Get Festive with these Christmas Events

Santa Claus is coming to town! Celebrate the arrival of the Christmas season in Bury St Edmunds and beyond by marking these festive happenings on your calendar.

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Switch-On

On Thursday 16th November the annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Switch-on marks the beginning of the festive season in Bury St Edmunds. Watch as this historic town is lit up for Christmas – from the Arc and St John’s Street, through the market place and side streets, down to the magnificent 25-foot Christmas tree on Angel Hill.

The magic begins at 3pm on Abbeygate Street with the arrival of a waddle of penguins. The fun continues with street entertainers, performances from local school children, and appearances by Theatre Royal Pantomime characters. You may even see the main man himself in his favourite red suit! With over 30 stalls offering tasty seasonal treats, fairground rides and face painting, it’s an event not to be missed. 

The lights are switched on at 7pm, and the party continues for another hour under the twinkling lights with music from local bands and West Suffolk College students.

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

The spectacular Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre takes place from Thursday 23rd November through to Sunday 26th November, attracting thousands of visitors from across the UK. This hugely popular event is now one of the country’s biggest and best, with over 300 stalls, live music, fairground rides, reindeer, children’s entertainment, and, of course, Santa’s grotto. 

Stalls and entertainment can be found in the beautiful Abbey Gardens, on Angel Hill, throughout the Cornhill and Buttermarket areas in the old town, and up to the modern arc shopping centre and The Apex. Pick up special gifts, crafts, and delicious seasonal produce, while warming up with mulled wine and hot food from vendors selling British, European and international fare. 

With the fayre running until 8pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, why not stay over in one of Bury St Edmund’s elegant hotels or quaint bed and breakfasts to soak up the atmosphere and be among the first to browse the stalls in the mornings?  


Clare Christmas Fair
Shop in the atmospheric candlelit church of St Peter and St Paul’s from 5–8pm on Friday 24th November and from 10am–4pm on Saturday 25th November at the Clare Christmas Fair

Discover decorations, wreaths, cards, gifts, jewellery, ceramics, artwork and Christmas produce (including delicious Clare Christmas puddings with luxury chocolate and sticky toffee sauces) then take a break with some refreshments to enjoy your favourite carols.  

Long Melford Olde Christmas

The historic village of Long Melford is set to become a winter wonderland on Sunday 26th November for the third annual Long Melford Olde Christmas. Join Father Christmas, reindeer and donkeys, street entertainers and musicians as they celebrate Christmas with snow and bubble machines. 

Make a start on your Christmas shopping to the festive sound of a silver band then join the Lantern Parade to the Big Tree at 4pm to see the Christmas lights being switched on.

Lavenham Christmas Fair
The medieval Wool Town of Lavenham is a magical place at Christmas, where the annual Lavenham Christmas Fair is a pleasure for all the family. Under cover in the historic Market Place, you’ll find stalls selling beautiful crafts, seasonal produce and festive items, as well as tasty hot food, a hog roast and mulled wine. 

From 5:30—8:30pm on Friday 1st December and from 11am—5pm on Saturday 2nd and 11am—4pm on Sunday 3rd December, you’ll also find music, entertainment, a children’s funfair and a Big Wheel. Father Christmas will also be making his way down Lavenham’s cobbled streets with a sack full of presents to a special grotto.

Pantomine fun at the Theatre Royal 
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a traditional pantomime, and few theatres are as special as Bury St Edmunds’s Theatre Royal, the only surviving Regency theatre in the country. Cheer the heroes, boo the villains, laugh with the dame and join in the singalong, just as thousands of audiences have before in this richly atmospheric building. 

This year, the Theatre Royal are staging a production of Dick Whittington, one of the best loved pantos of all. Join young Dick and Tommy the Cat as they leave their home in Suffolk for rat-infested London Town. Will Dick become the master of all rat catchers? Can he save the city? Can the good ship Leaking Lizzie ever get them home to safety? Book your seat to find out! 

Dick Whittington runs from Friday 1st December 2017 through to Sunday 14th January 2018.

Meet Santa and his Elves
Santa and his elves will be bringing his festive Grotto to the arc shopping centre in Charter Square Bury St Edmunds from December 2 -24.
The Christmas Grotto will be open between 11am and 5pm every day from December 2 until Christmas Eve.  Because it is Santa’s busiest time of year admission to his Grotto be by ticket only. Find out more here.

As well as Father Christmas’s log cabin Grotto, arc will also be hosting dodgem cars and a carousel to entertain Christmas shoppers.  The dodgems will open at 6pm on Thursday November 30 and will be open until 7.30pm on a Thursday and between 10am and 5pm the rest of the week. The dodgems and carousel will be pay on arrival. 

A Christmas Carol
Spinning Wheel Theatre present a Festive night of theatre at Moyse’s Hall Museum with their exciting adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol.

Miserly humbug, Ebenezer Scrooge, has no time for Christmas. At the stroke of midnight, a ghostly visit from his long-dead business partner propels him on a helter-skelter night of visions of his happy past, harsh present and horrific future ultimately persuading him to change his ways.

Featuring much-loved characters including Fezziwig, Tiny Tim and the old humbug himself, Dickens’ classic Christmas tale is the perfect way to get into the true festive spirit.

Spend a Day in the Age of Dickens at Kentwell Hall
Step back in time with the whole family to experience an authentic Victorian Christmas at historic Kentwell Hall's Christmastide

Visitors are invited to meet the Bences, a Victorian upper class family, and their servants as they prepare for Christmas in 1869. See the huge tree in the Great Hall, decorated in Victorian-style, and join in with traditional Victorian games and activities. You can also make your own Victorian style Christmas Decorations to take home. 

Charles Dickens will be in residence reading ‘A Christmas Carol’, and the Finnish Father Christmas will be in his cottage with presents for good girls and boys. Book a visit for Friday 8th to Sunday 10th December or Friday 15th to Sunday 17th December. 

Carols by Candlelight at the Cathedral
The annual Carols by Candlelight service at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds is an important part of the Cathedral’s Christmas programme. Taking place at 7:00pm on Saturday 16th December, this captivating event is an opportunity to enjoy music by the Cathedral choirs and sing along with your most loved carols. A collection will be taken for the Children’s Society.

Other Christmas services held at the Cathedral include the Advent Procession at 5pm on Sunday 3rd December, a service of Nine Lessons and Carols at 7:00pm on 23rd December, a Crib service at 2.00pm and 4.00 pm on Christmas Eve, and Solemn Eucharist at 11.00pm. A service will also be held at 10:00am on Christmas Day.