Christmas is back at Wakefield Cathedral with carols by candlelight, concerts and children's party

After Covid curtailed plans for many people’s Christmas in 2020, Wakefield Cathedral is delighted to share its upcoming programme of events and services for the festive season.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:03 pm
After Covid curtailed plans for many people’s Christmas in 2020, Wakefield Cathedral is delighted to share its upcoming programme of events and services for the festive season. (Photo Andrew Benge)

Throughout December there is something for everyone, from Carols by Candlelight, Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir, concerts and family activities.

Here's what's on and when:

Return of Carols by Candlelight

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The cathedral’s most popular ticketed event of Christmas is Carols by Candlelight, a fabulous evening of carols and Christmas music featuring the cathedral choir, with mince pies, mulled wine and plenty of festive cheer to go around.

The event is regularly sold out year on year and 2021 sees the first time that the cathedral will host two of these events – Friday 17 December and Wednesday 22 December – both starting from 7.30pm. Tickets on sale now.

There will be plenty of opportunities for visitors to attend a number of free carol services throughout the coming weeks too, with the Mayor’s Civic Carol Service (15 December) and City Carols (21 December) amongst the plethora of events in the calendar.

Wakefield Hospice will be hosting two “Light up a Life” services at the cathedral once again this year on Sunday December 5, both of which are already fully booked, giving people the opportunity to remember loved ones by dedicating a light on the Tree of Lights.

Seasonal Concerts

As well as the cathedrals own events, a number of choirs will also be hosting their annual Christmas concerts again this year after missing out on the opportunity in 2020.

Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir (11 December), Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir (18 December) and Ackworth Community Choir (20 December) are all lined up to perform their festive concerts at the cathedral.

Fun for the family

A number of the concerts and events listed above are aimed at the whole family but Wakefield Cathedral will also be hosting Messy Cathedral (11 December, a fun-filled morning of family activities including arts and crafts, singing and story-telling) and a Children’s Christmas Party (18 December, featuring games and activities plus a special visit from Santa himself), the perfect opportunity for children of all ages to join in the festive fun.

Christmas Eve onwards

On Friday 24 December the Christingle and Crib service will take place at 3pm, a popular service to bring the whole family along to featuring the story of Christmas, plenty of carol singing and of course enough oranges and candles to go around too. (Why not visit the Cathedral Kitchen beforehand, with a special Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings being provided from 1pm at just £10 per person – pre-booking recommended to avoid disappointment).

This is followed by a Service of Lessons and Carols at 6.30pm, sharing lessons and short readings from the Bible interspersed with carols sung by the Cathedral Choir (again a well-attended service) before Midnight Mass, beginning at 11pm where the public is invited to welcome in Christmas Day and honour Jesus’s birth alongside the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines.

Christmas Day sees the Area Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Toby Howarth, visit Wakefield Cathedral to celebrate the Festal Eucharist (10am) with Boxing Day hosting a Eucharist for the Feast of St Stephen (10am).

The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd Simon Cowling, said: “Christmas is always a special and fulfilling time at Wakefield Cathedral, with a large number of events, services and commitments keeping us all very busy throughout the next month or so.

“The last two years have presented us all with some of the most difficult and challenging situations for generations and we are privileged once again to be able to bring the communities of Wakefield together this Christmas in our cathedral over the coming weeks.

“The Christmas of 2021 will be remembered in coming years for so many different reasons; the last two years have had an impact of every single person, directly or indirectly, and this Christmas feels like an opportunity to share our stories, to listen and to provide comfort and joy to our loved ones.

“At Christmas we come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and to give thanks for the hope he brings to the world; it is this hope which has helped so many people through the recent challenges which the pandemic has brought and it is this hope which we can all take forward into the new year, hoping for a brighter year ahead.

“All of us at Wakefield Cathedral wish you and your family a blessed, safe and peaceful Christmas and we look forward to seeing many of you coming through the cathedral doors in the coming weeks.”

For further information about the Christmas schedule at Wakefield Cathedral, including purchasing tickets for any events and full service times please visit or call 01924 373923.