Nothing gets us in the spirit of Christmas like belting out a good festive number. Now that carol concerts are back, these are the services in the capital at which to limber up your vocal cords.

Singing releases endorphins and makes us happy, a fact that should be, well, sung from the rooftops. Many of us, however, still feel self-conscious when raising our voices to the heavens. And yet, as well as its ability to pep up our moods, singing also helps to improve circulation since we take more oxygen into our lungs as we croon our desert island ditties – no matter how in-tune we happen to be.

Happily, though, we tend to collectively ditch the self-awareness at this time of year, when even the most reluctant of singers can usually have their arm twisted to blast out a carol or two. We say the more the merrier and the louder the better. Whether you gather up a group to go singing door-to-door, do the descant to Hark The Herald in your kitchen while cooking or sing the solo in the choir, we’re all for it.

To help get you in the spirit, these are the London carol concerts you should have on your radar for Christmas 2021. After being cancelled or going virtual last year, they’ve never been more welcome or hotly anticipated.

All together now: Fa-la-la-la-laaa-la-la-la-la.

Carols At The Royal Albert Hall

18 – 24 December

Join The Royal Choral Society, The National Youth Choir of Great Britain and 5,000 other festive merry-makers to belt out all the classic carols as part of the Royal Albert Hall’s jam-packed Christmas festival. Joy to the world. Check out all the other events here, and book the carol concert dates here.

Carols By Candlelight At Cadogan Hall

23 & 24 December

Is there anything more atmospheric than carols by candlelight? Cadogan Hall does it in sublime style, staging the whole affair in full 18th-century costume, and with readings by Peter Davison. Do check out Cadogan Hall’s other festive events throughout December too, from A Choral Christmas to West End Does: Christmas. Book it here.

Christmas Carol Singalong At Barbican Hall

18 December

Impresario Raymond Gubbay’s Christmas Festival 2021 is bound to delight festive audiences everywhere, from Christmas With King’s College Choir to the fabulous New Year’s Eve Gala. Guaranteed to raise the roof is this two-hour carol singathon at Barbican Hall, which will feature all the old favourites, led to perfection by showman Jonathan Cohen. Book it here.

Christmas With King’s College Choir At Barbican Hall

21 December

For many, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without carols from King’s. Raymond Gubbay’s Festival gives devotees another blast of their angelic voices at Barbican Hall, where they will be joined on stage by the excellent Crouch End Festival Chorus. Book it here.

St Pauls Cathedral

Various Dates

Where better to feel uplifted by the spirit of Christmas than at Sir Christopher Wren’s awe-inspiring St Paul’s Cathedral? There are carol concerts throughout December – many of them for charity – as well as the free but ticketed A Celebration of Christmas on 16 December, which will feature celebrity readers and the City of London Sinfonia. Explore the calendar of events here.

Battersea Dogs And Cats Home Christmas Carol Concert

2 & 3 December

A carol concert with a furry twist. The congregation at St Luke’s & Christ Church in Chelsea will be treated not only to the usual carols, mulled wine and mince pies, but also to a special guard of honour from some of the wonderful rescue home’s resident dogs. The perfect place to howl out a tune with gusto. Book it here.

Carols For Christmas By Candlelight At St Martins In The Fields

18 December

Trafalgar Square is something of a magnet for seekers of Christmas magic. Not only does it contain the enormous Norwegian spruce gifted to the capital annually, but it is also home to St Martins In The Fields, whose St Martin’s Voices choir will lead hearty and heart-warming renditions of all the classic carols. Oh come all ye faithful. Book it here.

By Nancy Alsop
November 2021

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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.