Best Carol Concerts in Bristol

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St. George's Carol Service. Photo Credit: Dafydd Penguin

Music is one of the most nostalgic parts of Christmas, and whether you like to have a sing yourself or let others take the lead, finding a good local carol concert can make for a marvellous evening out. From professional concerts to community-led gigs, we’ve picked out some of the best, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.

St. George’s

Boasting one of Bristol's best acoustics, historic St George’s in the centre of town hosts a number of Christmas concerts this year. This 1820s, Greek Revival-style church has developed a strong reputation for its music performances since its 1999 renovation, encompassing classical, jazz, folk, opera and world music.

Local orchestra the Bristol Ensemble are having a busy week, making three pre-Christmas appearances: firstly alongside the 100-strong City of Bristol Choir in their annual Christmas Spectacular on Tuesday 19 December. The Spectacular features a bumper package of traditional carols, modern arrangements, orchestral numbers and a fair helping of festive fooling thrown in as well. The next day the Ensemble are joined by smaller outfit the Exultate Singers for a second, more serious Christmas Spectacular, before the City of Bristol Choir return on Thursday 22 December for a more relaxed Festive Fiesta. Expect plenty of music for your money, and be prepared to join in with the audience carols!

Tickets range from £4 - £26 plus booking fees.

Bristol Cathedral

Surely the most atmospheric way to get your annual hit of Christmas joy is when Bristol Cathedral hosts its ever-popular Carols by Candlelight on Friday 16 December. As before there’ll be the chance for the audience to sing along with the better-known carols, but allow the Cathedral Choir to take the lead for the rest as they send spine-tingling harmonies down the length of the church. The stunning Cathedral truly looks at its best when lit by hundreds of candles, lighting up the building in the manner it was originally intended.

Bristol Cathedral. Photo Credit: Paul McGreevy

Advance tickets have already sold out, but tickets are still available on the door for just £7 (£5 concessions).

Colsten Hall

If you fancy something even more epic in scale and content, you could do a lot worse than heading to the Colston Hall for Bristol Choral Society & Corelli Orchestra’s take on Handel’s Messiah. The Choral Society has a monumental 180 members, allowing them to create an incredibly full sound, and they regularly link up with professional soloists for their performances. They’ve been performing Handel at Christmas for 120 years, so isn’t it about time you joined them for the ride?

Colsten Hall. Photo Credit: Heather Cowper

The concert is on Saturday 17 December at 7.30pm, and tickets are from £5.38 to £27.95 including a booking fee.

Christmas with the Salvation Army

Alternatively, spend your Saturday celebrating Christmas with the Salvation Army at Bristol’s striking Gothic St Mary Redcliffe church (once described by Queen Elizabeth I as ‘the fairest, goodliest, and most famous parish church in England’!) It’s an ideal way to combine celebration with charity, as all proceeds from the concert support The Salvation Army’s social work in Bristol. Headlined this year by chorister Laura Wright of England Rugby fame (she’s their official anthem singer), you’ll also spot a number of local news and media figures giving readings. Expect plenty of music, readings and festive cheer.

The concert is on Saturday 17 December at 7pm, and tickets cost just £6.45 including a booking fee.