Christmas carols, ballet, musicals and more.
The summer is only just coming to an end but there is no better time to start planning for Christmas, as many top attractions and events sell out months in advance. Few things evoke that magical Christmas feeling better than festive stories and music and this year there is plenty to choose from. We’ve put together our guide to the best festive happenings, to help you get tickets booked before the rush – call or email us to request yours.
Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall, London
Each year this London icon plays host to a range of Christmas concerts but many members’ favourites are the carol concerts. This year you can choose between joining in at one of the Christmas Carol Sing-alongs, or sit back and enjoy the angelic sounds of the King’s College Choir. For the ultimate start to your celebrations, we recommend visiting on Christmas Eve for Carols by Candlelight.
Handel’s Messiah, Kate Rusby and Michael Card at Union Chapel, London
3 December, 7 December and 12 December
This winter, why not admire this Gothic revival building and enjoy some festive concerts, while warming your hands on a mug of hot chocolate from the chapel bar? The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, will get things started with Handel’s Messiah echoing throughout the chapel. A few days later, English folk singer, Kate Rusby, along with her band – and twinkling fairy lights – brings new arrangements of popular Christmas tunes, alongside those from her home county of Yorkshire. Lastly, American Christian songwriter, Michael Card is making a welcome return for a one-off show. With 37 albums to his name, it’s hard to know what to expect, but poignant renditions of his gospel hits Emmanuel and El Shaddai could feature.
Christmas with Aled Jones and the Snowman at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
21 and 22 December
Join the nation’s favourite chorister for a night of Christmas favourites, including O Holy Night, Jingle Bells and music from the Nutcracker. The following day, there is a screening of the winter classic that gave rise to Aled Jones’ fame, with a live orchestra. A perfect pre-Christmas afternoon out for the entire family, nobody can resist Raymond Briggs’ touching story, accompanied by Howard Blake’s magical score.
Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
18 December, 23 December and 31 December
The music promoter will be putting on a number of shows in the city centre. Start your celebrations with Carols by Candlelight or the Christmas Carol Singalong, both with plenty of chances to get those vocal chords warmed up. Once the big day has passed, you can still indulge in true Scottish style at the Hogmanay Gala on New Year’s Eve.
Elf: The Musical at the Dominion Theatre, London
24 October 2015 to 2 January 2016
Based on the film starring Will Ferrell, Elf the Musical has already enjoyed huge success on Broadway. This year it finds its home in London’s West End and theatregoers are snapping up tickets for what is sure to be a fantastic treat for all ages. Join Buddy as he travels from the North Pole to New York in search of his father, reminding people of the true meaning of Christmas along the way.
Christmas with Lee Mead at the Garrick Theatre, London
Best known for winning the role of Joseph as part of the BBC’s Any Dream Will Do in 2007, Lee Mead is now a West End star in his own right. Having hosted his first Christmas show at the Garrick last year, he is back to do it all again; presenting a night of Christmas favourites, he will be joined by a few surprise guests during the evening.
The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House, London
8 December 2015 to 14 January 2016
With snow, toy soldiers and a Kingdom of Sweets, this much-loved ballet, set to Tchaikovsky’s magical score, really does have everything you could wish for in a Christmas production. Take your seat in this historic building in the heart of London, to watch the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, before braving the cold to explore Covent Garden’s Christmas market.
Pictured: Elf the Musical