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Christmas Events in Essex

Essex has Christmas wrapped up

There’s an absolute feast of festive events and places to shop for gifts large, small and unusual throughout Essex in the run-up to Christmas Day.

From enjoying a woodland walk to cuddling a real reindeer there’s something for every family and every budget. From unique hand-made gifts to fun for all the family, there’s something to delight excited kids and even the most Scrooge-like of relatives in Essex.

Here’s a selection, but to discover more ideas and inspiration for a great day out, click here.

Colchester Winter Wonderland

Colchester’s Castle Park has been turned into a Winter Wonderland with an outdoor ice rink where you can show off your skating skills. You’ll also get the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping in the winter market, listen to local choirs singing carols and take a ride in the fairground.

Colchester Winter Wonderland
Jingle All the Way at Barleylands

Jingle all the way!

Get ready to jingle all the way at Barleylands and enjoy a fun-packed adventure at the Farm Park. From the 1st to 24th December the family can muck-in with extra Christmas activities, including meeting Father Christmas, climbing inside a giant snow globe, making crafts and watching Snowflake, the beautiful Snowy Owl, fly around the barn.

Winter Extravaganza

On 5 December, Southend High Street is being transformed into a magical ‘Yellow Brick Road’ where you’ll be able to meet all your favourite characters from the iconic movie. You can also get up close with Santa’s Reindeer at the Royal Square as well as listening to a story on board the Cinderella Story Telling Bus.

Winter Extravaganza in Southend
A Victorian Christmas at Audley End

A Victorian Christmas

Help celebrate the festive season the Victorian way at Audley End on 5 and 6 December as you step back in time to the 1800s and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Victorian Christmas. Meet the family as they prepare the house for Christmas, and step into the hustle and bustle of the kitchens and experience the Victorian shows and music in the service wing yard. Try some hot chestnuts from the fire, sing along to festive tunes and fill up on Christmas cheer with our seasonal punch.

The Magic of Christmas

Pay a visit to Colchester Zoo on 5 – 6, 12 – 13 and 17 – 24 December and you will be transported into a sparkling winter wonderland. You’ll get a chance to meet Santa’s real live reindeer as well as enjoy the staff pantomime, indulge in tasty festive treats from the Elves’ Kitchen, make Christmas crafts at the Elves’ Workshop and, of course, meet Santa himself.

The Magic of Christmas at Colchester Zoo
Santa at the Barns

Santa at the Barns

Maintaining his frantically busy schedule, Father Christmas will be appearing at Cressing Temple Barns on 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 December. You'll have a chance to meet Santa’s reindeer and see the mad scientist elf mix the special potion that makes them fly! You can also see the actual gift-wrapping machine Father Christmas uses for all the presents and give his elves a hand sorting some of the toys. Your little ones will also be able to choose a special gift to take home with them, before playing Christmas games in the garden.

Kings Courtyard Christmas Market

Pay a visit to the Kings Courtyard in Brentwood on 12 December for a magical Christmas market and pick up some unique gifts for your loved ones. A fancy dress competition, games, mince pies, festive beverages and giveaway goody bags will ensure the whole family are entertained.

Christmas Market at Kings Courtyard
Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival

Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival

Visit Brightlingsea’s All Saints Church on 12 – 13 December for this unique festival where you will find almost 100 decorated Christmas trees accompanied by live Christmas music throughout the day. A Christmas shop, pantry, homemade cake stall, hot chestnuts, mulled wine and free children’s quiz add to the jollity of this amazing annual event.

Steam with Santa

The popular Santa Specials at Colne Valley Railway are back for more fun on the rails on 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th and 22nd December. The magic begins as you climb on board the heated train and are soon joined by Santa who delivers a gift to every child. Adults will enjoy the complimentary hot drink!

Santa Specials at Colne Valley Railway
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