Date range
18 December 2017, 4:00pm to 20 December 2017, 12:00pm
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The Commonwealth and International Student Christmas is our longest-standing tradition and we would love you to join us in December 2017 for our 70th annual gathering.

The first gathering of international students at Cumberland Lodge took place in 1947, just a few weeks after King George VI had granted us the use of the Lodge for our educational work, to provide a safe space for people of all backgrounds and perspectives to exchange views and think creatively about pressing social and ethical issues facing society.

For 70 years we have extended a warm welcome to students from all over the world who are currently studying in the UK, to join us in December and experience a traditional British Christmas.

Participants engage in a programme of thought-provoking and inspiring seminars and workshops, and get to meet others who are studying away from home.  

In December 2016, we were joined by 62 students from 32 countries, representing 17 universities across the UK.

Programme highlights

This relaxed and informal annual conference takes place at Cumberland Lodge, a 17th century, former royal residence in the heart of Windsor Great Park. As part of the programme you will have the chance to experience a traditional British Christmas, including:

  • A Christmas carol service in the Royal Chapel
  • A guided winter trail through Windsor Great Park
  • A traditional Christmas dinner, with a visit from Father Christmas
  • Festive evening games and entertainment.

The programme also features seminars and workshops led by guest speakers and organisations, and this year these will draw on our annual theme for 2017/18: 'Freedom'.

We are pleased to announce that this year we will be joined by the author AL Kennedy, Jessica Ball of Creating Meaning, and by photographer Bill Knight OBE.

Cumberland Lodge is close to attractions such as The Savill Garden, Virginia Water, and The Long Walk, which offers a spectacular view of Windsor Castle. There is ample opportunity for walking, running, cycling or wildlife spotting in the Great Park.

Find out more

An album of photos from our 2016 conference is available on our Facebook page, and students share their thoughts on the retreat in the video below. 

'It was an amazing experience; I felt like I was inside of a movie - when a big family gets together to celebrate Christmas eating, drinking, singing around the piano in a joyful environment.' - 2016 participant

'Learning about and enjoying the Christmas in UK with people from all over the world while exchanging thoughts on and debating about the pressing issues of the society.' - 2016 participant

'This was the best Christmas outside my own country.' - 2015 participant


If you attended this event in 2016, please consider giving others the opportunity to participate in 2017. As you know, spaces for this event are limited and, as such, we like to give as many students as possible the chance to experience this.

Tickets are £85 for the whole event, which includes shared accommodation in our historic rooms, all meals, and the full programme of events and activities.  

To register online via Eventbrite, please follow the green 'Register Now' button on this page.


Is my registration transferrable? 

Purchased tickets can be transferred to another person if necessary. Please contact us if you wish to do this. 

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

There is ample free parking on site at Cumberland Lodge. The nearest mainline train station is Egham, which is on the London Waterloo - Reading trainline.

Full travel directions for Cumberland Lodge can be found here.

How can I contact the organiser?

If you have any questions about his conference, please email Alice Wigley, Education Assistant, at:

This event is part of our 'Freedom' series of conferences, seminars, retreats and other educational activities.

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