Christmas in Essex 2021: Concerts and carol services

(c) Crosbygrisu, Thinkstock

(c) Crosbygrisu, Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Full of festive charm and warmth, a Christmas concert will most likely leave you filled with the festive warm and fuzzies. Here's Essex Life's guide to the best in the county...


1. The Christmas Carol Experience

Devised in 2016, and performed yearly since to sell-out audiences, this 'characterfully narrated and wonderfully sung' retelling of the much-loved festive tale A Christmas Carol will leave you overflowing with festive cheer. With a cast of seven performers - one narrator and six vocalists - the story is brought vividly to life from the wonderful original text. 

The 'outstanding musical direction' of Adam Saiz-Abo Henriksen offers a diverse selection of songs and hymns to accompany the narrative, from the 16th century sacred carol Gaudete, via popular Christmas songs such as We Wish You a Merry Christmas, to contemporary adaptations of well-known classics. 

The narrative of the tale is performed by Joseph Alexander Rawlings, whose 'embodiment of each character is spellbinding' and brings the text alive with charm and enthusiasm. 

Where and when: 

St Gregory’s Church, Sudbury – Monday December 13 

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St Mary’s Church, Wix – Thursday December 16 

Wimpole Road Church in aid of GO4 Café on the Rec – Friday December 17 

Price: £12.50 

Website: thechristmascarolexperience.co.uk 


2. Handel’s Messiah at Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden 

Saffron Hall will be filled with the beautiful sound of Handel’s Messiah on December 18 at 7.30pm. Composed in 1741, it has a special place in many people’s hearts over the Christmas period, and perhaps more so after a year without the triumphant Hallelujah chorus ringing out. Britten Sinfonia orchestra will provide an intimate performance, alongside rising-star soloists such as Jess Dandy, who featured in this year's First Night of the Proms. They’ll all be joined by conductor David Watkin and the Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge. 

When: Saturday, December 18

Time: 7.30pm

Cost: From £10

Address: Audley End Road, Saffron Walden CB11 4UH

Website: saffronhall.com 


3. Essex Christmas Concert at St Botolph's Church, Colchester

Following a year's hiatus, ABF The Soldiers' Charity brings back its annual Charity Christmas Concert. The British Army Band Colchester performs a selection of Christmas favourites and some carols as well. 

When: December 2

Time: 7.30pm

Cost: £12

Address: St Botolph’s Street, Colchester, CO2 7EE

Website: soldierscharity.org


4. A Very Merry Christmas Concert at Mercury Theatre, Colchester 
Start warming up those vocal chords for some as Mercury Theatre, Colchester hosts its A Very Merry Christmas Concert. Don’t worry, you don’t need the voice of Mariah Carey, everyone is welcome to attend. The free concert includes seasonal songs - who doesn’t love a rousing rendition of Oh Come All Ye Faithful, readings and memorable performances from the Mercury team and panto cast. A festive treat for all the family.

When: December 16

Time: 5pm

Cost: Free

Address: Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT 

Website: mercurytheatre.co.uk


5. Carols for Everyone at Chelmsford Cathedral, Chelmsford

Between December 15 and 23 there will be a number of different carol services and readings from a range of sources including the Girls’ Choir and the Cathedral Choir. There are even a couple of services taking place during the day where you can enjoy a mulled wine and mince pies on your lunch break. This includes Carols for Kids and Carols for Everyone. This popular service includes 45 minutes of readings and familiar carols.  

When: December 15-23

Time: Time vary

Cost: Free

Address: New Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1TY

Website: chelmsfordcathedral.org.uk


6. Big Band at Christmas at Witham Public Hall, Witham

Swing into Christmas with the Five Star Swing Band at Witham Public Hall. All your favourite festive songs will be given the big-band treatment, from Frank Sinatra to Nat King Cole. 

When: December 5

Time: 7.30pm

Cost: £17.50

Address: Collingwood Road, Witham, CM8 2DY

Website: withampublichall.co.uk 


7. Christmas Crooners at Witham Public Hall, Witham

Set your Christmas vibes to smooth with this afternoon filled with timeless classics from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin. Performed by Jeff Short, the show will also include a tribute to the film White Christmas. 

When: December 14

Time: 2pm

Cost: £12

Address: Collingwood Road, Witham, CM8 2DY

Website: withampublichall.co.uk


8. Carol Concerts at Copped Hall, Epping Forest

Copped Hall is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking views that Essex has to offer and they are made only more beautiful during the frosty winter months. This year the Georgian Mansion is opening its doors to host four different Christmas themed carol evenings from groups such as The Copped Hall Choir and the Writtle Singers. There will be mince pies and non-alcoholic punch included with the ticket.

When: December 4-5

Time: 3pm

Cost: £12

Address: Epping CM16 5HS

Website: coppedhalltrust.org.uk


9. Christmas Memories at Queen's Theatre Hornchurch, Hornchurch

Neil Sands and co are back with an afternoon filled with festive nostalgia, taking audience members on a warm and fuzzy Christmas journey with a glittering set and more than 60 Christmas classics and carols. 

When: November 28

Time: 1.30pm

Cost: £14

Address: Billet Lane, Hornchurch, RM11 1QT

Website: queens-theatre.co.uk


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