A Season of Festive Events in Cambridge 2023

In Cambridge, we are lucky to have so many fabulous events and activities that take place every month but the festive season 2023 is one to look forward to.

With a rich cultural heritage, world-renowned universities, and a vibrant community, Cambridge offers an array of exciting events and activities to make the winter period truly magical. Here’s a roundup of some of the key events happening in and around Cambridge as we build up to Christmas in Cambridge 2023.


Christmas Lights Switch-On
Switch-on Date tbc

We couldn’t talk about Christmas in Cambridge without giving this community gathering a thumbs up. Kicking off the festive season, the annual Christmas Lights Switch-On event is a must-attend if you are staying in Cambridge. Gather at the Market Square to witness the city hotspot illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights. Enjoy carol singing, festive entertainment, and perhaps even a visit from Santa Claus himself. It’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

The market square is also the location of the Cambridge Christmas market where you find festive foods including mulled wine and hot chocolate as well as handmade gifts and unique decorations.


Ice Skating at the North Pole
19th November – 3rd January

The North Pole Cambridge Ice Rink is back in Parker’s Piece Park in central Cambridge, offering a winter wonderland experience. Lace up your skates and glide across the ice with the backdrop of the city’s iconic skyline. The rink is open throughout the festive season, making it a great activity for friends and families alike.

Alongside the popular ice rink, this year there are new attractions on offer including an ice bar to drink and chill (literally), there will also be more traditional, festive rides and a ride to get your pulses racing this year will be an ice slide!


Christmas Markets
Dates throughout December

Cambridge hosts several charming Christmas markets featuring the Cambridge Christmas Market on the Market Square which trades daily. There are other smaller markets that are perfect places to find unique gifts, and festive decorations including All Saints Market for your artisan gifts on Saturdays throughout December.

One of the big Christmas events in December is the Mill Road Winter Fair on 2nd December, held on Mill Road, the hub of independent traders in Cambridge. This is known as one of the biggest parties and celebrations by the local community including festive stalls, musicians, artists, and dancers.


Pantomimes and Theatre Productions
Dates throughout December

The panto season in Cambridge is popular and tickets usually sell out fast so don’t delay if you are thinking of booking. The local theatres offer a range of entertaining pantomimes and theatre productions during the festive season. Whether you’re into classic tales like Cinderella or prefer modern adaptations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Here’s our pick:

Dick Whittington and his Cat
ADC Theatre, Park Street, Cambridge CB5 8AS
22nd Nov 2023 to 2nd Dec 2023

Mother Goose
Cambridge Arts Theatre, 6 St Edward’s Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PJ
30th Nov 2023 to 7th Jan 2024

The Nutcracker (classical ballet)
Cambridge Corn Exchange – CB2 3QE
27th December to 30th December 2023

If you fancy venturing a little outside of Cambridge you will also find the following pantomimes:

Saffron Hall, Audley End Road, Saffron Walden CB11 4UH
24th Dec 2023 to 30th Dec 2023

Robin Hood
The Maltings, Ship Lane, Ely CB7 4BB
9th Dec 2023 to 2nd Jan 2024


Festive Afternoon Teas
Dates throughout December

Indulge in the quintessential British tradition of afternoon tea with a festive twist. Many of Cambridge’s historic hotels and tea rooms offer special seasonal menus with mulled wine, mince pies, and delectable treats. Venues include Parkers Tavern, Browns and for something different there is Carriages of Cambridge in Fen Drayton.


Carols and Concerts
Dates throughout December

Experience the joy of Christmas music at various carol services and concerts taking place at local churches and venues in Cambridge. Most will have information displayed outside and on websites to let you know what is going on during the month of December.

The King’s College Chapel Carol Service is renowned for its ethereal choral performances and is one of the most famous Christmas Eve services in the world. It is not easy to get tickets so check their website for details here


Holiday Workshops
Dates throughout December

Engage your creative side by participating in holiday-themed workshops. Many local arts and crafts centers offer sessions where you can create your own festive decorations and gifts.

Why not try your hand at Christmas Wreath Making with ‘What the Fleur at the Museum of Cambridge
Tue, 5 Dec, 18:00–21:00 Museum here


Winter Walks
Available at all times

Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque River Cam or through the city’s parks and gardens, such as the Botanic Garden. Enjoy the crisp winter air and beautiful scenery.

Why not even take a stroll along the backs of the colleges all the way to Grantchester and then warm up and enjoy a mulled wine in one of the pubs situated just a short stroll from the paths near the river.


Christmas Illuminations
24th November – 31st December
Wimpole Estate, Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire, SG8 0BW

Christmas 2023 is a spectacular time at Wimpole Estate which is about a 2o minute drive outside Cambridge city center.  You can experience a new after-dark Illuminations trail that will bring the estate to life with over a million twinkling lights and seasonal sounds. During the day, the Mansion House will be decorated for Christmas, with festive food and drink in the restaurant and cafés, and local choirs singing Christmas carols.


Festive Dining
Dates throughout December

Cambridge boasts a diverse culinary scene, and during the festive season, many restaurants offer special holiday menus. Whether you’re craving a traditional Christmas roast or some lighter bites, you’ll find international cuisine across the city in restaurants, hotels, and bars.

Remember groups of friends and work colleagues will be having their Christmas parties throughout December so some places may be busy or a little louder than in other months but it’s all good fun if you want to join in the celebrations.


New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Dates throughout December

Ring in the New Year in style with the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. Enjoy fireworks displays, live music, and parties at various venues throughout Cambridge.

There are lots of independent events happening across the city and many late-opening restaurants with celebratory menus and bars with extra fizz! It is important to book a reservation as Cambridge restaurants, bars, and clubs on NYE can be very busy with most tickets sold in advance.


Cambridge, with its unique blend of history and innovation, provides a magical backdrop for celebrating festive events in Cambridge. If you are staying in one of our Serviced Apartments in December, you will not be disappointed.

From twinkling lights and ice skating to carol concerts and festive dining, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy with friends and family. Make the most of your Christmas holidays in this charming city and create lasting memories during this special time of year.

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