Best Christmas Markets in Essex 2023

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Hurrah! Tis the season for festive cheer and I can’t wait to start hearing the jolly tunes and planning my Xmas list. From November, all the wonderful 2023 Christmas markets in Essex will reopen and heading to a fun Essex Christmas event, will get you in the spirit.

Not only do Christmas markets support local businesses and sellers, they also give you the opportunity to find unique and homemade gifts for your friends and family. A hand-painted bauble or a lovingly-knitted Christmas jumper feels a lot more personal than the usual flood of forgettable and generic Christmas gifts. At the very least, you can enjoy a home-baked mince pie with a creamy hot chocolate and use the opportunity to kick off your Christmas cheer.

(Cover image: David Geitgey Sierralupe)

The best Christmas markets in Essex 2023

We have put together a list of the best Christmas markets in Essex 2023, where you can shop for gifts and decorations, meet Santa, take part in Essex Christmas activities or just sit back with a warm mulled wine (for over 18s, of course!) and soak up the atmosphere. We’ve looked all across the county for the big crowd pleasing events to the smaller, craft-led pop-ups and these are our Christmas favourites:

Meadow Croft Garden Centre German Market in Essex

german christmas market uk
German sausages for all! (Image: Garry Knight)

Where: Battlesbridge / Wickford (Use postcode SS11 7QU)
When: 14th September to 24th December 2023
Outside or inside: Both
Entry fee: FREE and tickets are not required

This German-style market hosts 30+ stalls, packed with delicately crafted gifts. We spotted everything from Christmas ornaments and candles to authentic cuckoo clocks, and beautiful handmade woolly hats and gloves. The organisers have also travelled to Germany to source products that you would usually find in traditional German Christmas markets to make you feel like you travelled over to celebrate the Weihnachten, despite the dreaded Coronavirus.

Festive lovers note – this year, you can sample traditional gluhwein (authentic mulled wine) to take home and pretend to your friends and family that you made yourself, gift-packed authentic German beers, and the (now) famous Meadowcroft Kurz and Lang bratwurst sausages to take home and enjoy as you get cosy and watch Home Alone. Perfect!

Open seven-days a week 9am-5pm (4pm on Sunday). Hot food is served in the from 10am – 4pm daily so you can feast on freshly-made belgian waffles, bratwurst, kaesewurst and sauerkraut.

For children, Meadow Croft also have a popular Character Breakfast with Twinkle the Elf. This is only on selected dates and usually sells out. In 2023, the breakfasts are on 21st, 22nd and 23rd of December, and booking in advance is recommended. 
meadow-croft.co.uk

Colchester Town Hall Christmas Market 2023

kids christmas quiz
(Image: Shutter Fotos/Flickr)

Where: Colchester (Use postcode: C01 1PJ)
When: 26th November and 10th December 2023
Outside or inside: Inside
Entry fee: FREE 

This local fair attracts craft makers from around the county. It’s a less showy, more school hall-type event, but there are some top quality crafts and gifts on offer, from cards, jewellery, handmade beauty products, Christmas ornaments and personalised gifts. Everything is sourced or made locally, so a great chance to support and celebrate Essex talent. 
christmasincolchester.co.uk

We are Handmade: Christmas craft fair, Great Dunmow

christmas in London
Handmade baubles make beautiful presents (Photo: Nancy Hoang)

Where: Great Dunmow, near Braintree (Use postcode: CM6 1DG)
When: TBC
Outside or inside: Inside
Entry fee: FREE

Of all the Christmas markets in Essex, this cute event always delivers, with quality makers selling lovely handmade gifts. There are over 30 stalls to browse and many stallholders take bespoke commissions, and so this early event (taking place in November NOT December) gives shoppers the opportunity to place bespoke orders in good time for Christmas. Tea and cake is served on the day by Plum Fairy. Foakes Hall is situated just off the main High Street in the picturesque Essex market town of Great Dunmow. Related: Have you read our post on 30+ things to do in Essex? (Opens in a new tab)

wearehandmade.co.uk

Christmas at Hylands House 2022 (Christmas at the stables)

essex christmas markets
Hylands House in Chelmsford (Image: MartinC44)

Where: Chelmsford (Use postcode: CM2 8WQ)
When: 30th November, 6pm-10pm
Outside or inside: Both
Entry fee: Free.

