Top 10 Free Carol Services/Concerts
With this in mind I’ve compiled a Top Ten of Free Carol Services/Concerts in Central London. They are more or less in date order. This list is not exhaustive so if you know of any other ones please put in the comments below.
There is also of course the free Celebration of Christmas concert at St Paul’s on 15th December at 6.30pm with celebrity readers. However from past experience this involves a lot of queueing in the cold to ensure a reasonable seat otherwise you end up towards the back of the cathedral with no view at all plus a freezing cold draught coming in so wear your thermals! I now prefer a smaller venue where you can actually see what’s going on and feel more involved.
Since the publication of the Da Vinci Code the Temple Church now charges £3 entrance. However I am assuming (please correct me if I’m wrong) that if you visit a carol service you can enter for free.
Tuesday 13th December at 1.15-1.45pm Christmas Carol Sing-along, an informal half-hour of carol singing; requests will be taken!
Friday 16th December at 1.10pm Britten: A Ceremony of Carols sung by The Temple Singers.
Wren’s try-out for the dome of St Paul’s St Stephen’s Walbrook is worth visiting anyway. At the moment there is also a temporary view of the church to be had across the Walbrook Square building site from Cannon Street.
Wednesday 14th December at 6.30pm St Stephen Parish Carols for the Business Community with the choir of St Stephen Walbrook.
Tuesday 20th December at 6.00 pm A Service of Readings and Carols
6. All Hallows by the Tower
The oldest church in the City of London and one which I am ashamed to say I haven’t visited even though I worked opposite it for years (1990-1996) but that was before I was so interested in London and its history. I’ve just discovered they have a new cafe which might prove the carrot to get me there but their carol services look very tempting too.
Thursday 15th December at 6pm Traditional Carols by Candlelight with carols, stories and seasonal refreshments.
Sunday 18th December at 4pm Festival of Lessons and Carols.
Monday 19th December at 6pm Noël, Noël, Chantons Noël! pour les Francophiles et leurs amis.
Built by G E Street who went on to build the Royal Courts of Justice which eventually unfortunately killed him. The church’s website isn’t working at the moment but they do have a Facebook group which is kept up-to-date.
Sunday 18th December at 6pm Candlelit carol service followed by mulled wine and mince pies.
One of only two Wren churches outside the City of London, the other being St Clement Danes, St James’s Piccadilly is well worth visiting. Wren built it so that all 2000 people in the congregation could see and hear the preacher.
Tuesday 20th December at 5.30pm Carols for Shoppers: traditional carols with readings and music from the Vigala Singers – mince pies and mulled wine served afterwards.
The journalists’ church and also (it is said) its spire is the basis for the design of the wedding cake. Worth visiting the crypt too and/or going on one of their guided tours.
Wednesday 21st December at 12.00pm and 5pm – Carols for Fleet Street
This is one of my favourite churches to visit for their regular Wednesday recitals although I still haven’t got the hang of how to open the doors on the end of the pews.
Wednesday 21st December at 1.15pm Guild Church Carol Service and Civic Procession Sung by Chantage their local choir. I went last year and it was very good.
I hope the above is useful and I must get some of these into my own diary. Maybe see you there!