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 2021 and have come up with a bumper list to inspire you!
Audley End – Christmas Events in Essex
Audley End Rd, Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4JF.
At Audley End you will board the Santa Express where the driver will navigate you through the Estate Woodland. You will arrive at Father Christmas’s Winter Wonderland where your family will meet Father Christmas himself. Once you have visited the Gingerbread House, you will then explore the Adventure Play Area. It really does sound magical.
Runs from November 20 to December 24, 2021.
Priced from adults £18.00 – £25.00 per person; child (under 92cm) £9.00 – £12.50 and child under 1 free.
Marsh Farm Christmas Experience
Marsh Farm Rd, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, CM3 5WP
One of the best Christmas experiences in Essex is Marsh Farm Christmas Experience – my girls have loved it the past few years. The first stop at Marsh Farm is the Elf Academy! Then you will continue on through 4 other rooms to meet Mother Christmas before meeting the big man himself and going on a magical Christmas tour around the farm. Enjoy the festive rides, meet the animals, indulge in treats from their special Yuletide menu and even have a go at ice skating.
Runs from November 13 to December 24, 2021.
Priced from £35.00 – £69.00 per person (under 1s free)
Colchester Zoo at Christmas
Maldon Rd, Heckfordbridge, Colchester, Essex, CO3 0SL
Immerse yourself in the wonderful Christmas atmosphere at Colchester Zoo this festive season. See Santa’s reindeer in their stables, get crafty at the Elves’ Workshop, hear a Christmas tale and enjoy some festive treats!
Children who purchase a ticket to take part in this year’s Santa Experience will also get to take home another fantastic Christmas character soft toy!
From December, 4,5; 11-12 and 18-24, 2021
Visit the website for further details
Museum of Power Christmas Steampunk
Langford, Essex, CM9 6QA
Enjoy a Christmas Steampunk Market at the Museum of Power for gift ideas and family entertainment steam train rides as well as meeting Santa in his Grotto, meander through the indoor Christmas stalls and join in with fun entertainment and children’s rides. There will also be a Pantomime with DOT Productions.
From December 5-12 2021.
Priced at Adults £8.00; Child £12.00 (includes 1 ride on miniature railway and visit to Santa)
Nevendon Manor Christmas
Borwick Ln, Wickford, Essex, SS12 0QA
This year a few lucky families will have the opportunity to experience an exclusive personalised Christmas, where you will be invited into the beautifully dressed Nevendon Manor. Your experience will last approximately 50-60 minutes and you will have activities with the Elves as you arrive before you enter the Manor. Mrs Claus will greet you, escorting your family into her kitchen full of Christmas Festivities. Santa will come to greet your family leading you through the lounge where your children will receive a gift.
From December 4-5; 11-12 and 18-19, 2021
Visit the website for further details
Christmasville at Adventure Island
Sunken Garden, Western Esplanade, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS1 1EE
Adventure Island will get you into the Christmas Spirit with a visit to Santa in his grotto as well as enjoying all of the rides. Christmasville is full of elves in their little cottages transporting you into a magical festive wonderland.
From December 4-5; 11-12 the 18-24, 2021
Christmas entry (with one free accompanying adult) £20.00. Includes free wristband to come back and visit in February 2022. Additional adult £5.00.
A Santa Train at Epping Ongar Railway
Ongar Station, Station Approach, Ongar, Essex, CM5 9BN
The Epping Ongar Railway experience starts at North Weald Station where you will get the chance to get into the spirit with a live brass band! There will be festive characters walking around the crowds looking for the nice children to make sure that Santa will find them later. Santa will meet you on the train and give out gifts.
From December 4-5; 11-12 and 18-24, 2021 4
Compartment for up to 8: £225; up to 6: £175; family group in open coaches (up to 6 people): £160; family group in open coaches (up to 4 people): £105.
A Santa Experience at Colne Valley Railway
Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DZ
Santa is visiting the Colne Valley Railway this year, they’ve worked carefully with Santa and the Elf and Safety team to ensure that your visit to him will be enjoyable and safe. You will meet Santa in his grotto before travelling on the diesel train to collect your present from Santa’s Toy Shop.
From November 27 to December 24, 2021
From £22.00 per person
Visit Santa at Poplar Nurseries
Coggeshall Road, Marks Tey, Colchester, Essex, CO6 1HR
Visit Santa in his grotto at Poplar Nurseries this December, after you’ve seen Father Christmas take a stroll around the festive Christmas displays and look at the beautiful decorations on offer.
Visit their website for updates
A Barleylands Christmas at Barleylands Farm Park
Barleylands Road, Billericay, Essex, CM11 2UD
Fancy a photo taken in a snow globe? Well you can do that and much more at Barleylands Farm Park. Do some crafts with Mother Christmas, stroll through the winter walkways and meet Father Christmas in his grotto. Look around the toy factory and decorate a gingerbread man. You can also visit all of the animals – you will love a Barleylands Christmas.
