12 Top Spots Where You Can See Manchester’s Best Christmas Carol Services
Sing 'til your heart's content with this round-up of festive fiestas
We all know the true meaning of Christmas by now. It’s a time for loving, a time for giving - and a time for unashamedly belting out festive hits like you’re Adele onstage at Manchester Arena.
Even if you’re not gifted in the singing department, the less talented among us get a free pass when the bells are ringing out for Christmas Day. There’s something cosy and traditional about some good old fashioned carols, so for the 12 days of Manchester Christmas, deck the halls in style at these December events.
1. Christmas Carol Concert for Action for Children
If you’ve had your Christmas lights up since Halloween, chances are you’re itching to get started with all of the celebrating. So the good news is that the first day of Christmas carols is December 1. Squeezing cute primary school kids in alongside a traditional brass band, the city cathedral should be a grand enough incentive to spring a mere £8 for adults - or £6 concession. If it isn’t, what about the promise of a hot drink and a mince pie? That’s the Christmas spirit.
Manchester Cathedral, Tuesday December 1, 7.30pm-9pm. More details on the Manchester Cathedral website.
2. Christmas Carols by Salford Royal Choir
Anyone who has ever been ‘shushed’ in a library can get their own back here, by exercising their pipes in the lush surroundings of John Rylands grand Reading Room. Pretty much made for atmospheric festive events, this stunning location is set to reverberate to the sounds of the Salford Royal Choir. It’s free, too - but any donation will be gratefully received by the Wood Street Mission. So dig deep - it’s Christmas!
John Rylands Library, Sunday December 4, 2pm-3pm. More details on the University website.
3. Manchester and District Hospitals Christmas Carol Celebration
Christmas spirit will be here in spades at the Clic Sargent carols - featuring everything from school kids of all ages to police trumpeters - how festive is that? The venue is perfect for you to sit down and relax, letting the O Come All Ye Faithfuls and Little Donkeys wash over you. You’ll leave feeling ridiculously festive - with just three weeks until the big day! Tickets cost from £17-£22.
Bridgewater Hall, Monday December 5 or Tuesday December 6 from 7.30pm - 9.45pm. More details from the Clic Sargent site.
4. Missing People Manchester Carol Service
It’s a little further afield to Salford Cathedral for this one, but the Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir are going to be there, so you really should make an effort. It’s set to be emotional, as it’s in aid of the Missing People charity and features readings from those involved with the organisation. But the free-to-attend event also promises to be full of Ding Dong Merrily On Highs to lift the spirits of everyone there.
Salford Cathedral, Tuesday December 6 7.30pm-9pm. Find out more on the Missing People website.
5. Annual Carol Service
Getting your carol on in the afternoon is a pleasure that Christmas practically demands - like prosecco for breakfast. So the East Lancashire Masonic Charity have done us all a favour with this daytime event bringing Once in Royal David’s City to a thoroughly wintry afternoon. It’s free and there are no tickets, but you can donate £2 and feel a warm festive glow while you do it.
St Ann’s Church, Sunday December 11, 2pm. There’s more details on the Chetham’s School of Music website.
6. Henshaws’ Carols By Candlelight
The cathedral might be 600 years old, but it’s still putting on shows throughout the month of December, and this one is a brilliant chance to see it in all its glory - by candlelight.This charity event is a glitzy affair, with the Salvation Army brass band in attendance, a WI choir, and even an appearance from Paralympian Hannah Russell. It’s £10 for adults - £6 concessions - but that gets you a mince pie and mulled wine - and, we’d expect, a rousing rendition of We Three Kings.
Manchester Cathedral, Wednesday December 14, 7.30pm-9.30pm. Read more on the Henshaws site.
7. Christmas Carols in the City
Celeb spotting is a must at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity event this year, where patrons Corrie’s Faye Brooks and Emmerdale’s Joe Gill are popping up to do some reading. It’s £12 for adults and £6 concessions, and that includes festive refreshments as well as the promise of a good old singalong for those in the crowd itching to hark at the herald angels.
Manchester Cathedral, Thursday December 15, 7.30pm-9pm. Find out details from the RMCH site.
8. Christmas Carol Singalong
The University of Manchester carols in the modern Martin Harris Centre may not have the pomp of some of the cathedral services, but they’re intended to be relaxed and informal for everyone. It’s another one to really get into as they’re delighted to ask everyone to sing out, so get ready to go all Mariah and belt out Little Drummer Boy like your life depended on it. You’ll feel amazing afterwards.
Martin Harris Centre, Friday December 16, 1.10pm-2pm. All the info is on the Martin Harris Centre webpage.
9. Family Carols Concert
Manchester Cathedral’s the setting for its own brilliant voluntary choir the weekend before Christmas, with voices raising the roof in an early evening event. The Holly and The Ivy and Ding Dong Merrily on High have been promised - but you’ll definitely be sold when you hear the £10 adult - £8 concession - ticket’s got a drink and a mince pie thrown in. Can’t say fairer than that.
Manchester Cathedral, Saturday December 17, 7.30pm-9pm. Read all about it on the Manchester Cathedral events page.
10. Shelter Carol Concert
This is the homeless charity’s first ever Manchester carol concert, and they’re really pulling out all the stops. Entertainment includes the renowned Streetwise Opera and the Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir. The charity, founded in 1966, is more pertinent than ever, especially with Manchester’s rising number of homeless, so why not bag a free ticket and do something in the spirit of the season.
Manchester Cathedral, Sunday December 18, 7.30pm-9pm. Check out the EventBrite page for tickets.
11. Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Twas the night before the night before… the night before Christmas, so this really is the time to give yourself that final festive push and let the Christmas spirit take you over. A Manc version of the annual Cambridge concert, anyone still Scrooging after this is a lost cause, we’re afraid.
Manchester Cathedral, Thursday December 22, 7.30pm-9.30pm. The cathedral site’s got all the details.
12. Christmas Carol Singalong
Christmas shopping is down to the wire and you just know the perfect gift for your bae’s waiting in the next store - if only you could get through the queues to the till. Why not forget the commercialism for five minutes? Now is the time for a festive break, so get into some top pop classics before the big day with Santa Claus is Coming To Town and Merry Christmas Everyone on the menu. Your bae will totally understand.
Bridgewater Hall, Saturday December 24, 3pm. Read what you need to know about tickets priced from £18-£42 on the Bridgewater Hall site.