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19th Oct 2023

Important Christmas Dates & Tips For Students In Coventry & Warwickshire

Even though it might still seem relatively far away, make no mistake about it, Christmas is just around the corner. For university students, this represents a chance to relax and take stock of what they’ve achieved so far, as well as freeing up valuable study time and providing an opportunity to catch up with friends and family. 

In the guide below, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about spending the festive period as a Coventry or University of Warwick student, with a list of important dates, opening times, seasonal activities and general tips to ensure you achieve the perfect balance of work and play this Christmas.  

Dates For Your Diary 


Coventry University 

This year, Coventry University’s first semester comes to an end on the 9th December 2023. There is a week of exams leading up to this date, from the 2nd-9th December, so if this applies to your course now is the perfect time to start your revision. 

Following exam week, all students will be on a month-long study break from 11th December 2023 to 12th January 2024. Semester 2 begins on 15th January 2024, although your first lecture or seminar of the year may take place a few days after this date. 

You can find more information about seasonal opening times on the Coventry University website or by checking your emails, talking to your lecturers and contacting the relevant support services. 

University of Warwick 

The University of Warwick’s 2023 Autumn Term runs from 2nd October-9th December 2023, with Spring Term commencing on the 8th January 2024. 

In previous years, various campus services such as wellbeing support, the Student Union and The Chaplaincy have offered consultations and events outside of the university’s term times, so keep an eye on the respective services pages on the university website to stay fully up to date throughout December. 

December 2023/January 2024 train strikes 

Rail strikes have caused major disruption on more than a few occasions in 2023, so make sure you keep this in mind when planning your trip home. 

Despite there being no current plans for unions to strike around the Christmas period, their as-yet unresolved dispute over pay and working conditions means there could still be more industrial action to come. By law, rail unions only have to give 14 days’ notice ahead of a strike, which means you should definitely keep watch for updates nearer the time. 

To avoid delays, check the National Rail website up to 2 weeks before your train’s scheduled departure time. 

Christmas events in Warwickshire 

And now for the fun stuff! 

Before you make the journey back home, there are plenty of activities for you to enjoy around Coventry and Warwickshire throughout December. From popular festive talks and inspiring craft fairs to fabulous yuletide performances and breathtaking wintry walks, you’ll truly be spoilt for choice. 

Christmas at Coombe Abbey 

Spectacular 12th-century hotel Coombe Abbey is well-known for its contribution to Coventry’s Christmas calendar and this year is no exception. 2023 sees the return of Luminate, a mesmerising illuminated trail through its historic grounds, with more than 23 incredible interactive exhibits for you and your housemates (or your friends and family) to enjoy. 

If you’re feeling especially indulgent, you can also book in for a festive murder mystery night or ‘20s-themed glamour ball within the hotel itself, in addition to a selection of other sophisticated seasonal events

The Belgrade Theatre 

Empty Theatre

Few festive periods would be complete without a trip to the theatre and, this year, the Belgrade has a packed schedule to keep everyone entertained, whether you’re in search of a light-hearted evening, a heart-warming exhibition or something that hits just that little bit harder. 

Amongst the popular theatre’s seasonal offerings are a classic pantomime in the form of rags-to-riches favourite Cinderella, an intimate screening of Frank Capra’s iconic It’s A Wonderful Life and a fun-packed Winter Craft Fair in which you can pick up a selection of unique artisan gifts. 

Christmas Music By Candlelight, conducted by Jeffery Skidmore, returns to the majesty of the nearby Coventry Cathedral too, so you’ll have plenty to savour as you wind down from a hectic few months. 

Warwick Arts Centre 

Not to be outdone by the Belgrade, Warwick Arts Centre also has its fair share of festive treats across December, with a vibrant mixture of comedy, musical performances and interactive science shows on offer to mark the end of the year. 

