United Kingdom

Candlelit Christmas Carols in London

Carols by candlelight? In a striking cathedral in central London? Yes, please.

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On my last Friday night in London this year, I decided to skip the pub and instead, headed to Southwark Cathedral to hear some of my favourite festive songs in an unbeatable atmosphere.

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Like many cathedrals in England, the cathedral itself is incredible. Dating back to 1220, Southwark Cathedral is the oldest Gothic church in London.

Our seats for the performance were in the transept, in front of the organ, which meant we had a great view of the carollers from the side and heard the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the organ up-close. The carollers were men and boys from the Cathedral Choir.

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Almost two hours in length, the first hour was Messiah (Handel). The performance were was incredible. The way the sound echoed throughout the cathedral was spectacular.

After a short intermission, during which delicious mince pies and wine were available, we headed back into the cathedral for the second half of the performance, which was a mix of hymns and carols. During the hymns, the audience was encouraged to sing along, which was a nice, lively touch.

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If church carols during the holidays sounds like something you’d enjoy, London has plenty of performances to choose from. At the top of my list for future holiday seasons are Westminster Abbey, the Royal Albert Music Hall and St. Paul’s.

Have you ever been to see Christmas carols in a cathedral? 

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