Cathedrals At the Heart of Christmas

14th December 2021

BBC 2’s winner of Young Chorister of the Year will sing her Christmas Carol solo for visitors to Guildford Cathedral this Advent, Norwich Cathedral has installed a Tree of Remembrance for people to hang stars in memory of loved ones, and Bury St Edmunds Cathedral has joined in a city-wide Trees of Hope initiative and will hold a Longest Night service this Sunday for all those who find Christmas a difficult time of year.

These are just some of the ways you can experience this special season with our Cathedrals back at the heart of Christmas.

All our cathedrals have varied Advent programmes with a wide range of services, events and activities. Please check your cathedral’s individual website for service and event times.  Face-coverings are now mandatory in our cathedrals unless you are exempt, tickets may be required at some highlight services to help our cathedrals manage numbers and keep people safe, and many of our services will be livestreamed.

Visitors to Guildford Cathedral’s Lessons and Carols Service this Sunday and again on Christmas Day are in for a treat as this year’s Young Chorister of the Year winner, their very own chorister, Ruby, will perform her winning Christmas Carol solo ‘The Shepherds Sing’

Cathedrals at the Heart Of Christmas Ruby

The piece, by renowned composer and former Kings singer, Bob Chilcott, was specially re-arranged for Ruby’s voice after she chose it as her Christmas carol piece for the final of the BBC Radio 2 and Songs of Praise Young Chorister of the Year.

This year, Guildford Cathedral and its Diocesan Education Team have teamed up to create two Advent Calendars and the Schools’ Christmas Art Exhibition entitled,  ‘Everyone is Welcome’.

Cathedrals at the Heart Of Christmas Everybody is Welcome

The theme was specifically chosen to remind us that everyone is welcome to the stable for the birth of Jesus, that we are all loved by God, and that one of our primary callings is to treat everyone we meet with love, kindness, compassion, and fairness.

These themes can be seen in the Bible verses displayed in the Cathedral Advent Calendar boxes found dotted around the building, and also on their online Advent calendar shared on the Cathedral’s Facebook

All Guildford’s Advent services and events can be found here:

In Bury St Edmunds, over 400 baubles filled with wishes of hope for the future have been placed on trees – including the Cathedral’s Christmas tree – as part of the Trees of Hope project for babies born during the pandemic.

The project has seen individually named decorative ornaments placed on trees at Angel Hill, St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the Traverse and the Theatre Royal – with around 50 baubles decorating the Christmas tree inside the cathedral.

Cathedrals at the Heart Of Christmas - Bury St Edmonds

Inside the message of one bauble a mother wrote to her child, “you were born in lockdown, may you always be free.”

Bury St Eds Cathedral is also taking part in the nationwide Doorstep Carols this week,  and on Sunday (19 Dec) it will hold the Longest Night Christmas Service, a quiet reflective service with carols and music in support of those who find Christmas a difficult time of year.

Find out all Bury St Edmunds advent programme here.

In Norwich, there are Carols in the Cloister, Christmas Processions and the Christmas Eve Crib Service, where children are invited to dress as characters from the Nativity – all part of the Cathedral’s packed Advent programme culminating in a New Year’s Day organ concert, by cathedral organist, David Dunnett.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said:

“After a very different Christmas in 2020 due to the pandemic, we are delighted to be able to welcome more people to the Cathedral this year to celebrate Advent and Christmas and to see the return of much-loved events such as our choirs’ festive concerts.

“Our Advent Procession and the blessing of the outdoor crib at our Advent Open Evening were both wonderful ways to begin this festive season and we hope people of all ages will enjoy visiting the Cathedral at this most special time of year, whether it is to attend one of our many special services and events or simply to enjoy spending time in the Cathedral’s beautiful surroundings.”

Cathedrals at the Heart Of Christmas - Norwich Cathedral

For all the latest information about services and events at Norwich Cathedral, visit

Please check individual cathedral websites for latest up to date information. 

Photo Credits: Ruby – Tricia Yourkevich BBC Copyright, Norwich – Bill Smith

Cathedral Events Calendar - What's On