Get into the swing of Christmas with these events
From glittering Christmas lights and ice skating on Parkers Piece to festive markets and shows, Cambridge is a Christmas wonderland. A perfect excuse to visit one of the oldest university cities in the world.
Take a stroll through the cobbled streets and along Kings Parade, admire the pretty festive lights and decorated windows, and get the most out of your time in Cambridge with our festive guide. Just search for Christmas events in the category field.
Switching on of the Christmas lights in Cambridge
One of the highlights of the festive season is switching on of the Christmas lights on 19 November. It marks the start of the Christmas celebrations.
The North Pole at Parkers Piece
Every Year, Cambridge welcomes The North Pole ice skating rink on Parker’s Piece. Alongside their ever-popular ice rink this year. Unfortunately, there will be no Christmas activities here this year. A new company has been found to take on this event, but we have to wait till Winter 2024.
A Christmas Carol at the Leper Chapel
Get a chance to see A Christmas Carol the way Dickens performed it himself: one man, one stage. Playing over 20 characters, Martin Prest brings Charles Dickens’s timeless story of redemption to life.
Miserly and unrepentant Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, one fateful Christmas Eve. Marley warns Scrooge that he will be haunted by three spirits and that, without their help, he will be condemned.
Through the course of the night, he is shown his Past, his Present and his Future by these spirits. He learns how his actions affect those around him and, also, how they have been affecting his own life. As popular now as when it was first published in 1843, this captivating seasonal tale has the feel-good factor of a roast Christmas dinner and presents under the tree. The perfect start to any Christmas.
Christmas Carols at the Leper Chapel
One of Cambridge’s best-kept secrets! Christmas Carols by candlelight and the story of Christmas on the 12th of December in the wonderfully atmospheric Leper Chapel, followed by refreshments. Led by Christ the Redeemer Church with the Cottenham Brass Band.
This year’s new carol continues a tradition begun in 1983 by Sir Stephen Cleobury, with a new carol written for the popular Christmas Eve service every year since, except for 2020. There is no rose is commissioned by King’s College with support from the late Lucian Nethsingha, in whose memory the commission is written.
The new carol for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve 2021 is a setting by Cecilia McDowall of There is no rose. McDowall is a multi-award-winning British composer, known particularly for her choral work, and who was most recently awarded the Ivor Novello Award for her ‘consistently excellent body of work’.
King’s College’s Director of Music, Daniel Hyde, asked McDowall to write something that would bring ‘a moment of stillness’ in the Christmas Eve service, giving her freedom to choose her own text.
Winter Wonderland with Prime Brass
Once again, popular ensemble Prime Brass presents its special brand of music making in a new one-hour concert for all the family. For young and old alike and ideal for families, this is the perfect start to the festive season in what is now a firm Cambridge tradition.
Get into the Christmas spirit, wear your brightest Christmas jumper and join us in a Winter Wonderland! Highlights will include features from our friends Junior Prime Brass and choirs Tongue Twisters and Harston & Newton Primary School. The hour-long programme will feature Christmas favourites, old and new, with fun and festive music for all the family.
The program features a range of new and old Christmas favourites, including Carol of the Bells by Mykola Leontovych, Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt, Believe from Polar Express by Josh Groban, Swing into Christmas, and many, many more!!
Midnight Communion at the Leper Chapel
A simple celebration of Christmas in a wonderfully atmospheric setting at the Leper Chapel. The Communion, by candlelight with carols at the smallest church in Cambridge.
The Cambridge Leper Chapel, also known as the Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, is one of the oldest complete surviving buildings in Cambridge. This 12th century Romanesque building was originally the chapel of an isolation hospital caring for people with leprosy and is Grade 1 Listed.
The building has 900 years of fascinating history – at various times, it has been a place of worship, a bar and a warehouse! It owes its survival to its connection with the Stourbridge medieval fair, one of the largest in Europe.
The Chapel is not usually open but is used for community and cultural events. All are welcome. Free event, donations are appreciated.
Christmas events at Wandlebury Country Park
Nurture yourself this Christmas by connecting to nature by taking a stroll through Wandlebury Park, located on the Gog Magog Hills, just south of Cambridge. This beautiful countryside estate offers miles of wonderful walks through woodland and wildflower meadows grazed by Highland Cattle.
Festive Christmas markets
The Cambridge Christmas Markets showcase amazing products from local artisans, crafters and makers. Shoppers can find unique local gifts here. Where to find these Christmas markets?
Mill Road Winter Fair
Join the biggest party in Cambridge, the Mill Road Winter Fair, on the first Saturday of December.
Mill Road Winter Fair is a celebration of the community along one of Cambridge’s most diverse and vibrant roads. Usually held on the first Saturday of December, the Fair brings together local businesses and organisations, shops and stallholders, musicians, artists and dancers in one day of festival joy.
Find unique gifts at independent shops
We can be proud of the vast number of independent shops in Cambridge. Unfortunately, these lovely shops are often hard to find as they’re tucked away in alleyways and a bit further away from Kings Parade, close to Mill Road. Here are our favourite indie shops in Cambridge.
Enjoy the festive season and don’t forget to check out our What’s on Agenda, the Cambridge portal for what’s happening in Cambridge.