Advent & Christmas

Advent and Christmas at Bradford Cathedral

The story

“The shepherds went back,

singing praises to God

for all they had heard and seen;

it had been just as the angel had told them.”

Luke 2.20 (GNB)

We welcome you to Bradford Cathedral this Advent and Christmas to celebrate the festive season with us. We have a range of carol services for you to enjoy, as well as other Christmas services and events. The Cathedral will also be beautifully decorated for the festive season and we will be open for visitors as normal for you to enjoy the building and grounds.

A Message from the Dean

Welcome to Bradford Cathedral. I’m the Very Revd Andy Bowerman – the Dean of the Cathedral – and I want to extend you a warm welcome to our Advent and Christmas services and events during the coming weeks.

As ever, you’ll be able to Follow Our Star on top of the tower and find your way to this hidden treasure at the heart of the city.

Throughout the Advent season there’ll be all sorts of exciting opportunities for you to come and not just engage in worship but explore the Cathedral: join in some of our many events; there’ll be carol services, there’ll be mince pies and mulled wine; all sorts of ways that we want to generously welcome you into your Cathedral at the heart of this city.

Follow the Star

Last December, thousands of churches extended ‘The Great Invitation’ from the Church of England to Follow the Star to their local church in person once again. Helped, of course, by a return to a more normal Christmas, 2022’s Follow the Star saw significant growth in engagement across a wide range of indicators.

This year’s theme – Follow the Star: Join the Song – highlights how singing can help draw us closer to God and each other through the journey from Advent to Epiphany.

Lighting up the Cathedral

During Advent and Christmas we light up our ‘Star in the Tower’ and we have the return of the light curtain on the state gate, courtesy of Bradford BID


You can visit our cribs in the State Gate undercroft and our Holy Spirit Chapel, when they are installed later in November.

Follow the Star - Join the Song

Here is the Bradford Cathedral Consort singing a piece which the Church of England have commissioned for Follow the Star: Join the Song – a setting of ‘The First Nowell’ by Bob Chilcott.

What is a Christingle you ask? – Watch the video to find out what a Christingle is and how to make one! If you make your own Christingle, you will need an adult to help you. We hope you enjoyed the video and have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! At Bradford Cathedral we are holding a Messy Cathedral Crib service for children. You can join us on Christmas Eve, the 24th of December, from 3:00pm – 4:15pm.

At the interactive service, you will find storytelling, crafts, live music and prayers. Follow the star and meet some of the people who were there at the first messy Christmas in the messy stable and found Jesus in his messy crib. You are encouraged to come dressed as one of your favourite nativity characters.

Main Advent and Christmas Events and Services

Saturday 23rd December | 1pm

Annual Lunchtime Carol Recital

The cathedral choir presents its annual  recital. Music, poetry, witty Christmas stories and the best-loved Christmas carols come together in this yearly sing-a-long celebration. Numbers are limited so please book early.

Entry is free but we invite those who can to pay what you feel towards the event after the concert.

Saturday 23rd December | 6pm

An International Christmas

Christmas Eve Carol Concert 2019

An informal Christmas service featuring music and readings from Ukrainian, Nigerian, Congolese, Indian and Sudanese, communities based in- and around- Bradford.

The service will conclude with light refreshments including nibbles from some of these cultural traditions.

Sunday 24th December | 3pm

Messy Cathedral Crib Service

Messy Crib 2019

Messy Crib returns for another interactive service involving storytelling, craft, music and prayers.

Follow the star and meet some of the people who were there at the first messy Christmas in the messy stable and found Jesus in his messy crib. You are encouraged to come dressed as one of your favourite nativity characters.

Sunday 24th December | 11pm

Midnight Eucharist

Bradford Cathedral

The Midnight Eucharist is one of the highlights of the year.

The music is by the Cathedral choir with a number of congregational carols.

Led by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds.

Monday 25th December | 10:30am

Christmas Day Sung Eucharist

Christmas Day candles

Cathedral worship using Common Worship, with the Rt Revd Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford.

Other Advent and Christmas Events and Services

Other Things To See

Tuesday 12th December

Choir singing at BRI

More details to follow

Wednesday 13th December

Singing at the University of Bradford

More details to follow

Saturday 23rd December

Singing at the Corn Dolly

More details to follow

Discover More

Events and Services

You can see a full overview of all our events and services on our ‘What’s On’ page, or see above for our highlights.

Digital Schools Resources

You can discover resources for schools over in our education section.

Association of English Cathedrals

The AEC’s festive theme is all about Cathedral doors – and we featured on Tuesday 5th December.

Church of England daily reflections

Over the period of Advent you’ll be able to view daily reflections from the Church of England. Click here to find out more.

Music Recordings

Look out soon for a piece sung by our Grace Notes choir.

Christmas Services

Worship is the heartbeat of Cathedral life and is offered daily through online Morning and Evening Prayer and the seven services each week. The main weekly service is on Sunday at 10:30 am which is also live-streamed. You can download an Order of service in advance or use the Proclaim app instead of an Order of Service.

Help Save the Environment: Send an eCard!

You can now send a Bradford Cathedral digital eCard to your friends and family – and save on the printing!

Christmas Holiday Opening Times

Please see below for our opening times over the Christmas holiday period:

Saturday 23rd December – open as usual

Sunday 24th December – open for services and Messy Crib

Monday 25th December –  open for services

Tuesday 26th December – Saturday 30th December – closed

Sunday 31st December – open for services

Monday 1st January – closed

Tuesday 2nd January – open as usual

The Very Revd Andy Bowerman, Dean of Bradford, will be leading Morning and Evening Prayer between Christmas and New Year at the usual times of 9am and 5:30pm. For more information please see our prayer page


Visit Us:

Opening times

Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm

Please see our what’s on calendar for any changes or see our Christmas holiday opening times below.

What to See?

Bradford Cathedral has been a site of Christian worship since the 7th century. Explore over 1000 years of history in the heart of Bradford. We also have a wealth of Morris & Co. stained glass, 18th Century monuments and a range of contemporary and historic textiles.

Shop Items

easyfundraising - Christmas 2022

Over 7,000 brands will donate to Bradford Cathedral at no extra cost to you – so you can raise donations when you buy gifts, decorations, your festive food shopping or anything else! 

Please sign up and help us raise more by visiting the easyfundraising website.


Look out for our #FestivePhotoADay on our Instagram page, every day through Advent

Church of England Advent Calendar

Join the Church of England from the 1st December to open a daily family activity on our Advent calendar as part of our Advent and Christmas campaign – Follow the Star: The Great Invitation.

Bradford Cathedral Organ Advent Calendar 2023

Look out for a new organ piece every day up to and including Christmas Day.

VCS Advent Calendar 2023

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:15)

The Visual Commentary on Scripture’s Advent Calendar for 2023 eplores the theme of light.

From December 1st – 24th they will share a daily link to a light-related artwork and its associated commentary. An audio option will be available, allowing you to enjoy listening to the commentary while exploring the high-resolution image.

Bradvent Calendar videos

Over the last couple of years we’ve recorded some very special ‘Bradvent Calendar’ which include carols, activity videos and much more – and you can watch them all back on YouTube, or by selecting them from the list below!


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