Best Christmas Markets in Essex 2020

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If there was ever a year we needed Christmas cheer, it’s this one! It’s fair to say this hasn’t been the greatest few months for anyone but, being the cheerful festive fairy that I am, I predict a jolly stroll around the best Christmas markets in Essex 2020 or a trip to a fun Essex Christmas event, will get you in the mood to celebrate.

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 top up on Christmas cheer.

(Cover image: David Geitgey Sierralupe)

CHRISTMAS Markets in ESSEX IN TIER 2: UPDATE

Since our list was compiled, the government announced a new Covid-19 tier system and a nationwide lockdown for the UK and the majority of Essex (with the exception of Thurrock and Southend) is now in the tier 2 classification. Thurrock and Southend are currently exempt because they are run by unitary authorities and do not come under the restrictions of a local council. Sadly, this has affected some of the Essex Christmas markets on our list, with some closing indefinitely and some temporarily. We will keep this page updated with the most accurate information as often as possible in the spirit of spreading Christmas cheer! POST TO BE FULLY UPDATED ON 27TH NOVEMBER 2020 after the renewed government update.

The best Christmas markets in Essex 2020

We have put together a list of the best Christmas markets in Essex 2020, where you can shop for gifts and decorations, meet Santa, take part in 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:

Braxted Park Christmas Market 2020

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

Where: Braxted Park (Use postcode: CM8 3EN)
When: 27th November 2020
Outside or inside: Inside
Entry fee: Adult £6, Children FREE.

Kicking off proceedings with a big one. One of the lovelier Christmas markets in Essex, Braxted Park Christmas Market is hosted at the Braxted Park historic country house. The festivities begin on Friday 27th November at 4pm with live entertainment and a special Christmas light switch on ceremony at 7.30pm. 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 BUT TICKETS ARE ON SALE FOR 2021 christmasatbraxtedpark.com/

Meadow Croft Garden Centre German Market

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

Where: Battlesbridge / Wickford (Use postcode SS11 7QU)
When: Open from 22nd October 2020
Outside or inside: Both
Entry fee: FREE

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!

UPDATE: This event IS STILL SCHEDULED TO GO AHEAD. Open seven-days a week with late night opening on Thursdays until 8pm. Hot food is served in the from 10am – 4pm daily so you can feast on freshly-made belgian waffles, bratwurst, kaesewurst and sauerkraut.
meadow-croft.co.uk

Colchester Town Hall Christmas Market 2020

kids christmas quiz
(Image: Shutter Fotos/Flickr)

Where: Colchester (Use postcode: C01 1PJ)
When: 5th and 6th December 2020
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. It’s on for just one weekend, 10-5pm, and due to Covid-19 social distancing measures, (free) tickets do need to be booked in advance.

UPDATE: This event IS STILL SCHEDULED TO GO AHEAD
colchester-events.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: 6th November
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)

UPDATE: This event HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED but you can see some of the independent retailers for 2020 at wearehandmade.co.uk

Christmas Frost Fair at Hylands House 2020

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

Where: Chelmsford (Use postcode: CM2 8WQ)
When: 27th – 29th November 2020
Outside or inside: Both
Entry fee: £6 Adults, Children (under 16) free.

Hylands House, home to V Festival, also hots a smaller (but definitely better for Christmas shopping) craft festival in November. It might be smaller than the famous festival but it’s one of the biggest Christmas markets in Essex, with over 150 stalls and exhibitors. The Christmas Frost Fair has a Santa’s Grotto*, 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.
*Social distance rules permitting

UPDATE: Sadly, the organisers have now confirmed that the Frost Fair will NOT BE HELD IN 2020 due to Covid-19.
battenburgevents.co.uk

Local Makers Market, Wanstead

Where: Christchurch Hall, Wanstead (Use postcode: E11 2SW)
When: 5th December 2020
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 -4pm, there is also a pop-up vegan cafe, featuring surprisingly delicious handmade cakes and snacks. Check out the talented baker, Heron’s Nest Cakes.

UPDATE: THIS EVENT IS STILL SCHEDULED TO GO AHEAD
localmakers.uk/

Maldon High Street Vintage Fair 2020

essex christmas markets
Vintage Christmas ornaments (Image: Roadsidepictures)

Where: High Street, Maldon (Use postcode: CM9 5PJ)
When: TBC
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 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.

UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS SADLY BEEN CANCELLED but is set to relaunch in 2021
visitmaldon.co.uk

Billericay High Street Charity Market

Where: Billericay High Street (Use postcode: CM12 9AS)
When: 6th 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 last year. 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.

UPDATE: This is event is sadly now CANCELLED due to Covid-19.
billericaychristmasmarket.com

Let’s hope that, despite the pandemic, Christmas isn’t cancelled completely and we can buy some lovely gifts for our friends and families and support our neighbours and small businesses in Essex!
And of course – Merry Christmas!

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