Christmas time in Cambridge is magical: the quaint streets and historic buildings decorated with twinkly lights, cosy pubs welcoming cold visitors to sit by the roaring fire, and the chance of snow transforming the city’s parks into winter wonderlands. Try our five festive suggestions for enjoying the holiday season in Cambridge.
Parkers Piece, 18th November – 4th January (closed on 25th December)
The North Pole Cambridge is an outdoor Christmas Festival, featuring an ice-skating rink, fairground rides, an alpine lodge bar and numerous food & drink stalls. Entry to the festival is free, but you will need to pay to skate or go on the rides. If ice-skating and ferris wheels aren’t your thing, you can relax in the cosy undercover bar with a mulled wine, cider or hot chocolate, or sample the festive food including German bratwurst and fresh donuts.
Senate House Hill CB2 3PQ, 18th December
Great St Mary’s has existed in Cambridge for many hundreds of years and is the official church of Cambridge University. It has played a seminal part in the history of Cambridge and its university and even in The English Reformation. Each year the church hosts a beautiful candelit carol service to celebrate Christmas. Even for the non-religious, it’s a wonderful experience to come together with hundreds of people in such a stunning and historic setting.
Cambridge Arts Theatre, 1st December – 8th January
A pantomime (or ‘panto’ for short) is a traditional musical comedy which is performed during the Christmas and New Year period. Pantos always include singing and dancing, slapstick comedy, gender-crossing actors and audience participation. Pantomime plots are based on fairy-tales and are designed for family entertainment, but tend to include gently rude humour to keep the adults amused too. This year’s pantomime at the Cambridge Arts Theatre tells the famous story of Dick Whittington, a poor boy who travels to London with his cat to make his fortune.
City Centre and Mill Road
Giving and receiving gifts has become a major Christmas tradition. If you’d like to buy some Christmas gifts for friends and family, Cambridge has a lot to offer. Many high street stores can be found in The Grand Arcade and its vicinity, but you can also try Cambridge’s many independent shops for something a little different. Take a look down Rose Crescent, Trinity Street, Magdalene Street or King Street, browse the market, or make a trip to Mill Road to find that perfect present.
Mill Road, 3rd December
The Mill Road Winter Fair is an annual celebration of the Mill Road community. Mill Road is one of the most diverse areas of Cambridge, with an array of independent shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs. Local businesses host stalls along the street where you can buy all sorts of food, drinks and gifts; there are also street performances, art exhibitions and activities to get involved with.
Have you spent Christmas in Cambridge?
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