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See some singing for a song with these free carol concerts
By Sophia Moss (follow Sophia on Twitter: @EndlessMoss)
Christmas is fast approaching. The decorations are up, the last minute shopping rush is on and you can’t walk through London without being bombarded with all things Christmas. If all the seasonal cheer is getting you down and you still need to get into the Christmas spirit then why not take a break from watching Elf for the 2000th time and go check out some last minute carol services? The week before Christmas is always full of carols, but the services aren’t always free and they’re often advertised in the same place. If you’re looking to get your Christmas on in a truly BrokeinLondon fashion, then our guide to free last minute carol services this year should help get you started.
Temple Church, London
Temple Church is over 800 years old and was originally built by the Knights Templar during the crusades. This historic Church has seen it all; the crusades, the reformation and everything that came after. If you want to enjoy some carols in a truly historic setting why not head down to Temple Church on the 21st of December for a Christmas carol sing along?
When? December 21st between 5:30-6:30 pm. There are also services on the 24th and 25th which are worth seeing if you’re in the area.
Where? The church is a short walk from Temple tube and Blackfriars station, both on the Central and District Lines.
Every year London’s famous Trafalgar Square receives a huge Christmas tree from Norway as thanks for supporting them during the second world war. The tree is huge and it really helps brighten up the square during the festive period, but it is also a hotspot for free Christmas Carols. Every evening in the fortnight leading up to Christmas Day a different choir will come to sing carols around the tree, share some Christmas spirit and raise money for charity. If you’re in the area you are welcome to come and watch for free (although donations are encouraged).
When? Every evening before Christmas from 4-8pm on weekdays and 2-6pm on weekends.
Where? Trafalgar square is within easy walking distance from Charging Cross on the Bakerloo and Northern Lines and Embankment tube station on the District, Circle, Northern and Bakerloo Lines .It is also close to several local bus routes and South Eastern trains running from Charging Cross.
St Martin’s In The Fields
This inclusive, centrally located church is well known for its free classical concerts and various choral performances, but unfortunately most of their Christmas carol events aren’t free to attend. If you would like to visit this iconic church for some totally free Christmas cheer your best bet is to attend the Manor House String Quartet performance on the 23rd of December at 1:00pm for a chance to hear all your favourite carols.
When? There are numerous paid events over the Christmas period at St Martin’s in the Fields but the free carol performance will take place on 23rd of December at 1:00pm.
Where? St Martin’s In The Fields is opposite Trafalgar Square and within short walking distance from Charing Cross or Embankment.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s is one of London’s most iconic buildings and seeing the Christmas carol service in Christopher Wren’s masterpiece is enough to put anyone in the Christmas spirit. As St Paul’s is such a popular venue this year they have been running a series of Christmas themed concerts to ensure as many people get to experience them as possible. Over the next few days St Paul’s will be hosting Choral Evensong services, there are the popular carol services happening on the 23rd and 24th and if your able to travel on Christmas eve night there is the famous Midnight Mass at 11:30 pm.
When? There are numerous opportunities to visit the cathedral for sightseeing and religious purposes throughout the year including over the next few days. The carol services will be held on the 23rd and 24th of December at 4:00pm. As these carols services get very busy it’s advisable to turn up early. Of you don’t want to queue to get into the building you can also watch the services via a big screen in Paternoster Square.
Where? St Paul’s cathedral is two minutes walk from St Paul’s tube station on the Central Line and about 4 minutes away from Mansion House on the Circle and District Lines.
This historic abbey is not only over 1,000 years old but it is also one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture that we have in the whole country. Westminster Abbey has served as the coronation church ever since 1066, it is final resting place of seventeen former kings and queen and there are famous memorials dedicated to notable figures like Jane Austen, Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare. This church is a very popular tourist attraction throughout the year but it is especially good to visit during the Christmas period.
Most Christmas events are free to attend, although some of the most over subscribed services do require a free ticket to be booked before the event. The Christmas eve carol service and midnight mass have already sold out but there are still tickets available for the carol service on the 23rd as well as numerous other religious ceremonies which are un-ticketed.
Where? Westminster Abbey is centrally located next to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The abbey is within easy walking distance from Westminster tube station on the Jubilee, District and Circle Lines.
When? There are various events taking place over the Christmas period. For more information and to secure your place click here.
Victoria and Albert’s Museum
The V&A is one of London’s most popular museums and it is a great place to get a feel of Victorian London. This museum, which has been around since 1852, has collections which offer insights into over 5,000 years of human history and it has tons of resources for anyone interested in art and design. It’s a great place to visit at any time of year but if you visit now you’ll be able to take advantage of their Christmas festival! This festival is running until the 6th January 2016 and it offers a range activities, performances and screenings that the whole family can enjoy.
One event which is especially worth seeing is ‘Victoria and Albert’s Christmas Carol.’ This performance centres around an elderly Queen Victoria being transported back in time from talking to her late husband to Christmas 1843. The performance will feature tons of festive treats including dancing, storied and, of course, carols. This show will be held within the British galleries in the museum and it promises to be a very memorable show.
When? There are various events being held in the V&A until the 6th January. The Christmas Carol performance will be held at various times depending on the day; the performances on the 21st and 22nd December will be held at 2:30 pm and 4pm whereas the performance on the 23rd will run at 4pm and again at 7pm.
Where? The V&A is a short walk from South Kensington station on the Circle, District and Piccadilly Line. If you take the museum exit from the station you can walk right from the tunnel into the museum.