Advent and Christmas

At the heart of Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year with plenty happening here at Bath Abbey and at our sister church, St Michael's Bath. From spectacular carol services to festive tower tours, why not drop by to mark this special occasion with us. This year, our celebrations will be even more magical with Luke Jerram's spectacular Museum of the Moon illumination at the centre of our beautifully renewed space.


We are thrilled to be at the heart of a bustling vibrant city and feel privileged that so many people, locals and visitors alike, choose to celebrate Christmas with us.

Our aim is to give our Abbey visitors a meaningful and memorable encounter with the message of God’s love, coming to transform our humanity in the birth of Jesus Christ – whether they are from the other side of the world, a regular worshipper, attending a concert or come just once a year.

The large number of special events and services taking place in November and December means that the Abbey may be closed to visitors at certain times. Please always check our Opening Times or with the Abbey Office before visiting.


Worshipping with us

We are delighted to welcome you for in-person worship this Advent and Christmas. A number of our services are now ticketed in order to allow as many people as possible to attend and to try to keep queues down to a minimum.

In previous years, all our tickets have been taken up. Our hope is that as all members of the Abbey community wishing to attend Christmas services are able to do so. However, we do ask for your patience and understanding as places are allocated, and suggest that you may like to obtain a maximum of 4 tickets per family, to ensure opportunity for the greatest number to be with us. Thank you so much!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Christmas.

Festive Tower Tours

Climb 212 steps for stunning views and discover the Abbey’s bells, ringing chamber and clock. Includes free mulled wine or hot chocolate to enjoy from the top of the Tower. Tours run Tue-Sat, times vary. Tickets: Adult £10, Child (5-15 yrs) £5. Special 2 for 1 offer for Discovery Card holders. Please ask about tickets and times at the Abbey’s Orange Grove entrance, Welcome Desk or Shop.

James Tait, 14, and sister Catherine Tait, 10, play the roles of Mary and Joseph at the annual nativity play at Bath Abbey. 16 December 2012. Children were invited to come dressed as a shepherd, angel, wise man or citizen of Bethlehem to create a stunning Christmas tableau which also featured Mr Frosty the donkey. Nativity plays are a traditional right of passage for children in the UK with most schools and churches retelling the story of the birth of Jesus in the days before Christmas.

Ticketed services

The following services are ticketed:

  • Advent Carol Service on Advent Sunday 28 November 5pm & 7.30pm
  • Family Carol Service on Sunday 19 December 4pm
  • Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols on Thursday 23 December 5pm & 7.30pm
  • Midnight Communion on Friday 24 December 11pm

All tickets for services are free. Please book via Eventbrite.

Please note tickets for the Advent Sunday and the Family Carol services are now available. Tickets for the other services will soon be available. Please keep checking or subscribe to our Abbey Community News sheet for alerts.

Special Services

Shoppers Carols
Sat 4 Dec, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm
Sat 11 Dec, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm
Sat 18 Dec, 1pm, 2pm

A popular, informal 20-minute service with traditional carols. There will be a Christmas welcome from our clergy, a solo from one of our choristers and a chance to sing aloud to popular carols.

All welcome. No reserved seating or tickets required.


Advent Sunday 28 November
5pm & 7.30pm Advent Carol Service

An atmospheric service with music sung by the Bath Abbey Choirs and readings to mark the beginning of Advent, the season of expectant waiting followed by the joyous celebration of Jesus’s birth.

Entry is by (free) ticket only. Now available via Eventbrite.

Sunday 19 December
4pm Family Carols

Children are invited to come dressed as a shepherd, angel, wise man or citizen of Bethlehem to take part in a fun retelling of the Nativity - complete with a real live donkey! Includes traditional carols and prayers.

Entry is by (free) ticket only. Now available via Eventbrite

Tuesday 21 December
7pm La Nativité - Messiaen

Come and hear Huw Williams, the Abbey’s Director of Music, perform Messiaen’s exquisite meditation on the organ, with accompanying scripture readings. All welcome, no tickets or prebooking required.

Tuesday 21 December
7.30pm St. Michael’s Carol Service

A festive evening of carols and readings at our sister church St Michael's Without, Broad Street, BA1 5LJ (opposite Waitrose). All welcome, no tickets or prebooking required.

Thursday 23 December
5pm & 7.30pm Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

A beautiful service based around nine Bible readings interspersed with Christmas hymns and carols sung by the Bath Abbey Choirs.

Entry is by (free) ticket only. Tickets available via Eventbrite.

Christmas Eve

Carol Praise 4pm and 6pm at Bath Abbey

An informal service with traditional carols including an interactive rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas - complete with actions! All welcome, no reserved seating or tickets. In previous years, the Abbey has been full to capacity, so there may be long queues so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Christingle Service 4pm at St Michael's Without, BA1 5LJ (Opposite Waitrose)

A family favourite at our sister church to start your Christmas celebration. All welcome, no reserved seating or tickets.

Midnight Communion 11pm at Bath Abbey

A joyful celebration of Christ’s birth. We welcome the Bishop of Taunton as our preacher. Please note this service is ticketed this year.

Tickets (free) available via Eventbrite.


Christmas Day

Saturday 25 December

Holy Communion 8am at Bath Abbey
Join us at this quiet hour as we draw together before the Christ-child. A beautiful service of Holy Communion, without music and using traditional language.

Church Family Communion 9.30am at Bath Abbey
Celebrate ‘God with us’ at this informal service, suitable for all ages..

Sung Eucharist for Christmas 11.30am at Bath Abbey
Celebrate with us. Traditional Christmas music with our Abbey Choirs.



Choirs & Concerts

All Night Vigil - Sergei Rachmaninov
Tuesday 23 November, 8pm

This will be an evening to remember as the Abbey girls and Lay-clerks sing the atmospheric and uplifting music written for the Russian Orthodox liturgy by Sergei Rachmaninov. Rachmaninov’s masterpiece was written in 1915 and this rich and sonorous work is written entirely for unaccompanied chorus and sung in Church Slavonic. Performed under the Museum of the Moon, and combined with the Abbey’s beautiful acoustic, this will be a hypnotic and mesmerising experience – let your hearts be drawn to heaven with the rich sonorities of one of the greatest twentieth century composers.
Director: Huw Williams, The Abbey Girls and Lay-clerks.
Tickets cost £20, £15 and £10 and are available from Bath Box Office (16s and under half price).

A Christmas Celebration with the Bath Abbey Choirs and Melody Makers
Saturday 11 December, 7pm -9pm

A festive selection of well-known Christmas classics for choir, organ and audience. To help get into the festive spirit, there will be plenty of opportunities for audience participation and to singalong. Featuring the Abbey Choir of Girls, Boys and Lay-clerks directed by Huw Williams, Director of Music, Bath Abbey, and the Abbey’s youngest Choir of 6-11 year olds, the Melody Makers directed by Bethan Dudley-Fryar. Accompanists: Peter King and David Bryson
Tickets: £18, 13, and £8 (16s and under half price), available from Bath Box Office.

A Baroque Christmas at Bath Abbey
Saturday 18 December 7pm – 9pm

Featuring Vivaldi’s Gloria and Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit. Bath Abbey’s Choirs are joined by Baroque instrumentalists Rejouissance playing on historic instruments. With carols for audience and a feast of glorious Christmas music from Venice and Paris. Directed by Huw Williams.
Tickets £20, £15 and £10 (16s and under half price), available from Bath Box Office.