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  • Essex Parks

FREE Festive things to do at Essex Parks!

Chistmas is right around the corner! There are plenty of events happening across Essex to spread the Christmas spirit in Essex. You don't need spend a lot of money to make memories this Christmas. Here at Parks fo Essex we have put together a list of free and low cost things to do at parks across Essex this Christmas.

Read on for some inspiration of free and low cost things to do with children in Essex this Christmas.


Feed the Deer

Open all year

Weald Country Park, CM14 5QS ⁣

You can find an enclosed deer park, close to the car park and visitor centre at Weald country Park. The friendly herd can be fed via feeding funnels or by holding fruit and vegetables through the fence. The deer love chopped fruit (not citrus) and vegetables, but please do not feed them bread or meat. Food for feeding the deer and ducks can also be bought from the visitor’s centre which is located by the car park, for £1 per bag.

Whilst you are at Weald you can also check out the Stick Man Trail, which was revamped in Summer 2023!

2nd December, 11am - 3pm

High Woods Country Park, CO4 5JR

Download the app to discover facinating facts about the wild inhabitants of the park and have a go at the wildlife crazy quiz. Suitable for all age groups including adults but if you are 5 or under there is a simpilifed version available as well. Drop in. FREE via the App or £1 for a printed version

6th December, 3pm - 8.30pm

Colchester Castle, Castle Park, CO1 1UG

Soak up the festive atmosphere whilst seeing over 2,000 years of amazing history. With the Castle decked out in Christmas cheer, it promises to be a great way to get in the spirit of the season! FREE! There will also be an optional opportunity to meet Father Christmas and receive a small gift for just £5.

9th December, 12 - 4pm

Hadleigh Park, SS7 2PP

The Christmas Market returns to the Hub Café at Hadleigh Park. There will be twinkling lights, locally crafted festive food, artisan gifts, free family activities, Santa in his Grotto, small animals from the Rare Breeds Centre and a candlelit sing-along at 3pm with the Salvation Army Hadleigh Temple Band. The Hub Café will be serving a special seasonal menu. FREE!

9th December 2023, 10am - 12pm

Wat Tyler Country Park, SS16 4UH

Competitions and santas Grotto. Raising money for Magic Makers Charity. FREE entry for all.

16th November - 31st December

Belhus Woods Country Park, RM15 4XJ Cudmore Grove, CO5 8UE

Danbury Country Park, CM3 4AW

Hadleigh Country Park, SS7 2PP

Great Notley Country Park, CM77 7FS

Thorndon Country Park, CM13 3RZ Weald Country Park, CM14 5QS

Pick up or download a free Animal Mysteries Trail this festive season. Find and count the winter animals hiding in the park and discover the magic number to enter our prize draw to win an Explorer Pass.

17th December, 10am - 3pm

Thames Chase, RM14 3NS

Christmas Carols, School Brass Orchestra, Christmas Eve Box Decorating (fee payable), Harpist, Handbellsand a special visitor from the North Pole. There will be a selection of stalls and arts and crafts


16th - 24th December

High Woods Country Park, CO4 5JR

Follow the map looking for pictures which will help you answer your trail sheet and bring it back to the visitor centre when you are done for a small treat. Drop in anytime between 11am and 3pm. £1

2nd December - 7th January

Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve, CO5 7DN

Santa's reindeer are hiding round the reserve, explore and see if you can find them!  Answer their wintery questions for a little prize. Drop in, every December weekend and school holiday day until 7th January. £3

16th December - 7th January Abberton Reservoir, CO2 0EU

The Christmas doors are going back out around the reserve this festive period. Come find them, open them up and answer the new questions inside. Once your finished return to the centre to collect your prize.

No booking required. Just visit the front desk on arrival to purchase your trail sheet. Trail will be running throughout the holidays except Christmas Day and Boxing Day when the centre will be closed. £3

Don't forget to check the Park Directory for more park inspiration -


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