The Best Christmas Events in Essex 2022

Christmas Events in Essex

Dare we mention Christmas in Essex yet? Well we are going to anyway! The year is flying by and it won’t be long before the festive season is upon us. There are lots of Christmas events in Essex this year – Santa’s Grottos, pantomimes, festive markets and places to gaze in awe and sparkling lights.

We’ve been researching Christmas events in Essex for 2022 and have come up with a bumper list to inspire you – but you also might like to try Breakfast with Santa too!!

Breakfast and Brunch  with Santa at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

Sawyer’s Hall Farm, Sawyers Hall Lane, Brentwood, CM15 9BZ

There are so many amazing Christmas events in Essex but this year, why not spend a special breakfast or brunch with Santa surrounded by animals at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary this Christmas. Enjoy a mince pie and hot drink on arrival, take part in Christmas activities, a winter trail, meet with Santa plus take home a special gift & keepsake polaroid photo. General admission to the sanctuary too – So bring your wellies!

Running every weekend between 19th November to 24th December.

Prices start at £30 per person


Audley End – Christmas Events in Essex – Christmas Events in Essex

Audley End Rd, Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JF.

Father Christmas ringing a bell

Audley End Rd, Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JF.


All aboard the Santa Express at Audley End, the most magical, family, Christmas experience! Calling all children, Father Christmas is in need of some extra Christmas spirit this year in order to reach every child on Christmas eve. Do you think you can help? If so, join us for our Christmas Special!  Clove and Nutmeg the station nutcrackers will board you upon the Santa Express where our driver will navigate you to Father Christmas’s Winter Wonderland. Here you and your family will meet Father Christmas himself, along with his very helpful Elves, receive a special gift and help raise enough Christmas spirit to fill our spirit-ometer to its maximum.

Don’t forget to look out for the 12 days of Christmas along the way too. After your train ride you will be greeted by Holly the Christmas fairy who will lead you into the Fulfen forest. Lined with snowy fir trees you will wind through the pathway arriving at our reindeer feed factory. Berry and Mistletoe, the resident reindeer keepers, will help you create your own reindeer food package for you to leave out on Christmas eve for Rudolph and his friends!

Once you’ve created your reindeer food package you will then journey to our north pole post office where Quill, Stamp or Page will help you write a special letter to Father Christmas. Once stamped you can then post it to Father Christmas himself. After you’ve posted your letter, you will then explore the Adventure Play Area. The fun does not stop there as you will also be able to meet the wonderful Mother Christmas during her storytelling show at our candy land stage area.

Runs from 19 November to 24 December, 2022

Adults and Children over 92cm – £22.00-£25.00

Child Under 92cm – £11.00-£12.50

Child under 1 Year – Free

Carer of disabled – Free


Marsh Farm Christmas Experience

Marsh Farm Rd, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, CM3 5WP

Mother Christmas with a cake tin

This year, included with every Father Christmas Experience booking at Marsh Farm, you’ll also be able to experience a fantastic festive fun fair, weather permitting, which includes:A Real Ice Skating Rink; Festive Fun Fair and a Christmas Train Ride. A wondrous journey awaits you, but before you can embark on your enchanted adventure, you’ll need to be granted special access to the North Pole!

Don’t worry, the expert Elves in Passport Control will make sure all your papers are in order and send you on your way. First stop, the Elf Academy! Here you have a once in a lifetime chance to be inducted as an honorary  Brrrrr, it just got really chilly, could snow be on its way? Let’s find out as you step into the Snow Show, filled with a flurry of surprises. Your tummies are probably starting to rumble now, especially with that yummy smell filling the air, where’s it coming from?

Ah Mother Christmas’ kitchen! I wonder what she’s got in the oven today? I’m sure she’ll share her sweet treats to keep you fuelled up for the rest of the adventure. This is one of the best Christmas events in Essex.

Runs from November 19 to December 24, 2022

Visit the website for further details


Colchester Zoo Magic of Christmas

Maldon Rd, Heckfordbridge, Colchester, Essex, CO3 0SL

Immerse yourself in the wonderful Christmas atmosphere with festive activities at Colchester Zoo Magic of Christmas. See Santa’s beautiful reindeer in their stables ahead of the big day, create festive crafts at the Elves’ Workshop or listen to the elves as they tell stories of Santa’s sloth friend at the Christmas Tales. Journey through the magical Santa Experience filled with festive scenery and cheeky elves, where you will also have the chance to meet Santa himself and take home your very own ‘Poco the sloth’ soft toy!

