Christmas Carol Concerts In London To Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside This December

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 7 months ago

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Last Updated 12 December 2023

Christmas Carol Concerts In London To Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside This December
Carol concerts in London: Union Chapel packed with people each holding a candle, with a Christmas tree to one side.
Carols by Candlelight at Union Chapel. Photo: Emile Holba

You could attend a carol concert every day in December, and still not experience all the Silent Nights and Away In A Mangers London has to offer. We've put together our pick of carol concerts in the capital, including stunning settings, charity fundraisers — and the service where they welcome dogs into church.

CADOGAN HALL: Around the corner from Sloane Square, Chelsea's Cadogan Hall has a busy programme of Christmas events running throughout December. Highlights include Childline's Merry Little Christmas Concert, West End Does: Christmas, and Carols by Candlelight. There's also a festive visit from the Rat Pack... 27 November-29 December

ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL: Maggie's Cancer Care, The Prince's Trust and The Royal Osteoporosis Society charities have bagged St Paul's Cathedral as the venue for their carol concerts this year. Of course, St Paul's has its own programme of Christmas concerts and services too, including Advent carol services. From 2 December

ST PAUL'S CHURCH COVENT GARDEN: It's no surprise that a venue dubbed 'the actor's church' hosts A Musical Theatre Christmas, bringing together cast members from West End musicals to raise money for The Actors' Church Benevolent Fund. A selection of other carol concerts and Christmas celebrations take place throughout late November and December too. 3 December

Carol concerts London: the interior of Cadogan Hall illuminated blue, with performers on stage
Cadogan Hall hosts Childline's fundraising carol service. Image: Grainge Photography

ST LUKE'S CHURCH, CHELSEA: The Royal Brompton Hospital Charity holds its Carols by Candlelight concert, with readings from patients and staff, and singing by the London Oratory Scholars choir. Money raised this year goes towards the charity's Gamma Camera Appeal, to upgrade the technology available in hospitals. 5 December

KING EDWARD VII'S HOSPITAL: St Marylebone Parish Church is the venue for King Edward VII Hospital’s Christmas Concert, with guests including actor Sir Derek Jacobi CBE and Victoria Smurfit. Money raised goes to the hospital's Pain Management Programme for the medical care of service men and women. 5 December

NINE ELMS: Music academy World Heart Beat opens the doors to its concert hall venue at Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms, for a special evening of Christmas carols. Enjoy singing and performances from World Heart Beat's own young musicians, along with a drink and mince pie. 5 December

Carol concerts London: children playing instruments and singing while wearing Santa hats
Young musicians perform at Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms.

ROYAL ALBERT HALL: As ever, London's fanciest concert hall comes into its own at Christmas. Here are some of the highlights of its festive programme:

  • Christmas with the Salvation Army includes performances by the charity's bands and singers, special readings and carol singing. (5 December)
  • Christmas with the Royal Choral Society, a group which has been performing at the RAH since 1872. They're accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as they perform traditional carols such as Silent Night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and O Come all Ye Faithful. (11 December)
  • Carols at the Royal Albert Hall is the final countdown to Christmas, with up to three performances a day. Join in with festive favourites at these family-friendly events. (16-24 December)

ST PETER'S CHURCH, BELGRAVIA: Charity Kids for Kids holds a Magical Candlelit Christmas Concert, attended by Joanna Lumley, Timothy West and other special guests. Add in a trumpet fanfare, school choirs, mince pies and mulled wine, and you've got the full yule experience. 6 December

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree:  The tree in the background with a bronze lion in the foreground
St Martin in the Fields hosts A Trafalgar Square Christmas on 7 December. Image: Raphaël Chekroun via creative commons

ST MARYLEBONE PARISH CHURCH: The Sick Children's Trust charity celebrates holds the Together at Christmas fundraising concert at St Marylebone Parish Church. Alice Beer, Tim Downie, Jenni Falconer, Emilia Fox, London Show Choir, The Toffee Bear Choir and Christina Johnston are among the celebs and performers on the programme this year, offering a mix of readings and solo and group performances. 6 December

TRAFALGAR SQUARE: To coincide with the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting ceremony, St Martin in the Fields hosts A Trafalgar Square Christmas, a candlelit evening of music by St Martin’s Voices and Strings (7 December). That's the start of a whole flurry of festive events at the church including choral performances and family carol concerts.

