Christmas Carols in Cambridge

Celebrate the Festive Season: A 2023 Guide

Discover the Magic of Carols in Cambridge

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and there’s no better place to embrace the festive spirit than in the historic city of Cambridge. Renowned for its rich tapestry of traditions and musical heritage, Cambridge offers a variety of Christmas carol events to celebrate this joyous time of the year. From the warmth of candlelit chapels to the unique experience of carols along the River Cam, join us as we explore the enchanting world of Christmas caroling in Cambridge.

Choir of St John’s Christmas Concert 

Kicking off the yuletide celebrations is the enchanting Christmas Concert by the Choir of St John’s College. As we start Cambridge’s Chritsmas caroling extravaganza, prepare to be astounded by the esteemed choir of St John’s.

Renowned as one of the best collegiate choirs in the world, alongside the famous King’s College Choir, the choir of St John’s never fails to deliver a mesmerising performance. With a history dating back many decades, their harmonious renditions have been broadcast all over the world.

On December 1st, head to the historic St John’s College Chapel and let the angelic voices of the choir create a winter wonderland of melodies. This is the perfect way to start the season on a high note. You can buy tickets now for £12 per person.

Carols by Candlelight at Kings College Chapel

Sunset on King's College Chapel

On December 3rd, the enchanting King’s College Chapel in Cambridge will come alive with the harmonious “Kings Voices” in the annual “Carols by Candlelight” charity concert. This heartwarming tradition is organised by The Fine & Country Foundation, as well as offering a unique opportunity to celebrate the holiday season inside one of the most beautiful and iconic landmarks in the city.

The “carols by candlelight” event is more than a concert; a meaningful tradition that brings together the local community and the academic world. This year, the money raised will continue to support the homeless charities, including Emmaus Cambridge, Jimmy’s Cambridge, Wintercomfort, and Cambridge Cyrenians. These four dedicated charities will receive all proceeds from the concert. In 2022, the carols by candlelight raised an incredible £17,000 for charity!

This celebration will be hosted in the famous Kings College Chapel, known for its breathtaking beauty – especially during the holiday season when adorned in magnificent decorations and illuminated by candles. The atmosphere within its historic walls is nothing short of magical, making it the perfect venue for your Christmas carols event.

Tickets start at £19.12 per person.

Christmas Carols on the River

Christmas Carols on the Ruver with Let's Go Punting!

Embark on a captivating festive journey with our beloved “Carols on the River” – a cherished annual charity event that captures the essence of Christmas in Cambridge. Picture yourself on December 9th, 2023, at 2:15 pm, setting sail on a serene excursion along the meandering River Cam. This is not just any tour; it’s an enchanting voyage where the historic waters of Cambridge become your concert hall, and the skyline of storied colleges forms your backdrop.

As your punt glides effortlessly through the tranquil waters, the air will be filled with the melodious voices of the St John the Evangelist Choir. Their harmonious caroling, a blend of traditional Christmas hymns and beloved classics, will echo against the ancient walls of the college backs, creating a truly immersive and heartwarming experience. Imagine the soft strains of “Silent Night” or the joyful chorus of “Jingle Bells” accompanying you as you drift past the iconic sights of Cambridge.

Warm blankets and snuggly winter wear will set the scene for this experience. And the best part? 100% of ticket sales will be donated to Tom’s Trust, a cause dedicated to supporting children with brain tumours and their families. Last year we raised an immense £830 for Cambridge Aid and this year we are set to make it a record amount! Your participation not only promises a memorable experience but also contributes to a meaningful cause.

Whether youre looking for a row of up to 3 seats, a section of up to 6 seats, or a private boat for up to 12 seats, we have ticket options available for you.

A row of Seats on a shared tour (Max 3 people): £55

A section on a shared tour (Max 6 people): £100

Private Boat – (Max 12 people): £185

Don’t miss out and make sure you reserve your place soon! Christmas Carols on the River is back for its fifth year, and promises to be a truly special evening for all.

Can’t Join Us? Support from Afar!

If you’re unable to join us for the event but still wish to contribute, we have set up a dedicated fundraising page for Tom’s Trust. Your donations, big or small, can make a significant difference in the lives of these children and their families. Find the link to our fundraising page here and join us in spreading the joy and hope of the season.

Christmas Carols at Leper Chapel

On December 10th, the Leper Chapel Cambridge is opening its doors for an evening of festive joy. In one of the oldest buildings in the city, the traditional English church is offering two caroling sessions after such popular demand! The Leper Chapel sets the stage for an enchanting crisp December evening.

As you sing along to beloved Christmas carols, the festive tunes come to life, thanks to the brass band, creating an atmosphere of true delight. And of course, no Christmas gathering would be complete without some delicious treats! Mulled wine and mince pies will be served, adding to the cosy ambiance.

The event is completely free but make sure you remember to reserve your place so you dont miss out! Donations throughout the service are welcomed.

Swing into Christmas 

Get ready to celebrate the season in style as the vocalists and instrumentalists of Down for the count Orchestra present “Swing into Christmas”. This show is touring all over the UK this December, but stops in Cambridge on December 15th for your own performance! This Christmas celebration will be held in West Road Concert Hall, offering a less religious version of the Christmas carols.

Immerse yourself in the magic, while they play recreations of Nat ‘King’ Cole, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. The 30-peice orchestra will transport you to the golden age of swing! Down for the Count orchestra is renowned as the UKs most highly regarded vintage ensembles, captivating the audiences of places like Ronnie Scott’s. Now, they return to West Road Concert Hall. Grab your family and friends, and let the orchestra take you away, blending timeless classics with unique charm and musical genius. What better way to swing into the season?

A festival of nine lessons and carols

Kings College Chapel stained glass window - A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Celebrate Christmas Eve with the timeless tradition of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College Chapel. Established in 1918, the service has captivated audiences for over 100 years.

Held in the iconic King’s College Chapel, the service features biblical readings, opening with the classic ‘Once in a Royal David’s City’. Approximately half of the tickets are made available to the public through an annual ballot for free. Those fortunate enough to secure a seat are treated to a magical evening of tradition and festivity.

Distinct from the pre-recorded ‘Carols at King’s’ broadcast on Christmas eve, the live Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols provides an authentic, immersive experience.

Elevate Your Day with Traditional Punting Company

As the sun sets on your magical day of Christmas carols, why not elevate your day out in cambridge with one of the most unique things to do – a winter punting tour with Traditional Punting Company! Dont miss the opportunity to glide along the river on an enchanting winter punting tour, enoying the uninterrupted idyllic views of Cambridge University. On this Visit England Accredited 50-minute river tour you will journey through 7 of the iconic Cambridge University Colleges, including King’s College and Trinity College. An expert chauffeur will push your traditional punt along the river, whilst introducing you to all the history and tales of Cambridge.

From family adventures with the Winter Punt and Hunt to romantic escapades with private punts featuring champagne and picnics, or a get-together with friends, Christmas punting in Cambridge will cater to every festive occasion.

Christmas winter punting with Traditional Punting Company - Magdalene Bridge

Posted on November 17th, 2023, by the Traditional Punting Company Editor