The best carol and Christmas concerts in Britain

A guide to where to go for festive music this December

If you fancy heading to a carol concert this December, there are plenty to choose from. The Spectator’s own spectacular carol service has, alas, already sold out, but here’s our guide to the best of the rest…

Childline’s Merry Little Christmas Carol Concert
St Columba’s Church, Knightsbridge, December 6, 6.15pm

Childline’s annual family carol concert returns, and it’s always a popular one, so don’t delay in booking your tickets. The concert is normally graced with appearances from a celebrity or two, with previous participants including Martin Freeman, Natalie Dormer and Russell Watson. Tickets range from £35 to £85.

Christmas Carol Sing-a-Long
Royal Albert Hall, throughout December

The Royal Albert Hall has got a whole programme of Christmas concerts to pick from and this is a great one to the take the kids to (There are a number matinee and late afternoon performances on December 16, 21, 22 and 23). Jonathan Cohen, with the help of Louise Dearman and backing of the London Concert Chorus and the London Concert Orchestra, will lead the audience through a selection of carols and other festive favourites.

Glitters rains down at the Royal Albert Hall during a previous Christmas concert

Glitters rains down at the Royal Albert Hall during a previous Christmas concert

Carols by Candlelight
Symphony Hall, Birmingham, December 24, 2.30pm

A candlelit Christmas Eve concert of carols and seasonal gems by Mozart, Bach, Handel and more, performed by the Canzonetta Choir and the Mozart Festival Orchestra, who will be adding to the merriment by dressing in 18th century garb for the show.

Christmas Concerts
Westminster Abbey, throughout December

A couple of December higlights at Westminster Abbey this year – Christmas music by Schütz and Praetorius performed by the Westminster Abbey choir and St James’ Baroque (December 5) and the Abbey choir’s annual Christmas concert (December 14), including a selection of readings, carols and choral works.

The Snowman
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, December 22-23

Get ready to go walking in the air with a screenings of the beloved Christmas cartoon, adapted from Raymond Briggs’ book. The film will be accompanied by a live score played by the Hallé Orchestra and promises to be a memorable family outing – the concert also includes a performance of another kids’ classic, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

The Snowman is flying in to Manchester

Cutty Sark Christmas Concert
Cutty Sark, December 16, 7pm

Something a little different in the shape of a festive concert from Joglaresa, a group that comprises classical, world folk and jazz musicians. They will joined by celebrated soprano, Dame Emma Kirkby, for this special performance for Christmas in the Sammy Ofer Gallery at the Cutty Sark site. The boat will provide a stunning backdrop, while the mince pies and mulled should help the evening along nicely. Tickets cost £25.

Katherine Jenkins
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, December 20, 7.30pm

Katherine Jenkins performs a selection of festive choral works, carols and popular Christmas tunes, with the help of the Scottish Concert Orchestra. Tickets from £51.55.

Katerine Jenkins (Getty)

Christmas Number Ones
Victoria and Albert Museum, December 10, 11am

Join in with a day-long session learning to sing-a-long to a whole host of Christmas number one songs from the last 65 years, led by choir master Sam Coates. Tickets cost from £8 – £16.

Christmas concerts
St Martin-in-the-Fields, throughout December

There’s a wide selection of carol services, performances of Handel’s Messiah by candlelight and plenty of other performances to get you in the festive mood at one of London’s most atmospheric places for a December concert.

A Christmas Concert
St David’s Hall, Cardiff, December 11, 7.30pm

An evening of seasonal music and carols – and all in aid of a very good cause, the CLIC Sargent Caring for Children with Cancer charity. Tickets start at £10.


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