Christmas carol concerts in London make for a fabulously festive night out. The Resident picks out some of the capital’s best
Lead image: Carols by Candlelight in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
1 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 third year running, stopping off for a capital performance at London’s Union Chapel on Friday 14 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
2 Christmas Carol Climbs at Up at The O2, Greenwich
14-16 & 21-23 December
Up at The O2 is hosting a selection of unique Christmas Carol Climbs, featuring 12 different choirs, 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. Choirs taking part include the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir (finalists in Gareth Malone’s BBC Two show Sing While You Work), Britain’s Got Talent performers ProVoc, with their contemporary choir style, and Vocal Dimension Chorus, who appeared on BBC One’s Pitch Battle. Joining them will be a host of London’s top choirs with styles ranging from gospel to traditional carols. Prices start from £30pp.
3 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. 7pm. Tickets £15.
*Sadly, this event is sold out, but keep an eye on the website for returns*
St Giles Chruch, Camberwell SE5 8RB; organoke.com
4 Christmas with Sonoro, Kings Cross
Sonoro’s Christmas concert at Kings Place in Kings Cross is part of the London Chamber Music Series. Featuring Michael Higgins on piano and conductor Neil Ferris, carols will include The Angel Gabriel, In the Bleak Midwinter, Fantasia on Christmas Carols, The Holly and the Ivy, Silent Night and Ding Dong Merrily on High. There will be traditional texts set anew and beautifully crafted arrangements of familiar melodies. Tickets from £14.50.
90 York Way, Kings Cross N1 9AG; sonoromusic.com
5 A Contemporary Carol Service at St John’s Church, Blackheath
Real Hope (A Contemporary Carol Service) takes place at St John’s Church in Blackheath on 16 December. From 6pm-7.30pm, the contemporary carol service run by the Unplugged Team will be an evening of worship with carols and songs new and old. All ages are welcome for hot chocolate and warm mince pies. There will also be a Beer & Carols service at The British Oak Pub on Old Dover Road on 13 December from 8.30pm-9.30pm.
Stratheden Road, Blackheath SE3 7TH; stjohnsblackheath.org.uk
6 Hospice UK’s Christmas Carol Service, Chelsea
Actress and model Lady Shakira Caine and actress Patricia Hodge OBE will be among the celebrity guests attending 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 on Monday 17 December. Author John Foley MBE, actress Sophie Ward and Hospice UK’s new Chair ITV Political Editor Robert Peston will also attend the event, and there will be performances by tenor David Webb and soprano Olivia Grace Piper. 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
7 Carols on MBNA Thames Clippers
18 & 19 December
Vocal ensemble Euphony Voices will perform two special carol concerts on board the MBNA Thames Clippers this month. London’s River Bus will be filling passengers with Christmas cheer as part of MBNA Thames Clippers’ Love Your Commute programme, which encourages Londoners to reclaim the dead time spent travelling to and from their place of work. The singalong sailings will take place on Tuesday December 18 on the RB1 Eastbound route, departing from London Eye (Waterloo) at 1758 to Greenwich; and Wednesday December 19 on the RB6 Westbound route, departing Canary Wharf at 1745 to Battersea Power Station. The fully licensed bar will serve mulled wine, mince pies, gingerbread men and hot chocolate.
8 A Hollywood Christmas, Royal Albert Hall
This all-new Christmas concert celebrates great scores from beloved Christmas films. The charismatic American conductor John Mauceri – CNN’s ‘Voice of the Millennium’ who performed to audiences of four million during his record-breaking tenure at the Hollywood Bowl – leads the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra in this exciting motion picture journey. The evening will feature scores from festive films such as A Christmas Carol (1938), The Nightmare before Christmas (1993) and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone(2001), as well as Christmas carols including Hark the Herald Angels Sing and The First Noel with the English Chamber Choir. Tickets from £35. Starts at 2pm show and 7.30pm.
Kensington Gore SW7 2AP; royalalberthall.com
9 Carols by Candlelight at St John’s Church, Wimbledon
Carols by Candlelight by Sonoro with feature Soo Bishop on trumpet, Michael Higgins on organ and conductor Neil Ferris. With festive choral favourites and carols for all to sing, this magical carol concert will feature classics such as The Holly and the Ivy, Silent Night and Ding Dong Merrily on High. Tickets from £10 (including mulled wine and mince pies on arrival). There will be a retiring collection in aid of Cancer Research UK. 7.30pm.
St John’s, Spencer Hill, Wimbledon SW19 4NZ; sonoromusic.com
10 Dulwich Coral Society’s Christmas Carol Concert, West Dulwich
Dulwich Coral Society’s Christmas Carol Concert will take place at All Saints Church in West Dulwich in the week running up to Christmas. 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 7.30 pm.
Lovelace Road, West Dulwich SE21 8JY; dulwichchoral.com
11 Carol Singers and Bottomless Brunch at Soane’s Kitchen, Ealing
Soane’s Kitchen, located in the walled gardens of historic Pitzhanger Manor, will be holding its final Musical Bottomless Brunch of the year – and this time there will be carols! Taking place on Sunday 23 December, the festive Musical Bottomless Brunch will feature Christmas carols sung by the local gospel choir, The Big Sing Choir, alongside bottomless prosecco and creative brunch dishes like Bloody Mary Beans with Labneh and Poached Egg and Eggs Benedict Croissant with Rocket, alongside classics such as Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Poached Egg on Rye Bread. 12pm-2pm.
Mattock Lane, Ealing W5 5BE; soaneskitchen.co.uk
12 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 the fanfare team of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards, alongside Compère Greg Beardsell, who will lead you through mass sing-alongs to your favourite carols. There will also be a brand-new version of Silent Night penned by James Bond film composer, David Arnold. Tickets from £22.50. Starts from 2pm & 7.30pm on Sunday and 12pm & 4.30pm on Monday.
Kensington Gore SW7 2AP; tickets.royalalberthall.com