While, here at Secret London, we love a Candlelight concert year round, this illuminating series truly comes into its own at Christmas time. From the atmosphere the candles create to the magical settings, and everything in between, Candlelight at Christmas is just *chef’s kiss*. For those who are unfamiliar with Fever’s Candlelight concerts, firstly, where have you been?! Secondly, these concerts see live musicians perform classical renditions of modern music or traditional concertos in the serene surrounds of a venue that’s bathed in candlelight. It’s that simple, and truly beautiful.
Over the next couple of months, London will play ho-ho-host to a fair few Candlelight concerts, and frankly, if you’re not there, you’ll be missing out. Need more convincing? Here’s why we think you won’t want to miss out.
1. You can relive your Christmas favourites in a brand-new way
If the opening notes of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas get you all excited, well, then so will this season’s Candlelight concerts. On December 17, a whole host of festive film soundtracks will get the Candlelight treatment at St Mary’s Church. String quartet City String Ensemble will reimagine hits such as The Christmas Song from It’s a Wonderful Life, The Maestro from The Holiday, and Let it Go from Frozen, performing them in an hour-long show, surrounded by candles. Get your tickets to listen out for a classic from your favourite Christmas film.
Alternatively, if you’d rather hear jazz renditions of Christmas hits, nab tickets to a show of exactly that on either December 18 or 21. The smooth sounds of saxophones, trumpets and more will fill Glazier’s Hall on both evenings, as a live jazz band perform the likes of Let It Snow, Winter Wonderland and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
Ballet dancers will be the real (jingle) bells of the ball on December 23, as three ballet dancers join a string quartet to perform excerpts from The Nutcracker. From plié to pirouette, the mesmerising movements of the dancers, coupled with the intimate setting of a candlelit stage at Central Hall Westminster, will be a total feast for the senses. Candlelight Ballet is a popular series, so be sure to snap up tickets in good time.
2. There’s a concert for almost every taste
Throughout the year, the Candlelight concert series caters to nearly every genre of music, and that’s not any less true this Christmas season. In the six week period leading up to the end of the year, you can enjoy the aforementioned Christmas-themed Candlelight concerts, or you can opt to attend something more niche.
Are you a dedicated member of the Bey-hive or a committed Sheerio? Well, across the weekend of November 26–27, there’ll be concerts to delight each of these fan bases. On November 26, Single Ladies and those who are Crazy In Love can unite at Candlelight: A Tribute To Beyonce for an hour-long show at Glazier’s Hall that reimagines Beyonce’s hits on string instruments. A day later, at the same venue, Ed Sheeran‘s hits will get the Candlelight treatment, as the likes of Shape Of You, Thinking Out Loud, and Photograph are performed by Morassi Quartet.
If film is more your thing, many of Japanese composer Joe Hisashi‘s scores will be paid tribute with a Candlelight concert on four different dates at Butchers’ Hall (November 26–27 and December 17–18), including melodies from Spirited Away, Whisper of the Heart, and Neighbour Totoro. A tribute to Hans Zimmer – known for composing scores in Gladiator, Inception and The Lion King – will take place at Central Hall Westminster on December 22.
3. This Christmas, there’s a concert with a famous performer
While Candlelight concerts usually pay tribute to famous singers, composers and musicians, this Christmas, there’ll be a rather special performance on the December 17: rather than a tribute to award-winning, singer-songwriter Celeste, the woman herself will perform at a Candlelight concert. Yes, you read that correctly! Hear Celeste’s soulful vocals first hand at Central Hall Westminster, as she performs songs from her 2021 debut album, bathed in darkness, but for the flickering candlelight. The Brit Award winner, who has worked with the likes of Taylor Swift, Jamie XX, and Frank Ocean, will be joined on stage by London Contemporary Orchestra; the Celeste Candlelight concert is one not to miss!
4. Traditional venues bathed in candlelight will give proper festive vibes
Nothing says quintessential Christmas in England like the festive transformation of historical buildings. It really gives that A Christmas Carol-type feel. Candlelight concerts are known for taking over some of the UK’s most gorgeous venues, many of which are steeped in history, and this Christmas, you can expect hundreds of candles to illuminate the likes of Central Hall Westminster, St Mary’s Church, Glazier’s Hall and Butchers’ Hall. The newest of these venues (Central Hall Westminster) is still over 100 years old, while the oldest (Butchers’ Hall) was originally erected in the 15th century, and has since been opened, closed, rebuilt and renovated a number of times. Leave your Scrooge-ness behind, and embrace the festive cheer inside these buildings, softly lit by candlelight.
5. You can give the gift of an experience
Forget the novelty socks and the bottle of wine; give the gift of a candlelit experience to your loved ones this Christmas. Whether mate, date or family trip, Candlelight concerts captivate all group types. If you can’t find a show to suit your recipient this season, there’s sure to be one at another point in the year, so wrap up a wonderful Candlelight concert gift card for them to open come Christmas Day. At the moment, you can benefit from an extra 20% credit too – so if you buy a pal a £25 gift card, they’ll actually get £30 to spend. Cheers!