Cathedrals at Christmas

26th November 2021

Our cathedrals are preparing to be a space for hope and joy this Advent in preparation and anticipation of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

Hope and joy in preparation and anticipation of the Christ child – Cathedrals at Christmas

Many of our cathedrals will start the season with a traditional Advent procession this Saturday or Sunday, moving from darkness into light in preparation for the Christmas story.

Please check your cathedral’s individual website for service times. Tickets may be required at some highlight services to help our cathedrals manage numbers and keep people safe.


York Minster will raise its Advent wreath indicating the start of its programme of events and services for Christmas which includes the premiere of a new piece of music written especially to mark the £2m refurbishment of its Grand Organ which will be heard at the Minster’s Advent Procession this Sunday.

York’s Advent programme includes seasonal favourites including Carol Concerts and its Crib Service, and new events, including its first Christmas Tree Festival and a Winter Village by the stonemason’s yard. York also has a programme of worship online for its growing digital audience to join in with from the comfort of their own homes.

The Dean of York, the Very Revd Jonathan Frost said:

“Christians are those who live with a story in their hearts, a story that is told and retold as the seasons of the year unfold.

“It is a joy to anticipate, once again, the coming season of Advent. Here we will pause to prepare ourselves to hear the wonder-filled story of God’s down-to-earth love in Mary’s Child; and to take our place within His story.

“I look forward to welcoming most warmly all those who visit the Minster in the days ahead. After months of lockdown and restrictions, may I commend the many different events, opportunities and services that will be provided by the Minster team and our partners,’ he said.


There will be two Advent Carol Services this Saturday and Sunday at St Paul’s Cathedral as it starts the season with a candlelit procession moving from darkness to light as words and music help to focus on the Advent themes of light in darkness, hope in despair and a new relationship with God in Christ.

St Paul’s’ programme includes the famous Sankta Lucia Swedish Christmas Service, Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, in-conversation evenings and other Advent resources, and the lighting of the Christmas Tree and Blessing of the Crib. The MS Society Christmas Concert in St Paul’s Cathedral will feature new poems from the author Alexander McCall Smith and an exclusive performance by the Royal Ballet.

St Paul’s Advent and Christmas events here.


Canterbury Cathedral will launch its Advent programme this Sunday with an Advent Carol Service with music, readings, and the lighting of candles, as it moves from darkness to light in the expectation of Christ’s coming. Its busy programme includes carol services, concerts, family days out, Christingle with family Christingle workshops, and the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will give the Christmas Day Eucharist.

The Cathedral has just launched its Christmas Card Competition to find Canterbury Cathedral’s Christmas Card 2022 – deadline 31 December 2021.

Winchester Cathedral has announced a return to its Christmas services and festive activities including the installation of the huge Christmas tree in the Nave, a schedule of carol services, a special screening of The Snowman and the return of its famous Christmas Market which opened last week.

It will start the season with its Advent Procession, a service of darkness and light to celebrate the start of Advent which will take place this Saturday. There will be traditional carol services, with music sung by the Cathedral Choir and traditional Christmas readings on Monday 20th, Tuesday 21st and Thursday 23rd.

And on Christmas Eve, the The Big Dress Up Nativity returns!

For the full schedule of Christmas Services, please click here.

For all cathedral event, tap the button below.

Cathedral Events Calendar - What's On


(Image credit – Ash Mills, Salisbury cathedral)