This year has seen a lot of change due to the coronavirus pandemic but that hasn't stopped Christmas arriving at Salisbury Cathedral!

The huge spruce tree has been delivered, the Nativity has been hung and the Christmas Trail is in place. Preparations are also underway for the Advent services. Here is what not to miss at the Cathdral this Christmas:

The Christmas Trail

Thirty flower arrangers, led by Michael Bowyer, the Cathedral’s award-winning Director of Flowers, have prepared a special Christmas trail that explores the Christmas story using seasonal foliage and contemporary as well as traditional arrangements, all linked to festive activities and customs. For example, you can find out why we have Christmas trees, and why wreaths are round. Some of the arrangements are shown above.

The Giant Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree is definitely one to look out for. It’s a Norway Spruce grown and felled in Longleat Forest, where trees are managed sustainably. Norway Spruces grow at around a foot a year - this tree is 32ft high, so an estimated 32 years old, with a 10inch diameter trunk. Weighing in at over 250 kilos, it takes 12 people to move it. 


The magnificent Renaissance style Nativity is also back in place at the Cathedral for this Christmas. Created by Jacquiline Creswell and Ash Mills it was first exhibited last year. Printed onto enormous voile panels (seen above) around 10ft wide by over 35ft long the photographic tableaus hang nearly 50ft above the ground, at the heart of the Cathedral. The Nativity is built from a series of individual and group portraits of members of the Cathedral community. 

Festive Late Night Opening - 17th December 2020

Join the Cathedral for a relaxed evening after dark to get into the festive spirit! Start with a delicious hot chocolate or mulled wine and mince pies in their glass-roofed Refectory with spire views before the open evening begins to get yourself in full festive spirit. There will be organ music and the shop will be open to pick up some Christmas gifts. Christmas canines are also welcome, particularly if they are sporting festive outfits. The Cathedral welcomes dogs of any size or shapes, just as long as they behave and clear up after themselves... Entry is free, but booking is essential in order to manage capacity and stay within Covid 19 regulations. Last entry 20:00.


The 2020 advent services will have to be very different from previous years and capacity greatly reduced. All services are now sold out, but they will be livestreamed, so no-one will miss out.

Salisbury Cathedral’s Christmas services are as follows:

Sunday 29 November

16.30 Choral Evensong for Advent Sunday LIVE STREAMED


Tuesday 22 December

19.00 A Service for Christmas with carols sung by the Cathedral Choir LIVE STREAMED


Howells - A spotless rose

Head - The Little Road to Bethlehem

Rutter - Angels’ Carol


Wednesday 23 December 

19.00 A Service for Christmas with carols sung by the Cathedral Choir - this service is LIVE ONLY and is fully booked.


Howells - A spotless rose

Head - The Little Road to Bethlehem

Rutter - Angels’ Carol


Thursday 24 December

15.30 A Family Service for Christmas Eve LIVESTREAMED ONLY (filmed around the Christmas Tree and featuring a live donkey)

17.30 Festal Evensong LIVE STREAMED  

23.00 The First Eucharist of Christmas LIVE STREAMED


Friday 25 December

08.30 The Eucharist on Christmas Day (no Choir - this service will be said, with cantor)

11.00 The Eucharist on Christmas Day LIVE STREAMED

15.00 Festal Evensong

NOTE: The Service for Christmas with Carols sung by the Cathedral Choir on Tuesday 22 December will be recorded and remain on the website for watching later, but all other live streamed services will only be viewable when the service is taking place. The livestream events can be found at

Anyone wanting to visit the Cathedral this year must book in advance and wear a mask when inside the building.

If you live in the SP1, SP2 and Laverstock areas you can gain free entry, with proof of residence.

Booking is needed to visit the Cathedral due to the coronavirus pandemic. Get all the booking details here.