It’s official, advent has started, Christmas is nearly here!
I’m sure those of you who live in London are well aware of this: Harrods have got their Christmas lights on, the streets are crammed with Christmas Shoppers, Winter Wonderland is lighting up Hyde Park, coffee shops have got their Christmas drinks on the go (I have tried so many!) and the Christmas adverts have started! If that isn’t enough evidence, I actually saw someone today carrying a sledge!
One of my favourite parts of Christmas is the carol services. Yes food is good, presents are great and spending time with family is nice, but I don’t think you can beat a good carol service. I’m guessing that most of imperial would agree with me looking at the large number of carol services that are available!
Not only is this a great opportunity to get into the festive mood, eat lots of yummy food and belt out some old classic carols. It’s also a great time to relax and have a break in the midst of Christmas meals and events at the end of a busy term, and hear why Christmas is important to so many around the world. International students can find out more about a traditional British Christmas, and Brits can enjoy the Christmas story as an adult. So why not head along to one of the many carol services around or near campus? Take a group of friends, your sports team, or just go alone for some space!
Over my five years at imperial I have had the joy of sampling many a Christmas Carol service, so here are some of my top choices that you could try this year. All are free and will offer a very warm welcome.
1. Imperial Christian societies Carol Service Holy Trinity Church, Prince Consort Road. 11th December, 6:30pm (doors open at 6:15)
If you are going to have a Christmas Carol service Imperials Christian societies are probably the best people to ask. Here a range of student Christian societies across Imperial come together to run a great Carol service on campus aimed at students, straight after lectures.
Come along for a convenient location, lots of good old carols, Bible Christmas readings and a short talk. Lots of opportunities to think about what Christmas means and find out more if you want, or just to sit and enjoy the candlelight Church. Imperial College Gospel Choir will also perform during the service. The event is followed by lots of mince pies and festive hot drinks!
Also bonus fact- Last year the speaker had done the Carol service in Chelsea for many celebrities including the made in Chelsea cast- if it’s good enough for them…
2. Imperial chaplaincy carol service Holy Trinity Church, Prince Consort Road. 14th December, 6pm
Once again in the busy end to term this service offers a space and time to reflect, as well as sing some favourite carols and enjoy the Church in candlelight. Once again all are welcome, regardless of background, and refreshments (mince pies!) will be served afterwards. Imperial College Chamber Choir will be performing during the service.
3. ICSMSU carol service
Organised by the medical school, this carol service features ICSM societies, student volunteers, lecturers and teachers perform a variety of readings/prayers/pieces. Again, lots of carols, festive cheer and A popular choice for sports teams to come along to as a group, everyone is welcome, feels like a family event!
There are also a range of carol services at local churches, which should be very welcoming to visitors, and often have really good mulled wine and mince pies!
1. Christ Church Mayfair Down Street, London, W1J 7AN (just by Hyde Park Corner)
Traditional and Family Carols (10.15am, Sunday the 13th and 20th of December respectively), Carols by Candlelight, (6pm on Sunday the 13th and 20th, and 7.30pm on Wednesday the 16th)
Minced pies, mulled wine, a warm welcome, a candlelit church, a fun Church choir and lots of carols and readings. Perfect ingredients for a carol service! Many visitors come along to the carol service so you will not be alone. Is located near to Winter Wonderland, so might be nice to combine with a Christmas trip! Also have a service on Christmas day if you are stuck in London and fancy doing something to celebrate Christmas.
2. Holy Trinity Brompton Brompton Road- literally behind Princes Gardens- Southside halls
Too many times and dates to list!
As one of London’s largest churches, and on the doorstep of Imperial, this offers a massive range of carol services- really- have a look! I’m sure there would be something here to suit everyone’s tastes. The Church is used to having lots of visitors so should be super welcoming! They also have a free community lunch on Christmas day which might be worth looking into if you are in halls over Christmas.
3. St. Albans, Fulham 2 Margravine Road, W6 8HJ
Just next-door to Charing Cross Hospital, this Church is perfectly located for medics (or anyone else who lives near Hammersmith!) to pop along to a carol service.