Upside Down December

13th December 2021

Upside Down December – finding God in the chaos of Christmas and much, much more at our cathedrals this Advent.

Events, activities, advent programmes and a carol service for pets.

Gloucester Cathedral is inviting people to experience Christmas at night, the crib has been thatched at Truro Cathedral which is also hosting a Carol Service for all the emergency workers, the Chorister Elves at Bradford Cathedral are leading us on a daily Advent photo journey, and Leicester Cathedral has themed its Advent Upside Down December, in recognition of the disruption many are feeling in their lives right now.

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 launched their Advent programmes with a wide range of services, events and activities. Please check your cathedral’s individual websites for service and event times. 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.

In Leicester Cathedral there are upside down decorations, the festive trees are up-ended and there’s a feeling of disruption to chime in with its communities at this time, and as the whole cathedral prepares to move out of its building in January for the start of the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project.

The Revd Canon Emma Davies, Canon Precentor explained:

“For many of us, the experience of living through a pandemic has brought a sense of life being turned upside down. Whether it is a change in work or working patterns, the isolation from others, anxiety about the future or the loss of loved ones, it can feel as though we no longer know which way is up.

Upside down december and christmas

“Even the Cathedral is facing the turmoil of packing up and moving out in early January for the building works. For us, December is not a time to ignore all of this, but to acknowledge all the upside-down-ness of life together in this holy place. 

“God understands this kind of landscape, and the story we tell every Christmas about Jesus, the baby in the manger, promises that God is with us even in the most unpromising of circumstances.

“So, during this Upside-Down December we invite you to come to Leicester Cathedral just as you are. You will find yourself in good company with us as we journey together to find God in the chaos, alongside us in our needs and in our joy.”

Visitors can hang their prayers on trees, leave names of loved ones on the Remembering Tree and join in the usual cathedral carol services, the family crib service and other festive events.

Many of the services will also be live-streamed. Visit

Gloucester Cathedral has brought back ‘Carols on the Hour’ as well as offering visitors the chance to experience Gloucester Cathedral’s Christmas lights and decorations after dark.

Gloucester Cathedral Advent Programme

Carols on the Hour returns this Saturday (11 December) with a burst of festive praise.  You can join in carols on the hour, every hour, sung by the Choirs of Gloucester Cathedral from 11 am until 4pm.

Tickets are available to experience the beauty and wonder of the Cathedral and all its festive decorations At Night, with live music provided by Cathedral musicians and friends on Saturday 11, Friday 17, Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 December.

For tickets, go to Gloucester Cathedral’s website: where you can also see a full programme of services, concerts and events.

Bradford’s Cathedral’s star in the tower is shining across the city, their Chorister Elves are leading us a merry dance across social media with their Advent and Christmas themed #PhotoADay, and the daily Bradvent Calendar videos are back with some fresh content and surprises too. Services and events include the Christmas Fellowship with shared poetry readings, food and carols, a sing-a-long Christmas Eve carol service, Messy Cathedral Christmas where visitors are invited to dress up as their favourite animal and come together for music, crafts, drama, and food,  there’s an online Advent course and Bradford Cathedral is the star of the show as they host this year’s local BBC station’s Carol Concert.

Bradford Cathedral Christmas Tree

All services, events and resources can be found here:

Truro Cathedral announced the thatching of the crib this week, signalling the season is fully underway with a timelapse film released on their YouTube channel.

There are festive Cornish craft markets, a unique grotto and story-telling experience for all the family, as well as the key services such as Nine Lessons and Carols, Midnight Mass, Christmas Day and the much loved Truro Pets Carol Service – some of these services will be live streamed.

Please check the Truro’s What’s On page.

Please remember to check your cathedral’s individual websites for up to date service and event times. You may have to book tickets at some events to manage numbers and keep people safe.