You don’t need to be religious to enjoy a good carol, and London has some of the best churches in the world to get you ding donging merrily on high. Here’s our round-up of the best services in town
The home of royal weddings, funerals and numerous other stately occasions is one of the city’s ultimate carol singing destinations. Its popular December 23 and 24 services are already sold out, but there are still tickets for the December 11 concert (£10-£30).
St Paul’s Cathedral
There are a variety of singing opportunities at Christopher Wren’s magnificent cathedral over the Christmas period, the key ones being the Cancer Research UK Christmas Concert (December 11, £25), A Celebration of Christmas (December 13, free) Family Carols (December 22, free) and the usual December 23 and 24 services.
Christ Church, Spitalfields
A glittering cast of special guests including Michael Caine and David Frost will perform Christmas readings at a carol service in aid of ChildLine at this East End church (December 5, £10-£25).
St Martin’s in the Field, Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is one of the most Christmasy parts of town, so its iconic resident church is a favourite among those looking for a seasonal sing-along. Many of the more high-profile services have sold-out already, but several events are on-the-door only tickets, including the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (December 16, free) and Community Carols (December 18, free).
Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge
Once the parish of Shakespeare and his fellow thesps, this impressive historic cathedral is also hosting a range of carol services over the next few weeks, including the Mercy Ships Service (December 5, free), the Crisis Carol Service (December 15, free) and the Mayor of London’s Carol Service (December 17, free).
St Luke’s, Chelsea
Actress Patricia Hodge and TV presenter Mariella Frostrup will deliver readings at a carol service in aid of Asthma UK at this impressive Chelsea church (December 4, £10-£20).
All Saints Church, Fulham
The Kids for Kids charity, which helps children in Darfur, will welcome celebrity readings from the likes of Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Rendell and Richard Wilson at its carol service (December 6, £15-£25).
St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge
Gaby Roslin will be among those reading at a service in aid of breast cancer charity The Haven (December 12, £40), while Downton Abbey star David Robb is among the celebrity readers at a service in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support (December 13, £20).
St Margaret’s Church, Westminster
Immediately next to Westminster Abbey is this similarly historic church, which will host a service in aid of homeless charity The Passage, with readings from David Dimbleby and actor Richard Ingrams (December 14, free but donations requested).
Union Chapel, Islington
This splendid chapel that doubles as one of the city’s best music venues will be doubly atmospheric for a special candlelit service (December 16, free).
Please note: many of the free, first-come-first-served carol services are very popular and fill up quickly, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.