Best traditional Christmas carol concerts in the UK

Get into the festive spirit with our selection the best Christmas carol concerts across the UK to enjoy this December 2019.

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Get into the festive spirit with our pick of the best Christmas carol concerts taking place across the UK this December.

Peak Cavern Carols, Castleton

Weekends from the 7th – 24th December 2019

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The good folk of fortress-crowned Castleton, at the head of the Peak District’s Hope Valley, like to celebrate the Christmas period underground. And with an abundance of show caverns honeycombing the limestone in and around the village, there’s plenty of opportunity to do just that. Step into the darkness of Peak Cavern this December for mince pies, wine and music. Find out more information on peakcavern.co.uk

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Throughout December, the sound of carols echoes from Peak Cavern © Paul Deakin
Christmas market

Carols by Candlelight, Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire 

8th, 15th December 2019

The flickering glow of 1,000 candles lights up the vaulted arches of Fountain Abbey’s celebrated cellarium during the annual carol concert, held this year on both the 8th and the 15th December. Pick up a candle and a mulled wine or hot chocolate on your way in, before enjoying a sing-a-long to all your favourite carols. More information is available on nationaltrust.org.uk/events

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire UK
The event itself is free, although normal National Trust admission fees do apply, so arrive early if you’d like a seat ©Getty

Carols in the Courtyard, Ightham Mote, Kent 

13th, 20th December 2019

Have a glass of mulled wine on arrival at this medieval courtyard, and listen to the choir perform traditional carols. The 14th century moated manor house is the perfect setting for Christmas festivities, and the audience of the event are encouraged to sing along. Find out more via the National Trust website.

Christmas Carol Concert, for Clandon Park, Holy Trinity Church, Guildford

In this festive event, which is due to be held in Guilford’s Holy Trinity Church, the Oxford Singers will perform a mixture of festive songs in order to raise money. Donations on the day will all go towards the new developments of Clandon Park – built in 1720, the grand mansion is termed a ‘modern ruin’ after a fire tore off the palladium roof in 2015. Find out more on nationaltrust.org.uk/events

Christmas Concert National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

14th December 2019

Join the Wirral Singers and Ringers as they take us through some classic carols and favourite Christmas songs. This annual event takes place at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port on 14th December, 7.30-10pm. To book or for further information visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/nwm

Carols by Candlelight, National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire 

21st December 2019

 Heroes’ Square in the National Memorial Arboretum is illuminated by hundreds of candles and thousands of tree lights for the annual Christmas carol concert. This traditional carol service, suitable for all ages, features a variety of festive music, with carol books, candles and refreshments provided. Learn more about the event on the National Memorial Arboretum website

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The concert takes place on Saturday 21st December – it is a free event, though parking charges apply and donations are appreciated ©National Memorial Arboretum

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge

24th December 2019

Perhaps the most famous carol concert of them all – broadcast around the world on BBC Radio 4 – is the Christmas Eve Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. About 600 members of the public can attend the event, but beware, you’ll need to get there early – the queue to get in starts to form a day or so before the service. Find out more on kings.cam.ac.uk/events/chapel-services

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: The Choir of King's College Cambridge conduct a rehearsal of their Christmas Eve service of 'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols' in King's College Chapel on December 11, 2010 in Cambridge, England. The Choir was founded by King Henry VI in 1441 and is regarded as one of the world's finest choral groups. It comprises of the Conductor Stephen Cleobury, 16 choristers, who are educated on scholarships at King's College School, as well as 14 choral scholars and two organ scholars, who study a variety of subjects in the College. The choir's performance of 'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols', traditionally held on Christmas Eve in King's College Chapel, was introduced in 1918 and is broadcast to millions of people around the world. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
The service is also broadcast at 2pm on Radio 3 on Christmas Day © Getty

York Minster Carol Concerts, York

12th and 13th December 2019

A festive mix of classical and popular carols led by the Yorkshire Volunteers Band in the Minster’s nave. The songs tell the Christmas story from Advent to Christmas day. www.yorkminster.org

Wells Cathedral, Somerset

The famed and frilly-collared boys and girls of the Wells Cathedral Choir sing their hearts out in the medieval cathedral, beautifully lit by thousands of flickering candles.  www.wellscathedral.org.uk

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St Martin-in-the-Fields, London

The venerable church on the corner of Trafalgar Square is a peaceful haven from busy Christmas shoppers, especially if you pop in to their relaxed candlelit carol service. www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org