From 26th and 27th November, 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th to 24th December 2022

Priced at £12.50 per ticket


Museum of Power Christmas Steampunk

Langford, Essex, CM9 6QA

Come and meet Santa  in his Grotto, enjoy a miniature steam train ride, meander through our indoor Christmas stalls and join in with the fun entertainment and children’s rides.

Sunday 4th December 2022 – 10:00am to 6:00pm

Child ticket: £12 -This includes entry to the event, one free ride on the miniature railway, a visit to Santa and a gift bag. Adult ticket: £8 This includes entry to the event, a ride on the miniature railway, Santa visit, a hot drink and a mince pie.


Nevendon Manor Christmas

Borwick Ln, Wickford, Essex, SS12 0QA

A little girl sat on Santa's knee in front of the fire place

At Nevendon Manor, Santa will come to greet your Family leading you through the Beautifully Dressed Christmas Lounge into his Cosy Open fired Retreat where your family will have the opportunity of being with Santa and your children will interact and have some quality time with Santa. Your children will have written a letter to Santa, which Santa will already have with him on the day. We loved this Christmas events in Essex.

Visit the website for further details


Adventure Island Christmas

Sunken Garden, Western Esplanade, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS1 1EE

When it comes to Christmas, there is no better place to get in the festive spirit than Adventure Island! See the big man himself, receive a fab toy and the fun doesn’t stop there… Each child gets one free adult to join them to see Father Christmas. Each child also gets a voucher to visit our amazing Sealife Adventure Zooquarium, a free round of golf, free child’s meal at Sands by the Sea with a paying adult, and £5 worth of Free Video games to use in our Funtopia Arcade.

From 17th to 24th December 2022


Epping Ongar Railway Light Fantastic

Ongar Station, Station Approach, Ongar, Essex, CM5 9BN

A truly wonderful experience of lights and music is coming to the Epping Ongar Railway this year, featuring a specially designed show to highlight the stations, rural setting and woodlands, that you can experience from the comfort of a train carriage. With an improved show for this winter, now starting at Ongar station, it’s the winter experience that you will not want to miss!

The magic begins as soon as you arrive at Ongar. As the train makes a grand arrival, marvel at the brightly lit carriages, and once on board the train, let the magic unfold as the music plays and the story begins. As you experience the fantastic illuminations, keep your eyes peeled for amazing displays that can only be seen from the comfort of your seat, and, if you believe in magic, look out for the mystical Tomte hiding along the way.

Epping Ongar Light Fantastic services start on 18 November.

Tickets are just £20 per person inclusive of train travel.


Santa Specials at Colne Valley Railway

Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DZ

We are pleased to say that Santa is visiting Colne Valley Railway again this year. They have worked hard with Santa and the Elf and Safety team to ensure that your visit to him will be as enjoyable.  You will meet Santa in his grotto before travelling on our diesel train to collect your present from Santa’s Toy Shop.

Visit the website for further details


Visit Santa at Poplar Nurseries

Coggeshall Road, Marks Tey, Colchester, Essex, CO6 1HR

Mrs Claus has told us that Santa is so busy with all his preparations at the North Pole that he won’t be able to relocate his Grotto to Poplar Nurseries this year. However, with the help of his Head Elf and Rudolph, Santa will be sneaking away to join them for our Breakfast with Santa event at Poplar Nurseries. A great place to visit Father Christmas in Essex.

Visit their website for updates


A Barleylands Christmas at Barleylands Farm Park

Barleylands Road, Billericay, Essex, CM11 2UD

If you decided to head to Barleylands for Christmas, there will be a friendly elf to greet the whole family, who will see if you are on our naughty or nice list! Once you have been checked into our Magical Christmas Barn, the elf will take you through to see Mother Christmas. Whilst with Mother Christmas, you will be able to make a Christmas Tree Decoration that you can take home.

Afterwards, you can stroll through the Winter Walkway, which makes for some great photo opportunities.  Waiting for you will be Father Christmas himself, in his cosy grotto, ready to find out what your heart truly desires this year. His helpful elves can then take your photo with your own phone or camera. Before you leave, Father Christmas will decide if you have been good enough to receive a special token!

