Things to do in Essex at Christmas

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We pick the best Christmas days out it in Essex. Enjoy a family Christmas days out in Essex. Cheer along to a pantomime, tuck into festive afternoon tea, browse a Christmas market or get creative at a Christmas workshop.

Down hall snow
Christmas at Down Hall

Peter Pan, 29 November – 5 January

Civic Theatre, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford CM1 1JG

Fly with Peter, Wendy, John and Michael to Neverland and meet the brave Lost Boys, the fearsome Tiger Lily and friendly Smee as Peter Pan takes on his old enemy – the dashing but villainous Captain Hook and his band of dastardly pirates.  A classic family pantomime!

Festive Afternoon Tea, throughout December

Down Hall Hotel & Spa, Matching Road, Hatfield Heath, Essex CM22 7AS

Bedecked in Christmas lights and decorations, the dining rooms at Down hall are the setting for a delicious limited-edition festive afternoon tea. The tea will include seasonal finger sandwiches such as truffled egg mayonnaise and ham with whole grain mustard, rich stilton and fig tarts, buttery scones dotted with ruby red cranberries, and a crowning tier of chocolate yule log, mulled wine cheesecake and rich Christmas fruit cake.


On Sundays throughout December, afternoon tea service will be accompanied by soothing melodies from Down Hall’s talented resident pianist. Perfect for big and little elves! Festive afternoon tea is served daily throughout December, Monday to Sunday from 1pm– 5.30pm. Tea is priced at £35 per adult, £17.50 per child Monday to Saturday, and £40 per adult, £2 per child on Sundays.

Enchanted at Audley End House, 5-30 December

Audley End House and Gardens, Saffron Walden

The garden of the estate will be transformed into a multi-coloured, dazzling display of lights. Follow the trail through the forest, decorated with colourful and moving light displays, including interactive ‘morse code’ trees which visitors can light up at the touch of a button. Don’t miss the stunning grandeur of the house, which for the first time will be lit in up in a colourful and dramatic display. At the end of the visit warm up with a mulled wine or hot chocolate.

Bubbles and Baubles, 6 December

Colchester Castle Museum, Castle Park, Colchester, CO1 1TJ

Be inspired by glamour from the past this Christmas. Entertaining tours, led by experts, will guide you through the Adorn Exhibition. Sip your favourite festive tipple while you create a unique decoration that will make your Christmas tree sparkle.

Christmas Starlight Night, 7, 14, 21 & 22 December

Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester, CO3 0SL

There’s plenty of Christmas fun at the zoo, including Santa’s beautiful reindeer, crafts at the Elves’ Workshop, a Christmas tale and lots more! The extended opening hours will give you more time to enjoy the fantastic events as the festivities continue beneath the twinkling Christmas lights!

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, 7 December – 1 January

Princes Theatre, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, CO15 1SE

Prepare yourselves for a laugh-a-minute all-singing, all-dancing rollercoaster ride through panto land. › Leisure › Princes Theatre

Leigh on Sea Winter Fayre, 7 December

Leigh Community Centre, 71-73 Elm Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 1SP

A small fair created to support and help local businesses, community groups and charities. There will be a selection of gifts and festive items for sale.

Ghost Stories for Christmas, 8 December

City Centre, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 6FD

Enjoy the feeling of being slightly chilled and delighted as you listen to ghost stories by candlelight. Expect the intimate surroundings of to be the perfect venue to enjoy an evening ghost stories from the masters of the genre.

The Christmassey Christmas show of Christmassy Christmasness, 8 December

Palace Theatre, 430 London Rd, Southend-on-Sea, Westcliff-on-Sea SS0 9LA

‘The Christmassy Christmas Show of Christmassy Christmasness!’ is an over-stuffed stocking of seasonal surprises crammed with puppets, songs, quizzes and comedy, and over-flowing with crazy characters, silly slapstick, tall tales and fantastic facts – all presented in that unique Squashbox style!

Christmas Motown Special, 15, 21 & 22 December

Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend, SS0 7RA

Let the heartbeat of American music be your soundtrack this Christmas! Take yourself to the Swinging 60s with our live Soul and Motown act performing classics from the likes of Diana Ross & The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.



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