Festive things to do in Essex November 2021

Glow illuminations at RHS Garden Hyde Hall. December 2020

See RHS Garden Hyde Hall all aglow - Credit: RHS Images

Essex Life rounds up the best events and family things to do in the county, this November, and this month takes on a festive feel...

Genie lamp and Aladdin on a magic carpet

The Mercury will take us on a magic carpet ride - Credit: Mercury Theatre

Aladdin, Mercury Theatre

Mercury Theatre is taking families on a magic carpet ride this year (oh yes, it is!) with its magical pantomime Aladdin. Join the hilarious, fun-packed ride and journey to distant shores where penniless Aladdin dreams of winning the heart of rebellious Princess Jasmine. The theatre’s award-winning panto dames, Antony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville are back to release their own brand of panto madness on unsuspecting audiences! Join the hilarious, fun-packed ride from November 27 to January 16. Tickets from £15. 

When: November 27 to January 16

Address: Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT

Cost: £15

Website: mercurytheatre.co.uk 

Essex Festive Gift & Food Show 

Most Read

Get your present list ticked off at one of the county’s biggest Christmas shopping events. You can browse 250 stalls at the indoor venue, which will be brimming with presents for all the family as well as delicious food and drink.  

When: November 6 and 7  

Address: Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, CM15 9NN

Cost: From £5

Website: essexfestiveshow.co.uk

Merry Christmas decorated wooden table with post mail letters envelopes and gifts boxes, presents wi

Marsh Farm will transport families to the North Pole - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Marsh Farm's North Pole

Not content with Essex? Families can get special access to the North Pole courtesy of Marsh Farm. First stop is the Elf Academy, followed by a flurry of surprises in the Snow Show and something delicious from Mother Christmas’ kitchen. Of course, the man himself will be there for the kids to meet before making their own furry friend in the Teddy Bear Market. Back at the farm, there are festive rides, an ice-skating rink and the chance to meet the animals. 

When: November 13 to December 24

Address: Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT

Cost: From £35

Website: marshfarm.co.uk

Christmas Craft Fair 

Returning to Foakes Hall for the 11th year, this craft fair will feature more than 30 artists and makers selling their contemporary and vintage-inspired wares. Ideal for getting your present list ticked off early, you’ll also have the opportunity to discuss commissioned pieces with stallholders. 

When: November 6 

Address: Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow, CM6 1DG

Cost: Free entry

Website: wearehandmade.co.uk

Enlightened Events returns to Hylands Estate Chelmsford

Be enlightened at Hylands Estate - Credit: Enlightened Events

Enlightened light trail, Hylands Estate

Enlightened returns to Hylands Estate this year along with a longer route and lots more magical light installations. The grounds of the Chelmsford landmark will be transformed into an illuminated light trail for the whole family. Expect plenty of mesmerising and picture-perfect moments along this specially designed route. Refreshments and catering will be available to purchase along the trail.

When: November 26 to January 2

Address: Hylands Estate, CM2 8FS 

Cost: From £8

Website: enlightenedmoments.co.uk

Father Christmas welcomes visitors to Audley End Miniature Railway

Father Christmas welcomes visitors to Audley End Miniature Railway - Credit: Audley End Miniature Railway

Santa Express at Audley End Miniature Railway

Audley End Miniature Railway’s Christmas Special is a magical family experience. Aboard the Santa Express, your driver will navigate you through the estate woodland to meet Father Christmas, visit a gingerbread house and be entertained along the way. Children will love meeting Holly the Christmas fairy, creating reindeer food and writing letters to Father Christmas. The adults will enjoy the delights of the café and staying snug in the tipi tents! Booking is required and the events run from November 20 to December 24.   

When: November 20 to December 24

Address: Audley End Road, Audley End, Saffron Walden, CB11 4JB

Cost: From £18/free

Website: audley-end-railway.co.uk

Hadleigh Choral Society performance 

Cross over to Suffolk and you can enjoy the Hadleigh Choral Society’s performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria in D and Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G. Along with the choir, the programme will feature professional soloists Zoë Brookshaw (soprano), Laura Smith (mezzo-soprano), Tom Smith (tenor), and Owain Browne (baritone) and the Colchester Symphony Orchestra. 

When: November 20 

Address: St Mary’s Church, Hadleigh, IP7 5DT 

Cost: £15/free

Website: hadleighchoralsociety.org.uk 

Glow illuminations at RHS Garden Hyde Hall. December 2020

See RHS Garden Hyde Hall all aglow - Credit: RHS Images

Festive light trail at RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Wrap up warm and gather family and friends for an enchanting event on the Glow twinkling light trail at RHS Garden Hyde Hall. The route will wind through your favourite areas of the garden as you take in shrubs awash with colourful lights, trees lit up against the night sky and dazzling sculptures. Hungry? You can get some tasty treats from the festive German-style stalls such as mulled wine, spiced apple juice and hot chocolate. The gift shop is also a great place to grab some stocking-fillers. 

When: November 10 to January 1

Address: Creephedge Lane, Chelmsford CM3 8ET

Cost: £7.95/£12.95 member/non-member

Website: rhs.org.uk 


Burnham-on-Crouch Farmers and Artisan Market

Get stocked up on the freshest food and local produce straight from the people who know it best. Held every third Sunday of the month from 9am to 12.30pm, stalls include fresh meat, fish, bread, homemade pies and cakes, honey, fruit and veg and other local products. 

When: November 21 and December 19

Address: Burnham Village Hall, CM0 8EF 

Cost: Free entry

Website: facebook.com/burnhamfarmersmarket 

The Light Fantastic at the Epping Ongar Railway

All aboard the Light Fantastic - Credit: Epping Ongar Railway

Light Fantastic, Epping Ongar Railway

All aboard the Light Fantastic for a wonderful experience of lights and music on the Epping Ongar Railway. Featuring a wonderful show to highlight the line’s stations, rural setting and woodlands, the whole experience can be seen from the comfort of a train carriage. Starting at North Weald, the magical story unfolds as you step on board with festive music and fantastic illuminations in a night to remember. 

When: November 19 to January 9

Address: Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT

Cost: £20

Website: eorailway.co.uk 

Festive Fayre at Barleylands, Billericay

With less than a month to go until the big day, Barleylands Village Studios will open its door to show everything it has to offer from art and craft workshops to personalised gifts and accessories. There will also be a small range of craft, gift and food stalls. Entry from 10am to 4pm

When: November 27 and 28 

Address: Barleylands, Billericay, CM11 2UD 

Cost: Free entry

Website: https://www.barleylands.co.uk/

Like what you read? Why not subscribe to Essex Life