With December in full swing and everyone seeking something festive to do, I’ve gathered together some Covid-safe Christmas Events in Essex. From virtual street markets to twinkling light displays, have a read through and get ready to feel festive…
What a strange year. What we all need is a BURST of festive feelings in the build-up to Christmas. To say the least, this year has been lack-lustre with hardly any ‘good news’ in the air. Don’t dispair as here are some fantastic Christmas events in Essex to get you in the mood for the festive season we are so swiftly entering…! As always, be careful and only attend physical events if you’re feeling well. Be sure to check out each event as I’ve included a range of options depending on how you’re feeling about the situation. There are outdoor events, ones where you can stay away from those outside of your bubble and even one you can enjoy from the comfort of your sofa!
Christmas Events in Essex 2020
Grab your diary and pencil these in…
Here’s an event I’ve really been hoping to attend! Hylands Estates in Chelmsford have hosted SO many great calendar highlights over the years, including V Festival, Friends Fest, Farmers Markets and even Outdoor Cinema events! The grade II* listed mansion house is surrounded by a wonderful woodland area and rolling fields to explore. This year, they have organised a twinkling trail of light installations throughout the grounds! From 3rd December to 30th December 2020, you can book tickets to explore the displays of glowing lights. This particular event is a ‘first’ for Hylands Estate and I’m personally hoping it’ll be similar to the Lightopia event which I absolutely loved in Chiswick House & Gardens earlier this year. With tickets for Enlightened Hylands expected to sell out quickly, you’d best book your tickets now! My thoughts on this event are that it’ll be a super safe alternative to visiting your neighbourhood’s local houses to view Christmas light displays. Perhaps I’ll see you there (from a safe distance, of course!).
Colchester Zoo is undoubtedly one of the best tourist attractions in Essex… In case you missed it, the elves at Colchester Zoo are going ahead with some of their Christmas events this year. On the 12th & 13th, 19th – 24th December and with an extensive timetable published on their website, you can book tickets to check out their ‘Magic Of Christmas’ delights. Whilst some of the events you knew and loved last year might not be happening, you and your little ones can still look forward to SO many things: a trip on the Christmas Road Train, exploring the enchanted woodland, meeting Santa’s reindeer in their stables and posting a letter in Santa’s postbox. Being one of many Essex tourist attractions which suffered greatly throughout this pandemic, supporting via going along to their Christmas events will be a great way to support Colchester Zoo!
You can even explore some magical illuminations at Colchester Zoo – Guaranteed to bring a much-needed sparkle into the year! Open until 5.30pm, the twinkling Christmas lights and life-size animals in their Merry & Bright Trail sounds incredible.
The team at Audley End really are on the ‘Nice’ list. This event is so wonderful and has been incredibly well-adapted to allow families to still meet Father Christmas and get into a much-needed, festive mood. The tickets-only event will see you embark on a Santa Express train journey, winding through the Estate woodland areas. Upon arrival at Winter Wonderland, your little ones will meet Father Christmas himself (and not forgetting his Elves!). This event even includes a gift for the children and a very special Christmas dance to see! There is SO much to do including making reindeer food, visiting the café and nesting in their cosy, new ti-pis. There’s also an interactive show and a letter-writing activity amongst so many other things. The team have really pulled it out the bag and ensured that all the wonderful things about Christmas as a child can absolutely still go ahead. I highly recommend you book your tickets NOW!
To complete your festive feelings, have a look at this Christmassy book written by sisters Amanda and Emma Neville – They are the daughters of the gentleman who founded Audley End’s Miniature Railway!
Nightflix Drive-In Cinema
The famous drive-in cinema is back and showing lots of festive favourites! With Colchester being one of their 6 locations, you can park up with your bubbled companions and enjoy a movie safe in the knowledge you won’t be mixing with anyone else. Pack the car full of goodies or pick up some snacks on the way – The Colchester venue is also offering lots of lovely things on their menu so you can order some food to be delivered to your car whilst you’re there. The hardest part is deciding WHICH movie to go for… Elf, The Polar Express, Home Alone, Die Hard, Love Actually, The Nightmare Before Christmas… The list is sooo extensive, your Christmas fav is bound to be on their big screen! You’ll tune into the audio via your car’s FM radio system and I hear it’s all being so well organised – Perhaps the best option if you’re looking for a super Covid-safe way to feel festive with your bubble-mates.
Virtual Street Market
On the 19th December, you can ‘attend’ Braintree District Council’s ‘Virtual Street Market’. The street market in Braintree has been revamped so much over the past few years with a lot of care and attention going into it – So many new and wonderful stallholders are added to their offering and they’ve been continuing the success through virtual events. I just love how, despite the pandemic, BDC are continuing their support for small businesses and giving the local economy a much-needed boost too. Based on Facebook, sellers apply to post their wares on the page meaning quality is always assured – They don’t let just anyone ‘stroll’ into the virtual market! The final event for 2020 is coming up in just over a week so keep your eyes peeled.
If you do attend one of the physical events, don’t forget to maintain social distancing and only venture out if you’re feeling well! And, of course, there are still plenty of things to do virtually – Remember?!
Don’t forget you can also discover some small businesses to support ahead of Christmas through my Shop Small Gift Ideas posts:
Edition 1: Sunday 22nd November 2020
Edition 2: Sunday 29th November 2020
Edition 3: Sunday 6th December 2020
Edition 4: Sunday 13th December 2020 (UPCOMING!)
Edition 5: Sunday 20th December 2020 (UPCOMING!)
Are you planning on attending any Christmas events in Essex this year? Do let me know where you’re heading or if you’re more comfortable staying in with a mulled cider and a mince pie whilst visiting a virtual event…
NOTE – ALL EVENT TIMINGS, DATES AND OFFERINGS WERE CORRECT AT THE TIME OF WRITING.