From November 27 to December 24, 2021
Priced from £19.60 per child and £11.60 per adult
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.
From December 4-5; 11-12; and 18-19, 2021
Priced from £12.10 per child and £16.50 per adult; under 2s free
A Christmas Breakfast at Orsett Hall
Prince Charles Avenue, Orsett, Essex, RM16 3HS
A truly magical breakfast experience is to be had at Orsett Hall. Children will enjoy two activities with the Christmas Elves before receiving a visit and a special gift from Father Christmas plus entertainment.
From December 4-23, 2021
Priced at £26.95 per person; under 2s £16.50
Magical Light trail at RHS Hyde Hall
Creephedge Ln, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 8ET
It’s time to Glow at Hyde Hall! See the garden sparkle this festive season and follow dazzling displays along a magical light trail. Wrap up warm and gather family and friends for an evening of enchantment throughout the gardens.
Runs on Wednesdays to Saturdays only; December 10-18 and then 21-23 and December 29 to January 2, 2022.
Priced at: Adults (non-member) £12.95 (RHS member) £7.95; Children (non-member) £6.95 (RHS Member) £3.95; Under 5s free
Lathcoats Farm Christmas Events
Beehive Lane, Galleywood, Essex, CM2 8LX
Although it has been yet to be announced, Lathcoats Farm usually have some special events running over Christmas.
Visit their website for updates
Enlightened at Hylands Estate
London Road, Writtle, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8WQ
Enlightened returns to Hylands Estate with a new longer route and even more magical lighting installations. The grounds will be transformed into a magical illuminated light trail for visitors to enjoy with all the family.
From November 26 to January 2, 2022
Priced at: Adult £15.00; child (4-15) £11.00; under 3s free
Colchester Town Hall Christmas Market
High St, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1PJ
Head to the Colchester Town Hall Christmas Market this November. Stalls will include cards, refreshments, jewellery, beauty, ornaments, personalised gifts and much more. Everything on sale is sourced and made locally, we can guarantee you will find the perfect gift for all your loved ones.
On November 27-28, 2021.
Tickets are free but must be pre-booked
Genman Market at the Meadow Croft Garden Centre
Woodham Road, Battlesbridge, Wickford, Essex, SS11 7QU
The Meadow Croft Garden Centre German market hosts more than 30 stalls, festooned with delicately crafted Yuletide gifts, from Christmas ornaments, candles, authentic cuckoo clocks, traditional Christmas fare and beautiful handmade woollen hats and gloves.
There will also be gluhwein, authentic German beers and Kurz and Lang bratwurst sausages to take home and enjoy.
From September 16 to December 23, 2021
Ingatestone Christmas Market
Ingatestone & Fryerning Community Centre, Ingatestone, Essex, CM4 9ED
At Ingatestone Christmas Market, there will be a selection of stalls at the community centre including crafts, gifts, jewellery, toys, festive decorations, home, lifestyle and decor as well as wellbeing products, clothing accessories, pet treats and gifts.
On December 12, 2021
Prested Hall Christmas Market
Prested Hall, Feering, Colchester, Essex CO5 9EE
Prested Hall in Colchester will be hosting a special event on November 14, raising essential funds for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance.There will be plenty of festive stalls for you to enjoy and hopefully purchase some Christmas presents.
On November 14, 2021
Aladdin at the The Mercury Theatre Colchester
Balkerne Gate, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1PT
Make all your Christmas wishes come true with a trip to the Mercury’s magical pantomime, Aladdin! I mean, who doesn’t love a Christmas panto?
From November 27 to January 16, 2022
Priced from £15.00 to £32.00.
Robin Hood at the Harlow Playhouse
Playhouse Square, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1LS
Visit Robin Hood at the Harlow Playhouse this Christmas .It is full of hilarious comedy, dazzling dance routines and spectacular sets and costumes.
From December 3 to January 2, 2022
Priced from £18.00; £16.00 for under 16s
Beaty and the Beast at The Civic Theatre
Fairfield Rd, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1JG
The Civic Theatre is showing the amazing story of love and transformation, Beauty and the Beast, will have absolutely everything you’ve come to expect from a traditional pantomime including fantastic sets, costumes, songs and heaps of magic.
From November 26 to January 3, 2022
Priced from £25.00 per person
Cinderalla at the Cliffs Pavillion and Palace Theatre
Station Road, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA
Panto audiences will be in for a treat at the Cliffs Pavillion as Brian Conley and the fantastic cast will bring comedy, stunning vocals and plenty of surprises to a production of Cinderella packed full of music, dance, laughter and audience participation.
From December 13 2021 to January 2, 2022
Priced from £14.00 to £43.50
Panto at the Princes Theatre
Clacton Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE
Fleshcreep is creating havoc at the Princes Theatre, and there is an ugly old giant living in the cloud directly above the town. Join Jack and Jill at the Princes Theatre in Clacton for some good old fashioned fun.
From December 4, 2021 to January 3, 2022
Priced from £15.00 per adult; £14.00 per child (unders 16)
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!