O Come All Ye Faithful: A quick guide to carol services in 2021


First published 10th December 2021

🎄 Traditional 

Most churches in the diocese are having a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service again this year – and with there being over 200 churches in our diocese, there's plenty of choice for this traditional and popular service. Please visit A Church Near You to find details about your local worshipping communities.

Many of these services are happening on Sunday 19 December, such as:

  • Christchurch Downend, where there are two Carols by Candlight services on 19 December at 5pm and 7.30pm – traditional services with readings, choir, carols and reflection.
  • St Augustine’s Church Swindon will also be holding Traditional Carols and Readings for Christmas on 19 December, followed by mulled wine and mince pies.

Churches are working with the updated Covid-19 guidance to make their services as safe as possible. Please check whether booking is required and the Covid guidelines before your visit. 


🎄 Not in a church 

For those that would prefer to attend carols outside of a church building, there is also an array of outdoor services across the diocese, for example: 

Bristol: 

  • Christ Church Clifton - Street Carols, 11 December 
  • St Edyths Sea Mills - Carols on the square with brass band and festive food, 11 December
  • St Michael Stoke Gifford - Carols on The Green, 11 December 
  • Medieval Barn Winterbourne - Carols in the Barn joint event with St Michael’s Church, 12 December, 3pm and 6pm

Wiltshire:

  • CARols are back on track! - Bybrook Churches are holding drive-in carols at Castle Combe race circuit – 12 December at 4pm, gates opening at 3pm
  • All Saints' Church Car Park, Swindon, Outdoor community carol singing, 18 December
  • Hullavington Church meeting at church lychgate for Christmas story and carols on 24 December – the church is also holding a nativity trail throughout December retelling the Christmas story in window displays around the village


🎄 Shorter

You can also find a shorter service if you prefer, ideal if you have young children:

  • St Philip & St James, Neston will be holding a short, 30 minute service of nothing but carols called Simply Carols on 12 December at 4.30pm and 6pm
  • St Andrew Blunsdon, Children's Carol Service - in church and on Facebook Live, 19 December
  • Bristol Cathedral - Shopper's Carols, 21 December
  • Bristol Cathedral - Toddlers’ Carols, 22 December, a special 45 minute carol service for babies, toddlers and pre-school children, running at 10am and 2pm
  • St Mary Redcliffe – lunchtime carols – carols in your lunch hour, 22 December


🎄 Choirs

And if you enjoy listening to choirs, we have plenty of these too – you could try:

  • St Peter’s Bishopsworth, Carols with Unity Singers, 11 December
  • St Marys Purton, Classic Christmas Carols with Ridgeway Farm School Choir, St Mary’s Church Music Group, and children from other schools followed by refreshments and mince pies, 12 December 
  • St Ambrose & St Leonard East Bristol Christmas Carol Service with choir, 17 December


These are but a few examples of the wonderful carol services taking place across the diocese this Christmas -–you can find all the details through your local church or by visiting A Church Near You.

You may also like to enjoy the Church of England's first ever Christmas single, part of At the Heart of Christmas - a campaign to encourage more people to hear the real Christmas story through their local church.