Christmas in the UK

Your first Christmas in the UK

If this will be your first Christmas in the UK you’ll find useful information about what to expect on this page. You may have already noticed festive decorations and lights in the main shopping areas, as well as Christmas menus in local cafés and restaurants. It’s generally a time of year where everyone gets into the spirit of Christmas.

The origins of Christmas lie in the Christian faith. However, today it is widely regarded as a secular festival. Typically, British people will spend time with family and friends, give and receive cards and presents, as well as eating lots of traditional Christmas food.

For some people it can be a lonely time of year as they are unable to spend this time with family and friends. If you are not planning to return home for the holidays please take a look at the events sections of our Festive Guide. We have lots of ideas on how you can try to enjoy the holidays with other international students and by taking part in community events.

You can also join our Facebook Group to find out what’s going on during the festive period. (You’ll need to request to join this group first if you aren’t already a member.) Don’t forget, you can use the hashtag #herefortheholidays for more University of Brighton international student festive information.

These include some events organised by us:

Royal Pavilion Christmas Trip

Tuesday 17 December – 11.00-13.00

Join us on a guided tour of the Royal Pavilion! Find out about the history of this iconic Brighton building, and experience the magic of the palace at Christmas, including some fabulous decorations and a replica of Queen Victoria’s sleigh.

Tickets are offered at a special discounted price of £5.00.

For more information see the Facebook event:

To book please visit:

All places must be booked by midday on Friday 13th December.

Home from Home Christmas Lunch

Thursday 19 December – 13.00-16.00 – The Hub, Varley Park

Join us for a Christmas lunch to celebrate the end of the year and the start of the holidays! Everyone is welcome. Tickets are £5.50 for a two course lunch with soft drinks and nibbles included. After lunch we will be playing some traditional games, and exchanging gifts as part of a Secret Santa. There is also the option of joining some Carol Singing later in Churchill Square from 18.00-20.00.

** Please be sure to book and pay for your ticket by Friday 13th December – 1.00pm **

We welcome students from all campuses. If you are travelling from Eastbourne and need help with travel costs please get in touch with us as once you have bought your ticket and we can advise further.

See the Facebook event for more details and how to book a place.

Christmas Meal at the Meeting House

Friday 20 December – 12.00 – 14.00 – Meeting House, University of Sussex

Students and their families are invited to a buffet style lunch at the Meeting House on the University of Sussex campus. This event is organised by the chaplaincy teams which work across both the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton. Places are free but we have limited tickets. Please contact Sarah Herbert at if you wish to attend.

Christmas Day Host Visits

Wednesday 25 December- various times and locations 

Would you like the opportunity to experience Christmas Day with a local family?

The University of Brighton chaplaincy team has arranged for members of their congregations to host international students on Christmas Day (Wednesday 25th December). This will involve going to the family’s home for the day, eating a Christmas meal, and taking part in the day’s festivities.

This is a lovely opportunity to experience so Christmas Day traditions! You do not need to be a Christian or celebrate Christmas yourself to take part.

See the Facebook event for more details:

To register your interest please complete our short form here:

Find out more about Christmas and the history behind some of its traditions here:

The History of Christmas

Christmas on campus

Christmas in the UK


Student Operations and Support services will be closed from 1.00pm on Tuesday 24th December and will re-open on the morning of Thursday 2nd January. For any personal welfare and support issues during the Christmas vacation here is a list of useful numbers for local and national organisations.

Travelling for Christmas? Read some useful advice about keeping your belongings and yourself safe written by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). This also includes information on what to do if you have a Tier 4 student visa and lose your Biometric Residence Permit.

And finally, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a restful vacation, and a happy New Year!

Sarah Herbert

International Student Support Officer

Student Operations and Support

Sarah Herbert • November 27, 2019

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