York Minster is preparing to mark Advent and Christmas with a series of new services and events for 2021 alongside seasonal favourites and a programme of worship online.
The cathedral’s annual Christmas Carol Concerts will return on 9 and 10 December as well as popular seasonal services including the Advent Procession (28 November), Nine Lessons and Carols (22 and 24 December) and the Crib service (24 December).
New events for this year include the Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival, which will take place in a marquee in the cathedral’s grounds, and a Winter Village by the South Piazza, with wooden chalets offering seasonal food, drinks and gifts.
Also returning this winter is family favourite The Snowman, which will be screened inside the Minster for the first time since 2017.
Capacities inside the cathedral will remain limited and free tickets will need to be booked in advance for all highlight services, with tickets released during October and November (see full details below).
Dean Jonathan said: “Christians are those who live with a story in their hearts, a story that is told and retold as the seasons of the year unfold. It is a joy to anticipate, once again, the coming season of Advent. Here we will pause to prepare ourselves to hear the wonder-filled story of God’s down-to-earth love in Mary’s Child; and to take our place within His story.
“I look forward to welcoming most warmly all those who visit the Minster in the days ahead. After months of lockdown and restrictions, may I commend the many different events, opportunities and services that will be provided by the Minster team and our partners.
“Capacities will continue to be limited inside the cathedral to help us safely manage visitor numbers and free tickets will need to be booked in advance for all highlight services.
“During the pandemic we have seen our online audiences grow as people choose to connect with us in new and different ways and we will be offering a programme of digital worship alongside the activity in the cathedral so people can also join us from the comfort of their homes.”
The cathedral will be open for sightseeing throughout November and December but may need to close from time to time for services and events – please check its website for opening times and to book admission tickets.
The Minster Shops inside the cathedral and at 9 Minster Gates will also be open daily from 9.30am – 5pm offering a range of bespoke gifts inspired by the cathedral alongside seasonal items including nativity sets and advent calendars and candles.
For full details of York Minster’s programme for Advent and Christmas see below or visit www.yorkminster.org.
The York Minster Christmas Tree Festival
18 November 2021 to 6 January 2022, 10am – 7pm
Experience the Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival set in the cathedral’s grounds. The new festival will take place in a festive marquee by the South Piazza and feature around 40 trees decorated by local businesses, schools and charities.
Visitors can vote for their favourite tree in the ‘best dressed tree’ competition and visit the activity marquee to write their own Christmas message on a tag to add to a tree there or inside the cathedral’s East End. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. No pre-booking required.
The Winter Village at York Minster
18 November 2021 – 6 January 2022, 10am – 7pm
The Winter Village at York Minster brings the best of both location and local produce to this brand new event. Situated at the foot of the majestic South Door of York Minster, The Winter Village comprises several decorative wooden cabins offering food, drinks, gifts and the perfect place to sit and admire the view. The Winter Village, which is being run in partnership with CMJ Events, will be open daily from 10am to 7pm. Entry is free.
Christmas Tree Decorations craft workshop
Saturday 20 November, 10am – 3pm
Create your own special Christmas tree decoration to take home at a family-friendly craft activity workshop as part of York Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival. The craft sessions will run throughout the day in a festive activity marquee by the cathedral’s South Piazza, with the medieval Minster as its backdrop. Tickets cost £2.50 per participant and need to be pre-booked in advance at www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01905 557200. Tickets will be available from 10am on Tuesday 12 October.
Evensong: Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata 140, Sleepers, wake
Sunday 21 November, 4pm
The Choir of York Minster gives its traditional annual performance of Bach’s popular Cantata 140, ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ (Sleepers, wake), with orchestral accompaniment at Evensong for the Sunday before Advent. No booking required. This service will also be livestreamed via www.yorkminster.org.
Online wreath making tutorial
Friday 26 November to Thursday 6 January
Learn how to create the perfect festive wreath in the comfort of your own home with this new online tutorial from York Minster’s Head Flower Arranger Mandy Barker. The free tutorial will be available via www.yorkminster.org.
Sunday 28 November, 5.30pm
An atmospheric and breath-taking candlelit service of music, readings and prayers for Advent, in celebration and anticipation of the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Free tickets will need to be booked in advance for this service and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 19 October at www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 557200. The service will also be livestreamed via the Minster website for those who would like to mark the start of Advent from the comfort of their own home.
