The Cathedral Choristers return to school at the end of each term for Choirtime, to prepare the challenging repertoire for Christmas, Holy Week and the Southern Cathedrals Festival. This is a time the boys look forward to with great excitement, when they have the whole school and boarding staff all to themselves.

In a sort of “choir camp”, the boys enjoy a programme of free time, music, activities and trips out, as well as plenty of rest. Families are welcomed to Choirtime as often as possible – Easter egg hunts, picnics by the river, barbeques in the Quad, swimming in the outdoor pool. At Christmas, Chorister families enjoy a private session on the Winchester ice rink.

Unique to Cathedral Choristers, Choirtime is very special, and each one has its own character. Easter and summer are spent outdoors as much as possible, playing wide games, treasure hunts and a traditional Chorister game called “Hedgehogs and Aardvarks”, whose primary objective would appear to be getting as dirty as possible.

Christmas in Winchester

Christmas, perhaps the most public time for the Choristers, is probably the most atmospheric and exciting Choirtime for the boys, especially if it snows. The thrill of singing to thousands of people packed into the Cathedral for the carol services is tumbled in among snowball fights, sledging, the "Turkey Feast" in the Deanery, a trip to the pantomime, Christmas shopping, and of course a visit from Father Christmas! On Christmas Eve, the boys put on a cabaret, and the next morning they wake the Headmaster with energetic carol singing before tearing open their stockings and eating a huge breakfast. Extended families converge at school to share a lively festive lunch - turkey with all the trimmings and crackers - before finally returning home for the long holiday and a well-earned rest.