Get a fix of festive cheer with these Christmas-in-Cambridge essentials
1. North Pole Skating
It’s become a mainstay of winter in the last decade, and now that it’s no longer exposed to the elements thanks to a new transparent roof, you’ve no excuse not to don your skates and cut through the Christmas rush to relax on the Parker’s Piece rink. Après skate, retreat to the Alpine Cabin bar for bratwursts, steaming cups of hot chocolate with marshmallows and mulled wine or cider. It’s open until 5 January .
2. Mill Road Winter fair
A fab, people-packed treat for festive shoppers, curious foodies and fans of live music on 7 December. Most of Mill Road is transformed into a car-free zone through which a parade and demonstrations entertain thousands of visitors, who are then tempted to feast on more than one of an incredible range of street food options. Arts and crafts stalls are packed with tempting gift ideas too. Read more here
3. Christmas Shows
You’re never far from a festive show in Cambridge. This year the Arts Theatre is staging Cinderella, featuring the returning Wayne Sleep and Liza Goddard, until 11 January. Moving away from a traditional panto, Cambridge Junction hosts Wind in the Willows, an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza, perfect for anyone who loves, hates or is ambivalent about Christmas. From 11 December to 5 January. There’s also a special version of The Nutcracker in store at Saffron Hall.
4. Winter punting
It may sound mad to some, but what better way to retreat from the Christmas shopping crowds than a punt on the Cam, wrapped up blankets and sipping on mulled wine? Sure, the sights are stunning in summer, but glittering with frost or snow on a perfectly still and quiet river, they can be even more so. Most of the major punting companies operate throughout the winter season and will happily supply blankets, brollies, and even hot water bottles, to keep you cosy.
5. Christmas afternoon tea
Indulge in Parker’s Tavern’s eye-popping Christmas afternoon tea. Starting with savouries such as crayfish pastry boats and sausage rolls, you will move on to sandwiches, before scones with clotted cream, lemon curd or jam. Sugar-dusted creations round off the tea, including snowman macarons and PT’s take on Ferrero Rocher.