Ahhhhhhh December. How much fun you bring with you. You are, without a doubt, my favourite month of the year. Especially when jam packed full of things to do in Essex!
From Christmas lights being switched on and Christmas parties to mulled wine, ice skating and Christmas markets. I love it all and as the month goes on, the excitement builds. I also love the nostalgic element of reflecting on the year that has gone by whilst planning for the new year ahead. A little therapeutic perhaps but a chance for us all to celebrate our achievements.
So if you haven’t already then find some time in the diary to get out and about with the family and enjoy the best of what’s available in Essex this Christmas.
I hope you have a wonderful December full of festive cheer.
Things To Do in Essex This Christmas
Saturday 3 December – 10am to 4pm
A Waldon Winter Wonderland – Saffron Waldon
You’ll find Father Christmas in his Grotto in the town hall and a fab gift fair too. All in aid of The Mayor’s Appeal alongside the general Saturday market.
More Info – www.saffronwalden.gov.uk
Saturday 3 December – 1pm to 2pm
Santa’s Grotto – The Naze Education and Visitor Centre
Craft activities available alongside a visit to Santa in his grotto. Booking essential with a Christmas present to take home included.
More Info – http://www.essexwt.org.uk/events/2016/12/03/santas-grotto?instance=0
Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December – 11am to 6pm
Christmas Market – Thurrock Thameside Nature Park
Set in wonderful surroundings, there will be lots of festive stalls over both days. From the Golden Voice Choir to Morris Dancing and a Youth Brass Band, you’ll find entertainment for all the family too.
Note Santa’s Grotto must be booked in advance (£6 per child).
More Info – https://www.facebook.com/EWTTTNP/
Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December – 10am to 3pm
Christmas Sparkle Gift Fair – RHS Garden Hyde Hall
Explore Hyde Hall gardens then retreat to the marquee where you’ll find an array of stalls selling inspiring gifts. Grab a some mulled wine and enjoy the Essex Chordsman singing Christmas Carols too!
More Info – https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/viewevent?EFID=13807&ESRC=CRM
Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December – 9.30am to 4.30pm
Magic of Christmas – Colchester Zoo
Colchester Zoo pulls out all the stops for festive fun this Christmas. You can meet Santa’s reindeer and join a Christmas party with the elves!
You’ll find a full timetable of events throughout each day on the website but look out for the Puss in Boots panto which is guaranteed to be fun.
Note the Magic of Christmas also takes place on 10th, 11th and 17th to 24th December.
More Info – http://www.colchester-zoo.com/visit/christmas-events/icalrepeat.detail/2016/11/26/46/-/magic-of-christmas
Saturday 10 and 11 December – 10am onwards
Christmas Special Event – Audley End Miniature Railway
Take the Santa Express deep into the woods of the Audley End Estate where you will arrive at Father Christmas’s Winter Wonderland.
Not only will you meet Santa, you’ll get the chance to visit the Craft Area to write Father Christmas a letter and create your own Christmas crafts.
More Info – https://www.audley-end-railway.co.uk/events/christmas-special
Saturday 10 and 11 December – 9.30am to 5.30pm
Big Cars Winter Wonderland Event – Witham
Ice Skating, Santa’s Grotto, Rodeo Reindeer, Chrismas Market, Firebreather, face painters and more. It’s huge!! The second annual Winter Wonderland looks set to be as successful as last year.
More Info –http://www.big-cars.co.uk/winterwonderland/
Saturday 10 and 11 December – 10.30am to 4.30pm
Magical Christmas – Cressing Temple Barns
Guided by a friendly elf, your group will explore Father Christmas’s busy Christmas base at Cressing Temple Barns. Learn the secrets of the wrapping machine, magic mailing systems and landing pad. After passing through these magical rooms, families go on the meet Father Christmas himself in his traditional Grotto with full-size sleigh ready for photos.
Booking essential and be quick as several dates are sold out.
More Info – http://www.visitparks.co.uk/places/cressing-temple
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December – see website for details
Santa Specials – Epping Ongar Railway
Festive food, sweet stalls and a fab experience awaits at North Weald Station. You may even meet Scrooge, Mother Christmas or perhaps the Grinch!
But don’t forget Father Christmas. He’ll also be on hand for photos with the train too!
Note – Santa Specials also run on the 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23 & 24 December
More Info – http://eorailway.co.uk/events/santa-specials/
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December – Various arrival times (see tickets)
Kentwells Magical Christmas – Kentwell Hall, Long Melford
Events at Kentwells are always jam packed and their Magical Christmas days are no different. There is a whole range of activities, topped off by Father Christmas in a Christmas Cottage setting.
Stick around for carol’s by lantern at the end of the day.
More Info – http://www.kentwell.co.uk/events/dickensian/dickensian-christmas
Sunday 18 December – 11am to 12.30pm
Mistletoe: A Christmas Miscellany – The Temple, Wanstead Park
The last opening day at The Temple pre-Christmas which will be filled with music, poems, songs, carols and seasonal cakes and ale. All-day crafts for children. A free event but with charges for refreshments and for the lantern making activity.
More Info – http://www.wansteadpark.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Mistletoe4.pdf
Thursday 22 December – 10.30am onwards
Winter Wonderland – Chafford Gorges Nature Park
Pop along and meet Father Christmas to receive your gift. Craft activities on the day BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL
More Info – http://www.essexwt.org.uk/events/2016/12/10/winter-wonderland?instance=35
Thursday 22 December – 10am to 12.30pm
The Big Winter Feed – Danbury Country Park
Follow the trail of socks through the park that can be filled with goodies to keep the birds of Danbury in tip top condition throughout the winter. You’ll be able to join the rest of the group around the campfire with a hot drink and feel free to take some marshmallows!
More Info – http://www.visitparks.co.uk/events/the-big-winter-feed/
Still Looking for Things to Do in Essex this Christmas?
If you are still in need of some inspiration, why not have a look at our previous blog on 15 Free Family Days Out in Essex? I’ve also pulled together a Pinterest board which may help with some indoor inspiration which you will find the blog too. Perfect for those days when the weather decides to spoil our fun.
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