MACMILLAN CAROL CONCERT: Cancer charity Macmillan takes over St John's Smith Square for one night, hosting a family-friendly event hosted by journalist and broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire. Music comes from Ryan Quigley, Northern Lights Symphony Orchestra and Dame Sarah Connolly. 7 December

BATTERSEA CAROLS: We shouldn't have favourites, we know, but we do have a soft spot for the Battersea Christmas Carol Concert, not least because they bring dogs into the church to form a canine guard of honour. Naturally, money raised goes back into the work Battersea does for dogs and cats, and there's a chance to purchase Battersea-themed gifts at the end of the concert. Really though, we're here for the pooches. Takes place at St Luke's Church, Chelsea. 7 and 8 December

Carol concerts London: eight members of a choir wearing Santa hats and singing on top of the O2 at night, with the Canary Wharf skyline illuminated in the background
Attend a carol concert on top of The O2. Photo: Luke Dyson

UP AT THE O2: Claiming to be the highest outdoor Christmas carol concert in London, Up At The O2 holds a series of special twilight climbs. Book yourself onto a climb between 4.45pm and 7.30pm on 9 or 10 December to enjoy a performance on the 52m-high roof by Vocal Dimension Chorus, singing a selection of traditional carols and Christmas hits. A cup of hot chocolate is included. 9 and 10 December

NORDOFF AND ROBBINS: Beverley Knight and Joe Stilgoe headline a carol concert at St Luke's Church, Chelsea, raising money for music therapy charity Nordoff and Robbins. There are also celeb readings. 12 December

CAROLS AND ICES: Experience Christmas carols sung from within the ice wells at London Canal Museum — a rather unique and atmospheric take on a carol concert. The Carols and Ices evening at the King's Cross museum also features boat trips on the canal at night, and Victorian ice cream-making demonstrations. 14 December

BATTERSEA: Enjoy carols, choral music and festive readings in the magnificent surroundings of St Luke’s Church, Battersea. The concert on behalf of charity BeyondAutism will also feature a world première of a new carol by Peter Gritton. All proceeds go towards ensuring that autistic children and young adults access an education which empowers them to lead a life full of choice, independence and opportunity. 14 Decembter, 6.30pm

MS SOCIETY: Westminster Chapel is the place to head for the MS Society's Carols by Candlelight. Expect choral music, and special guests including Suranne Jones, Dougray Scott, Rose Leslie, Sue Perkins, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Bear Grylls. 14 December

UNION CHAPEL: The Grade-I listed Union Chapel in Islington has several festive events going on, including its Carols by Candlelight evening, which tells the Christmas story through words, poetry, and prayer from Union Chapel Voices. FREE to attend, 17 December

Singing by candlelight inside Union Chapel
See Union Chapel lit by candlelight. Photo: Emile Holba

LONDON BRIDGE ORGAN: Well here's a carol concert with a difference. You know that pipe organ beneath London Bridge station? Well, it's hosting a charity concert, with all proceeds going to the Railway Benefit Fund. Immerse yourself in the festive spirit as talented singers from the London Transport choir serenade you with heartwarming carols, alongside the majestic sounds of the church organ (called Henry, apparently). 18 December

ST JOHN'S WATERLOO: Christmas charity USPG has renowned choir The Sixteen performing at its Christmas carol service at St John's Waterloo, which raises money for its Malawi Christmas Appeal. Tickets include mulled wine and a mince pie. 18 December

WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL: Over two consecutive nights, Westminster Cathedral presents A Christmas Celebration, one of the highlights of its festive season. The Westminster Cathedral Choir and Orchestra come together for celebratory readings and carols — there are usually a few celebrity guests too. 19 and 20 December

BARBICAN: Closer to the big day, head to Barbican for Christmas with King's College Choir (20 December) which sees the Choir of King's College, Cambridge teaming up with the Crouch End Festival Chorus for a programme of festive classics. The venue also hosts Carols by Candlelight by the Mozart Festival Orchestra and Chorus (22 December).