When Do Universities Break Up for the Christmas Holidays?

Small christmas tree on desk in university library next to pile of books

As the festive season approaches, you might be wondering, “When does my university break up for Christmas?” This is a crucial question as you plan your holiday activities and look forward to a break from your academic commitments.

Group of laughing students in winter clothes enjoying christmas drinks

University Holiday Schedules: When Does the Festive Break Start?

Most UK universities start their Christmas break in mid-December. While the exact term dates vary between institutions, you’ll generally find that classes finish a week or two before Christmas Day. This break usually extends into early January, giving you a substantial period to unwind and enjoy the festivities. The holiday schedules can differ from university to university, so it’s essential to check your university’s academic calendar.

Do Most University Students Go Home for the Christmas Holidays?

It’s common for many students to head home for the Christmas holidays. This period is a great chance for you to reconnect with family, indulge in home comforts, and take a well-deserved rest from your studies. However, not everyone can or chooses to go home. International students, for instance, might stay on campus or in their university town during this time.

Student in bright red Christmas jumper using laptop to study in festive decorated home

Ideas If You’re Not Going Home from Uni for the Christmas Holidays

If you’re planning to stay at or near your uni during Christmas, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the season:

  • Explore Local Traditions: Your university town might have its own unique Christmas traditions and events. Discovering these can be a fun and memorable way to spend your holidays.
  • University Events: Check out if your university is organizing special events for students staying over the break. These can include festive dinners, social gatherings, and more.
  • Volunteering: Giving back through student volunteering work in your local area can be incredibly fulfilling, helping you connect with others and share the festive joy.
  • Connect with Friends: You might not be alone in staying back. Organize meet-ups or small trips with friends who are also around during the break.
Bookshelf in the shape of a christmas tree on wooden background

Should I Be Studying Over the Christmas Holiday Break?

Now, onto a question that might be tickling the back of your mind: “Should I be studying over the Christmas holiday break?” Let’s be real – while it might be tempting to crack open the books and get a head start on next term’s syllabus, remember, this is your time to recharge those batteries.

Although, if you’re a final year student you might be working towards an important dissertation or plans for one of the university Summer shows. If that’s the case you might have to mix the celebrations with some ongoing study.

Otherwise just indulge in your favourite holiday treats, binge-watch that series you’ve been putting off, or just enjoy some quality downtime. So, while a little bit of studying won’t hurt, make sure you’re also giving yourself the gift of a proper break. 

How Long Do Universities Get Off at Christmas?

You can expect the Christmas break to last anywhere from two to four weeks. This break length is designed to let you fully immerse yourself in the holiday spirit, spend quality time with family and friends, and recharge for the upcoming term.

Christmas tree made from colourful paperclips on red background

Tips for Getting Ready for the Holiday Break

Travel Arrangements: If you’re planning to jet off home, remember to book your tickets early. Whether it’s trains, planes, or automobiles, getting in ahead of the crowd can save you from the headache of last-minute bookings and sky-high prices. Plus, early planning means you can snag the best travel deals!

Packing Essentials: Deciding what to take home can be a bit of a puzzle. You don’t want to lug everything back, but you also don’t want to leave behind something crucial. A good rule of thumb is to pack your essential study materials, a few comfy clothes for lounging, and maybe that special festive outfit for the holiday celebrations. Oh, and don’t forget any gifts you’ve snagged for the fam!

University Support Services: If you’re staying put on campus, check out what support services are available. Many universities offer reduced but essential services over the break, like health services, counselling, and security. It’s always good to know what’s available, just in case you need it.

Stay Connected: Whether you’re heading home or staying at uni, keep in touch with your uni mates. A quick message or a video call can keep the holiday blues at bay and keep the festive spirit alive, even if you’re miles apart.


Understanding when your uni breaks up for the Christmas holidays and planning accordingly is key to enjoying your holiday season, whether you’re returning home or staying at university. Remember, this break is a time for relaxation and rejuvenation, so make sure to enjoy it in a way that’s best for you.