Hylands House, home to V Festival, also hosts a smaller (but definitely better for Christmas shopping) art and craft event. Focusing on unique items that are made at Hylands by their regular creators as well as guest makers and local suppliers. There is usually live entertainment, locally reared and produced street food stalls and plenty of gift ideas and items. The park itself is huge and well worth an afternoon exploring if the weather is good. Fun fact about Hylands House: The mansion doubled up as The White House in an episode of the Netflix series, The Crown.

hylandsestate.co.uk

Essex and Suffolk County Christmas Fair – an new Essex Christmas Market for 2022

christmas movie trivia
Happy Christmas (Image: quadriman brother)

Where: Stoke by Nayland Resort (Use postcode: CO6 4PZ)
When: 20th November 10am – 5pm
Outside or inside: Inside
Entry fee: Adults £5, Children (under 14) £1

Delighted to announce a new Essex Christmas Market for 2022. The Essex & Suffolk County Christmas Fair has 70 stalls and live entertainment. Local stall holders offer a huge variety of Christmas gifts and there are food stalls from local providers offering food and drink on the large outdoor terrace area (with marquee seating). This is definitely one to get into the Christmas spirit with festive singers, as well as a live saxophonist performance to entertain the crowds on the day. Please enter the fab raffle to raise money for the local Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation.

county-events.co.uk

Local Makers Market, Wanstead

Where: Christchurch Hall, Wanstead (Use postcode: E11 2SW)
When: 3rd December 2022, 11am- 4:30pm
Outside or inside: Inside
Entry fee: FREE

Part of a collective that has events in Stoke Newington, Walthamstow and Wanstead, the Local Makers Market is a higher-end Christmas fair, with modern, curated handmade products from local designer-makers. With a definite more trendy vibe, here you can expect to find screen prints, ceramics, jewellery, homewares and textiles from a wide selection of talented artisans. Open from 11am -4:30pm, there is also a pop-up vegan cafe, featuring surprisingly delicious handmade cakes and snacks. Check out the talented baker, Heron’s Nest Cakes.

localmakers.uk/

Maldon High Street Vintage Fair 2022 (Maldon Christmas Festival)

essex christmas markets
Vintage Christmas ornaments (Image: Roadsidepictures)

Where: High Street, Maldon (Use postcode: CM9 5PJ)
When: 24th November 4pm – 9pm
Outside or inside: Outside
Entry fee: FREE

This is an Essex Christmas Market with a difference and it’s always so much fun. The themed event sees Maldon High Street lined with over 80 stalls, showcasing artisan food and drinks, and selling homemade crafts and gifts, many of them pre-loved or vintage. Many of the high street shops stay open, as well as the wide range of cafes, tea rooms, bars and restaurants. There is a santa grotto, live music and a party atmosphere, with guests invited to attend in fancy dress and members of the Maldon Drama Group giving surprise street performances as you shop.

visitmaldon.co.uk

Billericay High Street Charity Market 2022

Where: Billericay High Street (Use postcode: CM12 9AS)
When: 4th December from 11-5pm
Outside or inside: Outside
Entry fee: FREE but donations are encouraged

This fun event is hosted by Billericay Mayflower Rotary Club and raised over £45,000 for charity in 2019. The market kicks off with a Christmas parade at 11am and there are stalls, food trucks, street performers and Christmas music playing throughout the day. We love this market, more for the atmosphere than the items for sale. It has a lovely, grass roots community feel and always gets us into the spirit of Christmas.

billericaychristmasmarket.com

Braxted Park Christmas Market 2022

christmas markets in essex 2020
Braxted Park during winter (Image: braxted123/Flickr)

Where: Braxted Park (Use postcode: CM8 3EN)
When: TBC
Outside or inside: Inside
Entry fee: TBC

Braxted Park Christmas Market is hosted at the Braxted Park historic country house. The festivities usually begin in late November with live entertainment and a special Christmas light switch on ceremony. Over the weekend, expect cheerful performances from local choirs, bands and artists, with a host of family activities (such as decoration and wreath making and cooking master classes) as well as some fun children’s attractions. The food court offers freshly prepared food and drink from the surrounding areas and gifting options include, local crafts and unique items. The grounds of Braxted Park are also beautiful, so bring your boots and be sure to explore the exterior too.

UPDATE: THIS EVENT IS NOW SADLY CANCELLED INDEFINITELY. They now host a ticketed VIP Christmas Ball

Can’t wait to get into the Christmas spirit and buy some lovely gifts for our friends and family, plus support our neighbours and small businesses in Essex! And of course – Merry Christmas!

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