Christmas comes early for fantasy fans in the guise of A Celebration of Music From Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit while quirky comedian David O’Doherty headlines a festive all-star comedy revue that will have you laughing all the way to the big day. 

If you’re not already tired of lectures, there’s also a chance to catch University of Warwick scientists Ally Caldecote and Alex Baker’s latest explosive show. The choice really is yours. 

Christmas markets 

Away from the boards, one of the highlights of spending Christmas in Coventry and Warwickshire is the bounty of Christmas markets that spring up around the area. 

Those in Leamington, Rugby and Coventry city centre are free to enter and feature a range of tasty treats, thrilling rides and unique gifts, with Stratford-upon-Avon’s Victorian-themed event the pick of the bunch for providing you with a magical glimpse into the yuletide traditions of yesteryear. 

Things to remember before going home for Christmas 

Amongst all the excitement, it’s easy to forget how difficult Christmas can be, particularly for those who associate the festive season with bad memories or people who struggle to manage the period’s many expectations. 

The same is true for university students, who have a lot to juggle as they take some much-needed time away from campus and may be worrying about what to expect from their downtime. 

To help make the break more manageable for you, take note of the following: 

You don’t need to go home 

Virtually Exchanging Christmas Gifts

Although most of your friends and housemates will make the trip home for Christmas, there’s absolutely no obligation to travel back to your hometown for the festive period. You might prefer to spend it away from home, in a new location or in your own company. Whatever you do, just make sure you stay warm, safe and fed while keeping in regular contact with your loved ones. 

If you do decide to go home along with everybody else, it’s a good idea not to advertise that you have an empty student house on social media. This will reduce the risk of your property being broken into over Christmas. 

Empty the fridge and turn off non-essential items 

Empty Refrigerator

Before you’re making the most of your parents’ facilities, you should take the time to turn off anything non-essential that could increase your bills while you’re away. That means unplugging TVs, hairdryers and other electrical appliances, as well as switching off the boiler to cut down heating costs.  Remember to empty the fridge and throw away anything that will be inedible on your return too. Future you will be thankful! 

Be sensible when buying presents 

Making sure everyone gets a gift can be one of the season’s biggest anxieties, so make sure you’re sensible in your shopping. If you’re struggling for money, set yourself a budget or make your family aware that you might not be able to buy as much as you’d like. Should your friends or housemates suggest Secret Santa, try and stick to a modest budget and don’t be afraid to say no if you just don’t have the funds. 

Packing-wise, you can also reduce the weight of your suitcase by buying presents online and having them sent to your home address ready to wrap on your return. 

Book travel in advance 

So long as we aren’t hit by train strikes, one of the most useful things you can do before leaving for Christmas is to book your train tickets in advance. This will give you a chance to save as much as 40% on ticket prices, as well as give you the option to reserve a seat for your journey back. 

Be sure to keep an eye on the National Rail website for updates on upcoming travel disruptions as Christmas moves ever closer. 

Travel light 

Women packing a suitcase

When mid-December hits, the roads and rail networks will be full of tired students travelling back home, a journey made even harder with bagfuls of luggage. When going home, make sure you only pack the essentials for the trip, such as your phone, keys, wallet and clothes. You can always make use of the food and facilities available at your destination. 

Hit the books early 

While you’re still in halls or your university residence, it’s a good idea to get started on any work you may have to submit after the holidays. If you get a large portion of this done before you head home you’ll have more free time to relax over Christmas instead of stressing about essays and deadlines. 

If studying is unavoidable in your downtime, it may be useful to set a solid study schedule to ensure you keep focused. Make your family aware that you’ve booked time out to focus on work and be sure to take regular breaks so you don’t get burnt out. 

Coventry student accommodation 

Thank you for taking the time to read everything you need to know about how to spend Christmas as a student in Coventry and Warwickshire. If securing a city centre-based student house in Coventry is at the top of your list for the new year, contact a member of our team today and explore our many different accommodation options.  

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