.com
19 Raymond Gubbay’s Christmas Festivals, various locations
14 December-1 January
Raymond Gubbay Limited is celebrating over 25 years of brilliant seasonal entertainment with a huge line-up of Christmas Festivals taking place at multiple venues in London. It all kicks off with a Christmas Carol Singalong on 14 December, followed by Grand Christmas Classics on 15 December, both at the Royal Festival Hall. At the Barbican, you’ll find Christmas with King’s College Choir on 16 December, Carols by Candlelight on 21 December and a Christmas Carol Singalong on 22 December. You’ll also find events at Cadogan Hall. Find the full listings here. Ticket prices vary.
20 Christmas with Sonoro, Wimbledon
Sonoro’s Christmas concert at Sacred Heart Church in Wimbledon is part of the London Chamber Music Series. Featuring Michael Higgins on the organ and conductor Neil Ferris, carols will include Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day, O’ Little Town of Bethlehem, In the Bleak Midwinter and Ding Dong! Merrily on High. There will be traditional texts set anew and beautifully crafted arrangements of familiar melodies. Tickets £6-£24.
Edge Hill, Wimbledon SW19 4LU; sonoromusic.com
21 Hospice UK’s Christmas Carol Service, Chelsea
Midsomer Murders star Fiona Dolman, actress Alison Steadman OBE, award-winning actor Jim Broadbent and presenter Sir Martyn Lewis will be performing readings at Hospice UK’s Christmas carol service this year to raise vital funds for hospice care. Enjoy an evening of traditional carols, music and celebrity readings, followed by mulled wine and mince pies at St Luke’s Church in Chelsea. As the national charity for hospice and palliative care, Hospice UK champions and supports the work of more than 200 member organisations which provide hospice care to more than 200,000 people across the UK each year. 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm). Tickets are £35 (Gallery £20), under 16s £10, under fives free with a paying adult.
St Luke’s Church, Chelsea SW3 6NH; hospiceuk.org
22 A Hollywood Christmas, Royal Albert Hall
This fabulous Christmas concert celebrates great scores from beloved Christmas films. This year, Mark Kermode presents an evening of festive movie music with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the London Voices Choir, led by conductor Paul Bateman. The night will feature scores from seasonal classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life, The Nightmare before Christmas, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Polar Express, Love Actually, Home Alone, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Elf and more. Tickets from £23. 7.30pm. The Royal Albert Hall has tons of festive sing-along events. Click here for the full listings.
Kensington Gore SW7 2AP; royalalberthall.com
23 Christmas Carols with Singing Pilot Stuart Beech at Haymarket Wine House
If you love carols but prefer to leave the singing to the experts, head for Haymarket Wine House, which is hosting a festive evening of Christmas Carols sung by Stuart Beech, otherwise known as the Singing Pilot. Beech, who was featured on BBC’s Michael McIntyre’s Big Show and has been entertaining audiences for over 20 years, will be singing festive favourites, modern hits and timeless classics. Tickets are £10, including a glass of wine, or £15 including charcuterie. Haymarket Wine House is quickly becoming known for its wine selection and French cuisine. 6.30pm-8.30pm. Tickets are £10-£15 (book here).
66 Haymarket SW1Y 4RF; haymarketwinehouse.com
24 Christmas Carol Climbs at Up at The O2, Greenwich
Up at The O2 is hosting a selection of unique Christmas Carol Climbs, featuring a host of London’s top choirs with styles ranging from gospel to traditional carols, warming mulled wine and luxury Aero hot chocolate. Expert climb guides will be on hand to share their historical London knowledge every step of the way, and then climbers get 15 minutes on the viewing platform on top of the O2 to enjoy the choir performances with friends and family. Climbs take place from 10am-6.30pm in timed slots. Adult tickets £39. Kids prices vary depending on age.
Peninsula Square, North Greenwich SE10 0DX; theo2.co.uk
25 Carols at Royal Albert Hall
Sing along to festive favourites in the spectacular surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall in what’s set to be in a scintillating show of traditional carols, modern arrangements, and festive favourites. Join the Royal Choral Society, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Richard Cooke, alongside compère Greg Beardsell, for a night of mass sing-alongs to your favourite carols. Tickets from £20-£90. Starts from 2.30pm & 7.30pm from Sat-Mon and 11am & 4pm on Tuesday. The Royal Albert Hall has tons of festive sing-along events. Click here for the full listings.
Kensington Gore SW7 2AP; tickets.royalalberthall.com