If you have been a good girl or boy, you will be taken to the Toy Factory, where you can trade your token for a present of your choice. Lastly, you can make your own way to the Christmas Kitchen for Gingerbread Man decorating. Every paying child can ice and decorate their very own yummy creation to take home or enjoy at the farm.

26th November 2022 through to Christmas Eve!

Visit the website for further details


Join Thomas and Friends at East Anglian Railway Museum

Chappel & Wakes Colne Station, Station Rd, Wakes Colne, Colchester, Essex, CO6 2DS

Join Thomas & Friends for a day of festive family fun at The East Anglian Railway Museum. Take a ride behind Thomas, meet The Fat Controller and say hello to Sodor Station Sweepers Rusty and Dusty. Then visit Father Christmas in his grotto.

December Weekends (3rd & 4th, 10th & 11th and 17th and 18th December).

Visit the website for further details


Christmas at Orsett Hall

Prince Charles Avenue, Orsett, Essex, RM16 3HS

At Orsett Hall this Christmas you can either enjoy breakfast with Santa or an Afternoon tea with Santa. It will be a fun and interactive afternoon tea experience.

Afternoon tea: £34.95 Child | £34.95 Adult | £18.50 Under 2’s

Visit the website for dates and further details


Magical Light trail at RHS Hyde Hall

Creephedge Ln, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 8ET

lights in the trees at hyde hall - christmas events in essex

Glow 2022 at RHS Hyde Hall

Creephedge Ln, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 8ET

Let it Glow at RHS Hyde Hall! Enjoy an unmissable after dark spectacle of lights at RHS Garden Hyde Hall this festive season. Bring all the family for a magical evening at RHS Garden Hyde Hall. See the garden in breathtaking beauty and follow spectacular displays lighting a brand new route. New for 2022, follow the trail up onto the Hilltop, past the iconic Thatched Barn and through the Dry Garden, where dazzling lights and sound effects add to the drama.

On: Tues – Sat, 22 November – 17 December; Tues – Fri, 20 – 23 December; Wed – Fri, 28 – 30 December.

Members: peak adults £8.95, off-peak adult £7.95; Non-members: peak adult £14.95, off-peak adult £12.95


Lathcoats Farm Christmas Events

Beehive Lane, Galleywood, Essex, CM2 8LX

Although it has been yet to be announced, Lathcoats Farm usually has some special events running over Christmas.

Visit their website for updates


Enlightened at Hylands Estate

London Road, Writtle, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8WQ

house lit up with lights

Following the hugely successful event last winter, Enlightened at Hylands Estate returns with a new longer route and even more magical lighting installations for 2022. Once again, one of the best Christmas events in Essex – the grounds will be transformed into a magical illuminated trail for visitors to enjoy with all the family. Book now to see mesmerising light displays and enchanting moments along a specially crafted route.

Thursday 24th November – Sunday 1st January, 2023


Christmas Events in Essex – Christmas Markets in Essex

Colchester Christmas Market

High St, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1PJ

The Colchester Christmas Market turns the High Street into a winter wonderland. Packed full of market stalls, visitors can enjoy browsing, sampling and shopping their way through the stalls before enjoying festive food, drink and entertainment.

At the festival, there will be over 80 traders offering a wide selection of items including clothing, toys, festive gifts and decorations, handmade crafts, local beer and sweet treats. There will also be over 25 stalls selling food and drinks, perfect to warm you up on a cold evening. Enjoy burritos, gourmet Yorkshire puddings, churros and of course, mulled wine!

For this one day Christmas Market, Colchester will come alive with Christmas cheer. There will be funfair rides for children, musical entertainment including a brass band and choir and Santa’s Grotto where little ones can visit Father Christmas.

On: November 26, 2022 – November 27, 2022


German Market at the Meadow Croft Garden Centre

Woodham Road, Battlesbridge, Wickford, Essex, SS11 7QU

The German Market at the Meadow Croft Garden Centre was established in 2015, with a handful of stalls displaying carefully selected authentic produce. Born from an idea to do something ‘different’ at Christmas, the first German Market evening and indeed the market itself was a huge success and has been growing ever since.

Inspired by traditional German Markets, you will be captivated by the sights, sounds and smells of the market, with irresistible seasonal treats and unique yuletide gifts and decorations. The German Market hosts more than 30 stalls each handcrafted by owner Roland Smith. Every stall is adorned with handpicked, high-quality artisan products including carved wooden decorations, delicate glassware and baubles, traditional cuckoo clocks, Scandinavian gonks and much more.