Sankta Lucia: Festival of Light
Friday 3 December, 7.30pm
An atmospheric, candlelit procession and carol service for all the family based on the traditional Swedish Lucia celebration. The service is run in partnership with the York Anglo-Scandinavian Society. Free tickets will need to be booked in advance for this service and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 26 October at www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 557200.
Experience Christmas Together
Saturdays 4 and 18 December, 10am and 1.30pm
This special family session is led by the cathedral’s clergy and encourages participants to explore the Christmas story through interactive stops around the Minster. The sessions are free but tickets need to be booked in advance and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 19 October at www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 557200.
Experience Christmas Trail
Saturday 4 December to Thursday 6 January, 9.30am – 4pm
Discover more about the Christmas story by exploring six activity stops hidden around the Minster. Families can follow a special trail with items to look at, touch, smell and discuss at each point. There will also be interpretation encouraging adult visitors to spend time reflecting on what each stop tells us about the Christmas story. Free with admission.
York Minster’s Christmas Carol Concerts
Thursday 9 and Friday 10 December, 7pm
York Minster’s popular Christmas Carol Concerts return this year offering the perfect start to the festive season. The Choir of York Minster, one of the UK’s leading choirs, will perform traditional and much loved Christmas music, with seasonal readings from special guests and the chance for the audience to join in with carols. Tickets for the concerts priced at £15 - £30 will go on sale at 10am on Tuesday 12 October via www.yorkminster.org or by calling the cathedral’s Box Office on 01904 557200.
Christmas Wreath making workshop
Saturday 11 December, 1pm – 3pm
Join the Minster’s flower arrangers for a masterclass in creating the perfect Christmas wreath for your home. The workshop will take place in our activity marquee which forms part of York Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival in the cathedral’s grounds.
Tickets cost £25 per person and will be available to book from 10am on Tuesday 12 October at www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 557200.
Saturday 11 December with performances at 12.30pm, 3pm and 7.30pm
Make it a Christmas to remember with a special screening of family favourite The Snowman accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra. Presented by Carrot Productions, the world’s leading performers of The Snowman film with live orchestra, the performance will also include the story and music of The Bear and the Piano, complete with an exclusive big screen animation and narration recorded by Joanna Lumley.
Tickets are available now via www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 557200.
Nine Lessons and Carols
Wednesday 22 December, 5.30pm and Friday 24 December, 4pm
Two services consisting of nine special readings, carols sung by the Choir of York Minster and hymns for everyone to join in. A traditional Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Free tickets for both services need to be booked in advance and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 2 November via www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 557200.
The service on Friday 24 December at 4pm will also be livestreamed via the Minster website.
Christmas Eve services - Friday 24 December
Join York Minster’s worship for Christmas Eve at the cathedral or from the comfort of your home.
• 11.30am: Crib Service – a traditional and popular service for all the family. Free tickets will need to be booked in advance and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 9 November.
• 4pm: Nine Lessons and Carols – the second of two services consisting of nine special readings, carols sung by the Choir of York Minster and hymns for everyone to join in. Free tickets will need to be booked in advance and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 2 November. This service will also be livestreamed at www.yorkminster.org.
• 11.30pm: First Eucharist of Christmas (Midnight Mass) – A Sung Eucharist with Carols.Free tickets will need to be booked in advance and will be available from 10am on Tuesday 9 November.
To book tickets visit www.yorkminster.org or call 01904 557200.
Christmas Day services - Saturday 25 December
Join York Minster’s worship for Christmas Day at the cathedral or from the comfort of your home.
• 8am: Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer.
• 10am: Choral Matins (sung by the Choir of York Minster). Free tickets must be booked in advance for this service.
• 11am: Sung Eucharist (sung by the Choir of York Minster). Free tickets must be booked in advance for this service. This service will also be livestreamed via www.yorkminster.org.
• 4pm: Choral Evensong (sung by the Choir of York Minster). Free tickets must be booked in advance for this service. This service will also be livestreamed via www.yorkminster.org.
Tickets for the Christmas Day services will be available from 10am on Tuesday 16 November and can be booked via www.yorkminster.org or by calling 01904 557200.