Looking for a new pre-theatre drinks venue? The Winter Bar at St Martin-in-the-Fields might be just the place for a seasonally festive start to your matinee or evening show. With its relatively central location, it could also come in handy as somewhere to meet friends, or to take a break from Christmas shopping. This charming winter pop-up, complete with fairy lights and cosy heaters also makes it ideal for after-work drinks.
Overlooking Trafalgar Square, St Martin’s is one of the capital’s leading venues for Christmas festivities, renowned for its outstanding programme of choral music, Baroque and carol concerts along with a range of other events. For those who enjoy the traditional hymns of the season and appreciate the heightened atmosphere afforded by the glowing lights the ever-popular Carols by Candlelight is the perfect event. Meanwhile, the concert programme includes such favourites as Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, also by candlelight. In total, there are 22 Christmas Carol Concerts, 12 Classical Christmas Concerts, 100 Christmas Gingerbread Workshops, a well-stocked Christmas Shop and a Christmas Menu in the excellent Crypt Café.
St Martin’s is famous for its progressive work with homeless and vulnerable people, providing a place of opportunity, sanctuary and support for anyone in need. In the true spirit of Christmas, all proceeds from the bar will go towards this vital work, augmenting the money raised throughout the year by its shop, other concerts and commercial and cultural activities that reflect the values and ethos inherited from the example and practice of its patron saint.
Here’s a summary of the many festive delights that St Martin’s has to offer:
The Winter Bar
The new fully-stocked Winter Bar replaces the Summer Courtyard Bar. Making it special are the exceptional Christmas cocktail. These a few well-known drinks that have been given a warming seasonal twist: the Christmas Spritz (Aperol, sparkling wine, bitters, ginger beer and rosemary), the Blood Orange Negroni (Gin, Campari, Vermouth and Blood Orange) and the Spiced Margarita (Olmeca Reposado Tequila, Triple Sec, Lime, Chilli and Hot Sauce) along with traditional mulled wine, an alcoholic hot chocolate with optional marshmallows and a selection of soft drinks. If you’re feeling hungry there’s also a range of pizzas to choose from, including the chicken and cranberry special. Situated under canvas in the courtyard at the rear of the church under the East Window, the Winter Bar is already open and will be serving drinks and pizza until late from Wednesday to Saturday until 18 December and then daily until 31 December (excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day). The bar is also available for private hire and office Christmas parties.
For Families and Children
St Martin’s prides itself on the invitation it extends to families, welcoming them to festivities and encouraging children to take part in activities in its relaxed atmosphere
Carols for Kids (Saturday mornings, 2-23 Dec) are 45-minute family concerts designed for very young children who are encouraged to wear their festive jumpers. St Martin’s Voices will sing much-loved classics alongside audience carols for all to join in with.
Festive Family Carols concerts on Saturday afternoons throughout December are designed for children and adults of all ages to come together in a one-hour programme of popular carols and music led by St Martin’s Voices.
Family Christmas with the Academy sees St Martin’s Voices and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields join forces for an hour-long afternoon of Christmas music for all the family to listen to and join in.
The Gingerbread Decorating Workshop
New for 2023, St Martin’s is hosting gingerbread decorating workshops for children in the stunning St Martin’s Gallery, next to the Crypt Café. Children will have the chance to decorate gingerbread biscuits, baked by hand by St Martin’s Head Chef and shaped into an array of festive shapes including stars, Christmas trees and gingerbread people. Santa’s Elves will tell tales full of festive cheer of Santa's love of gingerbread and lead a sing-along finale of Christmas songs with the children.
This 45-minute session is an ideal way to get creative this festive season! Warming glasses of mulled wine will be available for adults to purchase while the little ones decorate their biscuits, or you can pop to the café for special hot chocolate. At the end of the session, children can take their festive creations with them as gingerbread treats to enjoy and share at home. Gingerbread decorating kits are available to buy in the shop as a perfect souvenir of your visit and as a stocking-filler gift.
Traditional Carol Concerts
The carols performed by the choir and those for all to join in can be found in the long below, but this is a summary of what is available in this section.
Carols for Christmas offers captivating performances of festive music in an hour-long afternoon concert from St Martin’s Voices.
The Joys of Christmas by Candlelight is a special two-hour evening concert from the Choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Martin’s Brass.
A Christmas Celebration by Candlelight features St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Choir and St Martin’s Brass in a beautiful two-hour evening concert of carols and seasonal readings.
Christmas with St Martin’s Voices by Candlelight marks the beginning of the Christmas season with a one-hour evening concert of choir and audience carols led by St Martin’s Voices, with Andrew Earis (conductor), to include carols from their new album.
A Trafalgar Square Christmas by Candlelight celebrates the lighting of the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square on 7 December, with St Martin’s Voices and Strings offering a wonderful hour-long concert of festive music by candlelight.
Christmas Classics - International Ensembles in a Stunning Setting
With its warm and spacious acoustic, St Martin’s is the perfect setting for choral music, and once again they welcome world-leading ensembles to perform Baroque classics perfect for the Christmas season.
Christmas Music by Candlelight, will see Chamber Choir Ex Cathedra with Jeffrey Skidmore (conductor) present their annual evening of readings and song specially devised for the last days of the year(12 Dec).
Christmas Baroque by Candlelight features St Martin’s Voices Emerging Artists, Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Martin’s Chamber Ensemble perform Baroque favourites in a two-hour evening concert(14 Dec).
Handle’s Messiah receives two performances: the first from The Sixteen one of the world's finest chamber choirs; the second from St Martin’s Chamber Orchestra and St Martin’s Voices(18 Dec).
A Christmas Conversation sees the award-winning choir Tenebrae, conducted by Nigel Short, return with a specially created evening of words, that conjure up a winter’s journey with memories of Christmases past, and echoed and enhanced by a rich mix of music for Advent and Christmas, (15 Dec).
A Gospel Christmas features the spoken word in contemporary re-imaginings of Christmas classics by the gospel geniuses of our age, Soul Sanctuary who will be joined by writer and TV presenter Mel Giedroyc. (20 Dec).
A Seasonal Celebration brings the renowned vocal ensemble The King’s Singers with a festive offering that spans continents and centuries as they journey around the whole world of Christmas music from their spiritual home of King’s College Chapel to seasonal masterpieces old and new, in a two-hour evening concert that puts William Byrd alongside Disney classics(21 Dec).
The New Year
A Viennese New Year by Candlelight rings in the New Year with St Martin’s Chamber Orchestra performing a traditional New Year feast of waltzes and polkas composed by the Strauss family and their contemporaries, alongside works by Mozart and Tchaikovsky (30 Dec).
New Year’s Extravaganza by Candlelight sees the Festive Orchestra of London and violin virtuoso Catherine Manson combine for their traditional New Year celebration that includes some of the most popular works by Handel, Mozart and Vivaldi.(1 Jan 2024).
Further details are available through the following links:
The Winter Bar: https://bit.ly/3RfmaiJ
<... Events: https://bit.ly/3Gcfn33