Winter in Cambridge
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Winter in Cambridge

Ready for cosy season? Prepare with our guide to the best seasonal attractions and festive fun in the city.

Rainy Day Fun

A chilly winter’s day is the perfect opportunity to explore Cambridge’s world-class collection of museums and art galleries. Nature lovers will enjoy a trip to the Museum of Zoology at Downing Place, which displays thousands of specimens large and small, from the tiniest of insects to giant sloths and a huge whale skeleton. With a collection spanning more than two million items, it’s easy to lose an afternoon here. Other must-sees include the Fitzwilliam – which boasts an impressive arts and antiquities collection housed in a spectacular neo-classical building – and the Museum of Cambridge, where you can learn about the history and heritage of the city through the stories and belongings of its residents over the past 300 years.

The North Pole

Cambridge is a city for all seasons, but it’s especially fun at Christmas time! Dive into the festivities with a visit to the North Pole Cambridge, a seasonal attraction running each year between November and January on Parker’s Piece. With a huge ice rink, rides, stalls and a bar, it’s guaranteed to get you in the seasonal spirit, offering a perfect afternoon or evening out for all ages. 

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Christmas Shows

The city’s theatre scene goes into overdrive during the Christmas countdown, with traditional pantomimes, beautiful ballets and fun family shows. Top picks include Cambridge Arts Theatre’s annual panto, a glittering spectacle complete with dames, villains, and audience participation aplenty, which runs right the way through the festive period. Other seasonal stalwarts include the Corn Exchange’s stunning ballet shows, the laugh-a-minute Footlights Christmas show at the ADC, and Cambridge Junction’s colourful, family-friendly festive offering.

Lights

The city’s ‘big switch on’ of the Christmas lights takes place during November each year, featuring celeb guests and all kinds of entertainment, from choirs to buskers. Heralding the start of Christmas shopping season, it’s a cockle-warming spectacle which attracts thousands to the Market Square. Other unmissable light displays include the much-loved Winter Lights at Anglesey Abbey and Christmas at Wimpole, offering a chance to see the grounds of these stunning stately homes animated with amazing light trails, music and attractions (booking essential).

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Did you know?

One of the most famous figures in English history, Oliver Cromwell, was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey, but his decapitated head is buried in the grounds of Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge. Grisly but true!