Christmas on Classic FM: all the festive programmes, concerts and celebrations coming up

9 December 2021, 10:44 | Updated: 21 December 2021, 10:03

Anna Lapwood plays ‘Sussex Carol’ on the great Royal Albert Hall organ | Classic FM

Classic FM

By Classic FM

Classic FM is the home of Christmas music, and we’ll be featuring the most festive programmes to bring us all together this year. Here are just a few highlights of the music and shows coming up in December...

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All through December and into the new year, we have a selection of special programmes on Classic FM to keep you entertained over the festive period.

On the night before Christmas, Alexander Armstrong will present a special Christmas Evensong, sharing music from some of the greatest cathedral choirs including the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge and the Choir of St Mary’s, Edinburgh.

Christmas Day will see John Brunning reveal The Nation’s Favourite Carol, before broadcasting legend Sir Trevor McDonald whisks us away for memories of Christmas around the world, alongside his favourite seasonal music.

Before that, Moira Stuart meets with the Archbishop of Canterbury to find out what Christmas means to him. And on Christmas Eve, Aled Jones will treat us to his annual narration of The Snowman, complete with Howard Blake’s wonderful music.

Below is the full Christmas schedule so that you can plan your festive listening...

Listen on Global Player: Classic FM Christmas, our non-stop festive playlist

Christmas on Classic FM: all the festive programmes, concerts and celebrations coming up
Christmas on Classic FM: all the festive programmes, concerts and celebrations coming up. Picture: Alamy/Classic FM

19 December: Moira Stuart Meets... The Archbishop of Canterbury

Moira Stuart’s acclaimed interview series draws to a close with an unmissable final guest. On 19 December, Moira sits down with the head of the Anglican church worldwide, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who opens up about his life and faith, what Christmas means to him, and asks Moira to play a selection of his favourite carols. Listen from 9pm.

20 December: The Prince’s Foundation Carol Concert with John Suchet

Settle in for an exclusive carol concert recorded live in the stunning St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge, in aid of The Prince’s Foundation. There’ll be readings from the charity’s ambassador, Sarah Beeny, alongside traditional Christmas favourites performed by the Choir of St Paul’s, Knightsbridge and Seraphim Trumpets. Join John from 8pm to listen.

21 December: The Lord’s Taverners Carol Concert with the Stars

John Suchet whisks you away to another beautiful setting this evening, as he presents a carol concert in aid of the Lord’s Taverners, recorded live in Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street in London. Don’t miss performances from soloists Kitty Whately, Thomas Allen and Anna Tillbrook, as well as readings from David Gower and Kevin Whately. Join John from 8pm to listen.

Read more: Andrea Bocelli sings ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ in majestic Italian opera house to ring in Christmas

22 December: A Westminster Christmas with John Suchet

There’s another exclusive Christmas concert to cosy up to on 22 December, captured at St John’s Smith Square earlier this month. The Parliament Choir, made up of MPs, staffers and other parliamentary officials, joins musicians from the Southbank Sinfonia for a programme of festive favourites and best-loved carols. Join John from 8pm to listen.

23 December: Carols from St Paul’s Cathedral with John Suchet

Recorded in the glorious St Paul’s Cathedral in London, John Suchet has a festive carol concert from the MS Society to fill your home with festive cheer. Musical guests include Sarah Connolly and Mark Stone, as well as tenor Freddie de Tommaso, with readings from some of the stage and screen’s biggest stars: Simon Callow, Preeya Kalidas, Rose Leslie and Nicola Walker. Listen from 8pm.

24 December: Christmas Eve Requests with Anne-Marie Minhall

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Classic FM’s hugely popular requests programme… Whatever your plans on Christmas Eve, Anne-Marie Minhall wants to soundtrack your day with festive music of your choosing, with the help of the Classic FM Requests orchestra! Get in touch with your requests on the day here. Listen from 12pm.

24 December: Aled Jones narrates The Snowman

There’s a festive treat for all the family on Christmas Eve. Grab a mince pie and settle down for Aled Jones’ narration of The Snowman, complete with Howard Blake’s iconic soundtrack. Join Aled from 4pm to listen.

24 December: Carols from the Royal Hospital Chelsea with Fiona Bruce

Fiona Bruce presents a special carol concert, held in support of cancer charity Maggie’s, from the Wren Chapel at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Among the exciting line-up of soloists is trumpeter Alison Balsom and operatic tenor Nicky Spence, alongside readings from a host of famous faces. Listen from 4.30pm.

24 December: Alexander Armstrong’s Christmas Evensong

As the evening draws in, join Alexander Armstrong as he shares his love of choral music and showcases a range of vocal performances. Don’t miss festive recordings from some of the greatest cathedral choirs, including the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge, the Choir of St Mary’s, Edinburgh and a stunning performance of ‘Christian’s Awake’ by the Choir of Trinity College. Listen from 6pm.

Read more: 11 truly awful Christmas jokes for music lovers

Andrea Bocelli sings 'Adeste Fideles' for Believe in Christmas concert

25 December: Christmas Day Requests with Anne-Marie Minhall

Soundtrack Christmas Day with a soundtrack of your choosing. For three hours, Anne-Marie Minhall plays your dedications and shares special messages as you unwrap presents, prepare dinner or relax with a familiar festive film. You can get in touch here! Join Anne-Marie from 10am to listen.

25 December: The Nation’s Favourite Carol with John Brunning

For the past week, you’ve been voting for your best-loved Christmas carol – and on Christmas Day, John Brunning counts down this year’s top 30. Which melody will reign supreme in 2021? Listen from 1pm.

Vote now: Win a Christmas hamper or smart speaker by choosing your favourite carol

25 December: A Royal Christmas with Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh has the perfect musical accompaniment to your Christmas afternoon, with a special show of carols and festive melodies. Alan also shares his insight into how the royal family celebrates Christmas, alongside performances by the Choir of the Chapel Royal, from a carol service recorded exclusively for Christmas Day on Classic FM. Listen from 3pm.

25 December: Christmas with Sir Trevor McDonald

Broadcasting legend Sir Trevor McDonald presents two hours of his favourite seasonal music for Christmas Day, sprinkled with his own memories of festivities spent in locations around the world. There’ll be carols to lift the spirits, and contemporary Christmas classics too. Listen from 5pm.

Rebecca Dale: In the Bleak Midwinter. Performed by St Martin’s Voices, under Andrew Earis

25 December: The Story of Carols with Anne-Marie Minhall

Head into Christmas Day evening with Anne-Marie on a seasonal, musical journey, sharing the fascinating stories behind beloved carols. Listen from 7pm.

26 December: Christmas at the Movies with Andrew Collins

In a special three-hour bumper edition of his programme, Andrew Collins presents an extravaganza of Christmas family-favourites. There’s festive cheer from the classic Miracle on 34th Street composed by Cyril Mockridge, Home Alone by John Williams, the Disney hit Frozen scored by Christophe Beck, and many more. Listen from 1pm.

27 – 30 December: My Classical DNA

Beginning on 27 December, there’s a new four-part series exploring the music that has had an impact on some well-known personalities you might not expect. Classic FM will be asking some famous names to let us into their musical worlds and lead us through the classical music closest to their heart. Listen from 9pm.

Listen to all your favourite Christmas music, on the go – whenever and wherever – with the Classic FM Christmas playlist on Global Player.