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Advent and Christmas at Bristol Cathedral

9th November 2017

Categories: Latest News

Christmas is always a busy time in a Cathedral calendar and for Bristol Cathedral, 2017 is no exception. The journey to Christmas will be marked with a variety of different events, services and concerts, all of which celebrate the journey from darkness to light, including a new service especially for babies and toddlers, an appearance by John Telfer from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers and the second year of Shoppers’ Carols, following its successful launch last year.

Preparation for Christmas begins at 6pm on Sunday 3 December with the annual Advent Procession. The building begins in complete darkness and slowly fills with candlelight in one of the most visually dramatic services of the year.

Advent Sacred Space is a beautiful, calm opportunity to experience led meditation and reflection with live Taize chant in a candlelit Cathedral. This hour-long service takes place at 6pm on Sunday 10 December, is open to everyone and will be followed by mince pies and mulled wine.

On Friday 15 and Saturday 16, the Cathedral celebrates its wonderful choir, as they perform their annual Carols by Candlelight concert, which this year will also feature festive readings by popular actor John Telfer (BBC Radio 4 The Archers). Tickets are on sale from Opus 13 and are selling fast.

On Sunday 17, the whole family are invited to share in a special afternoon Family Carol Service around the Christmas crib – children and parents are welcome to come dressed up as a character from the nativity and there will be a special guest appearance from Charlie the donkey! This year, the Cathedral is also introducing a brand new informal service especially for families with toddlers. Join us on Wednesday 22 December at 10am for Toddler Carols and sing your favourite Christmas tunes while moving around the Cathedral with no worry about noise or wrigglers.

Drop into the Cathedral at 5.15pm on Tuesday 19 December for a moment of calm amongst the busy-ness of the season with the short Shoppers’ Carols. This service was introduced last year and attracted over 250 people – all are very welcome.

The traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols is a highlight of the Cathedral’s year and there are two opportunities for visitors to attend this very special service – Friday 23 December at 6pm and Christmas Eve at 3.30pm. Both of these services are very busy – visitors are advised to arrive an hour in advance. The beginning of Christmas will be marked with the Eucharist of Christmas Night at 11pm on Christmas Eve and celebrated at the 10am Festival Eucharist on Christmas Day morning.

Bristol Cathedral comes alive at Advent and Christmas, with the gentle light of flickering candles reflected in polished brass and the twinkling tree lights catching the history of ancient stones. This year offers a rich programme of services and concerts to help celebrate the season. The Revd Canon Nicola Stanley, Canon Precentor

For all details of events happening over Christmas at the Cathedral and for information about tickets, please visit

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