Thursday 15th September to Friday 23rd December 2022


Ingatestone Christmas Market

Ingatestone & Fryerning Community Centre, Ingatestone, Essex, CM4 9ED

The Ingatestone Christmas Market is organised by the Rotary Club of Ingatestone, and the indoor ‘Christmas Fayre’, organised by the Ingatestone & Fryerning Community Association, are looking forward to making it an even greater success in 2022 with your support.

Outside in the large parking area surrounding the Ingatestone Community Centre there will be stalls ( a lot of local traders and businesses) selling: Variety of items including crafts, gifts, jewellery, toys, festive decorations, home, lifestyle and decor as well as wellbeing products including vegan and cruelty free make-up. there will also be clothing and clothing accessories, pet treats and gifts

Cold food will include – Cakes, pies, cheeses, sausages, bacon, pickles, chutneys, specialist Xmas puddings, amazing fudge and other confectionery

Hot food  available will include – Hog roast, burgers, The Deli’s pizzas,  German sausages, waffles, donuts and a lot more! Stalls will also be selling mulled wine, prosecco and flavoured gins and vodkas to drink on site and bottles and gift sets to take away.

Sunday 11th December 2022 – 12 noon to 6pm

Free entry


Prested Hall Christmas Market

Prested Hall, Feering, Colchester, Essex CO5 9EE

Head to the 2022 Prested Hall Christmas Market, with a range of stalls both in the manor house and the waterside marquee.

They are welcoming fantastic local businesses and talented individuals with a wide range of products for you to shop. From sweet treats to spirits and liqueurs, handmade jewellery and clothing, floristry, fragrance, gifts for dogs and so much more, you will find the perfect Christmas gift!

This event is raising money for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, who rely on generous donations from the public to continue to be able to offer lifesaving care across the counties.

Sunday 27th November 2022

Free entry


Christmas Events in Essex – Pantos in Essex

Beauty and the Beast at the The Mercury Theatre Colchester

Balkerne Gate, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1PT

Join us this Christmas for our magical Mercury panto, Beauty and the Beast.

It’s a tale as old as time and a panto that will be unmissable for the whole family. Discover what it takes for true love to conquer all and whether love is all you really need?

Sat 26 Nov 2022 – Sun 15 Jan 2023


Cinderella at the Harlow Playhouse

Playhouse Square, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1LS

Cinderella longs for a happier and more exciting life away from her wicked Stepsisters. Thankfully she has Buttons, her loveable companion there to look after her. When the dashing Prince Charming decides to hold a ball to find his future wife, this may just be the chance Cinderella has been waiting for. Can the Fairy Godmother help Cinderella get to the Ball? With the help of some mice and a pumpkin – anything is possible!

1 Dec 2022 – 8 Jan 2023


Snow White at the Cliffs Pavilion and Palace Theatre

Station Road, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA

Starring Ashley Banjo & Diversity, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be spectacularly brought to life with an abundance of comedy, sensational song and dance numbers, fabulous costumes and stunning scenery. Throw in a magical mirror, seven friendly dwarfs, a beautiful princess, a handsome prince and plenty of audience participation and you have the perfect recipe to outwit the Wicked Queen and let love prevail in this glittering festive treat for all ages.

Friday December 9 – Saturday December 31, 2022


Cinderella at the Princes Theatre

Clacton Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE

You shall go to the ball this Christmas as Cinderella transforms from rags to riches, outwits her very Ugly Sisters, and with the help of her hilarious friend and one very magical Fairy Godmother, wins the heart of the dashing Prince Charming.

Panto audiences will be in for a treat as the Cinderella cast will bring comedy, stunning vocals and plenty of surprises to a production packed full of music, dance, laughter and audience participation.

December 10, 2022 – January 1, 2023


So have you started getting ready for Christmas yet? We have heaps of gift ideas in our gift guides – just click on the links below!

Christmas Eve Box Ideas

Gift Guide for 1 Year Olds

Gift Guide for 2 Year Olds

Gift Guide for 3 Year Olds

Gift Guide for 4 Year Olds

Gift Guide for 6 Year Olds

Gift ideas for Toddlers

Gift ideas for Pre School Children


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