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 in 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 Parkers Piece. Alongside their ever-popular ice rink this year, they’re pleased to introduce some new, exciting attractions, an ice bar, more traditional, festive rides and an ice slide this year!
The North Pole is thrilled to welcome a three-lane, real ice slide – the longest in the UK!
There also will be Christmas markets, speciality food nights and a variety of festive rides – including the opportunity to soar above the park, taking in spectacular views of Cambridge and beyond, on our new Big Wheel.
All rides and food stalls are paid on-site; they are not able to be pre-booked and will accept card payments only.
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’ 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 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.
Swing into Christmas
Swing into Christmas with the Down for the Count Concert Orchestra and vocalists present a festive celebration featuring the music of Nat ‘King’ Cole, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and many more, in a luscious orchestral setting evoking the sounds of the great Capitol Studios recordings.
Expect to hear faithful recreations of the best music of the swing era including I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Let’s Face The Music and Dance and ‘S Wonderful, alongside original arrangements of jazz and festive standards written by the Orchestra’s principal conductor Mike Paul-Smith, including Winter Wonderland and The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting).
Midnight Communion at the Leper Chapel
A simple celebration of Christmas at 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 appreciated.
Christmas events at Wandlebury Country Park
Nurture yourself this Christmas by connecting to nature and your own creativity at Wandlebury Park. Calm Christmas is one of these events and this previously popular event is back in 2021. Storytelling, Christmas yoga and most importantly a bit of calm time before the big day.
This is only one of the festive events at Wandlebury. Head over to our What’s on Agenda to learn more about their events.
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?
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.