A retail haven for Christmas shopping, plenty of party venues and heaps of exciting events, Chelmsford is the place to be…
A vibrant and cosmopolitan destination, Chelmsford offers everything you could wish for at Christmas. If you’ve not quite finished your Christmas shopping, you’ll be pleased to learn that the newly opened Bond Street Shopping Area makes a pleasant addition to the retail scene. Home to a number of high street stores and John Lewis’ first Essex-based store, you’re bound to find everything you need. The cinema will also be opening in December!
In addition, there are two further shopping centres, High Chelmer Village, the Chelmsford Retail Market and Moulsham Street, which is home to a great variety of independent stores.
Christmas shopping is also a must at Hylands Estate thanks to its collection of talented artistes and gift shops. Why not shop at the festive farmers’ market, warm up with a visit to the café, and wander around the resident artists at the Stable Visitor Centre and purchase some special gifts? Or, visit ‘The Guild of Essex Craftsmen’s Christmas Fair’ on 3-4 December between 10am-4pm. The event will be bursting with creativity thanks to the expert skills of Essex Guild Craftsmen and women. Entry costs just £3.80 for adults and £2.80 for concessions. To discover more, visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/crafts-christmas-guild-essex-craftsmen-fair.
Festive Events in Chelmsford, Essex
The culture scene in Chelmsford is buzzing year round with the likes of mainstream and independent festivals taking place throughout the summer but at Christmas it offers festive and traditional events to be enjoyed by all.
The Panto Bus’ will be rolling into the City with their interpretation of the classic children’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty in the Grand Pavilion on the 28 December at 4pm, while the Hylands’ Soiree returns on 7 and 8 December from 7.15pm for a Downton inspired festive treat. The evening will star the highly acclaimed Cameo Players and will be full of music, drama and general merriment.
Ice skating and Christmas go hand-in-hand so why not pop along to the Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre, which will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland each weekend in December. The ice rink will be adorned with Christmas decorations and a special snow machine will create a wintry feel. Elves will greet skaters and there will be live performances of Christmas carols. Surrounding the rink will be Christmas market stalls with local producers selling seasonal produce, plus a Christmas craft area and a Santa’s Grotto.
The winter wonderland will also be open for non-skaters to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the Christmas market, a mince pie and glass of mulled wine
The Winter Wonderland will be open every weekend in December (3/4, 10/11, 17/18, 24 and 31/1.Skate prices start from £8.70 per person and children can visit Santa from £5.
Santa’s Grotto will be open 10am to noon and 2.30pm to 5pm – weekends and Thursday mornings up to the 24 December and will cost £5 for skaters and £8.50 for non-skaters.
If music is more your style make sure you visit the Cramphorn Studio every Wednesday at 1pm for its new season of free-of-charge lunchtime concerts.
On 7 December ‘This, That and The Other’ will offer an eclectic mix of music for single reeds and the piano, and will feature Penny Rich, Kevin Simpson and Jeffrey Wilson on the stage, while on 14 December jazz artists Annie Forrester-Muir and Pamela Campanelli make a welcomed return.
‘The Lunchtime Xmas Party’ will be on 21 December at 1pm and will feature jazz-musician Jeffrey Wilson leading a rhythm section and soloists, who will be serving up some tasty cheesy Christmas musical quotes!
To discover more about the lunchtime concert series, visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/theatres.
There’s lots more on the line up as Belshazzars Feast bring their Christmas themed folk show to the Cramphorn Studio on Thursday 22 December and the critically acclaimed Bolshoi Ballet’s screening of ‘The Nutcracker’ on Sunday 18 December.
Festive Food and Drink
December is a great time to get together with friends and family for a festive lunch or evening out, and you’ll be spoilt for choice in Chelmsford. The latest additions to the Chelmsford food scene include the popular burger chain Byron, and Jamaica Blue at the new Bond Street development; the second to open in the UK (there’s also another in Cambridge), it offers a sophisticated café dining experience.
Further out of town in Howe Street, the Galvin Green Man has been given a £3 million makeover, which sees the pub restored to its former glory, whilst the addition of a glass roofed 90 cover dining room will bring the pub right up to date. With acclaimed Michelin-starred chefs and restaurateurs Chris and Jeff Galvin at the helm, its sure to be a hit among diners during the festive season.