Every year the town of Cambridge transforms into a charming destination that celebrates Victorian era Christmas. The concept of the Dickens Victorian Village is brilliant if you ask me.
Downtown Cambridge is a special place at any time of year. There are loads of historic buildings that house some lovely shops, restaurants, offices and even a fantastic bakery that has been in business for nearly a century. A gorgeous 1881 era Courthouse holds court (literally) over the downtown, providing a gorgeous focal point and even a backdrop for an amazing light show during the holidays.
The Dickens piece adds something unexpected. You see, it involves about 180 life sized characters in Victorian dress and arranged in about ninety vignettes around downtown. They tell the stories of people who lived here and of the activities that went on in this area. There are carolers, a photographer, a glass blower, a seamstress and many, many more. I was especially taken with the Father Christmas and with the coal miners who looked so lifelike I wanted to sit down and ask their stories.
Characters can be found under lampposts, in doorways and in building windows. A few are placed so unexpectedly, that they were almost surprising when I happened upon them in the dark. I did return the next morning to hit a couple of shops and got to see some things in the daylight I had missed the night before.
Plaques placed with each scene tell a short story, making this public art project an easy history lesson too.
This event always takes place November 1 through December 31 and has been going on for seventeen years. It attracts small groups like families as well as large groups that come by the busload to take part in the fun every year.
Go if you can. It’s free to walk around. As mentioned before, there are plenty of places to eat and shop while you’re there so be sure to support those small businesses. Click here to read about that fabulous light display at the courthouse too!
For all you National Road enthusiasts, note that this is right on that famous route we all enjoy so much! Follow Make The Journey Fun on Facebook to see more pictures from the Dickens Village!