Amidst the onslaught of commercialised Christmas messages, from the John Lewis ad to haute couture Christmas trees, it’s sometimes difficult to recall exactly why we’re all doing this in the first place. While it may come as a surprise to discover that the origins of Christmas aren’t in rampant consumerism, you can at least refresh your memory as to the real meaning (the clue’s in the name), by heading to one of London’s many magical carol services.
Date: 4th December and 13th December
It doesn’t get more trad than the Tower of London, one of the oldest and most iconic buildings in London. The annual Street Child charity carols are a great chance to both see a fantastic venue, but also to help a charity doing incredibly important work around the globe. Street Child aims to support the 121 million school-aged children who are currently out of education. Working in remote, often war-torn, regions across the globe, they acknowledge that the best route out of poverty is education and their projects focus on education, child protection and livelihood support to help address the social, economic and structural issues that underpin today’s education crisis.
The choir of the Chapel Royal will bring timeless Christmas carols in what will be an evening of inspirational readings from special guests, accompanied by incredible music and all followed by mulled wine and, of course, mince pies.
Where: The Tower Of London, London, EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tower Hill (0.2 miles)
Date: Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th December
Chester Square, one of Belgravia’s finest squares, a stone’s throw from Victoria Station or shopping on Elizabeth Street, plays host to one of London’s best carol services. A combo of a powerful address, an impressive organ and all the classics make this a traditional (and free) service not to miss.
Where: Chester Square, Belgravia, SW1W 9EF
Date: 11th December
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has been making sick kids better for over a century; it really is one of the best causes in the capital and you can support their work, and enjoy a top-notch carol service to-boot, by attending their carol concert.
Held at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, join with over 750 people to enjoy beautiful music, popular carols and professional performances along with celebrity turns. Along with the concert, there’s a a champagne and canapé reception afterwards nearby at The Jumeirah Carlton Tower, with all proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Tickets: £45 (£95 to include the reception)
Where: 32a Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, SW1X 8SH
Date: 7th December
Cancer charity Macmillan are putting on their 31st Christmas carols and it promises to be a star-studded affair. Macmillan Christmas at St John’s Smith Square will combine your favourite carols and exceptional musical performances with celebrity readings from the likes of Diana Rigg and Celia Imrie.
The church is notably beautiful, sitting close to Parliament and the river Thames and the perfect setting for this most worthy of charities, with every penny raised going to support cancer victims and their families.
Date: 13th (Insurance workers), 18th and 22nd December
If you work in the city, why not get your Christmas carols fix during your lunch break? St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, are holding a series of Carol Concerts during the week, during lunchtimes.
The magical Church, a piece of the ancient juxtaposed with the modern (it’s surrounded by the glass towers that make up London’s financial centre) will be honouring the birth of Christ with a mix of biblical truths, abulous music and mince pies with mulled wine. All in enough time to escape the office.
Where: Great St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, EC3A 6AT
Date: 6th December
Breast Cancer Now are holding their first ever carol concert, combining an evening of carols, Prosecco and mince pies with a smattering of celebrity. Accompanied by the London Concert Choir, the festive event will certainly be one not to miss. What’s more, tickets come with sparking wine, and a mince pie included.
Where: St Pancras Church, Euston Road, NW1 2BA
Date: 13th December
It’s one of the most recognisable buildings in the word, St Paul’s is the quintessential church building and makes for a truly memorable Christmas carol concert.
Why not head down for their Celebration of Christmas service, which will combine celebrity readers with the famous Cathedral Choir and City of London Sinfonia, all conducted by Andrew Carwood.
The next tranche of tickets will be released this Thursday.
Where: St. Paul's Cathedral, The City, EC4M 8AD
Website: Get tickets here...