Colchester Castle free open evening

PUBLISHED: 1 December 2022

Begin the festive season with Colchester Museums 

Make a trip to Colchester’s warm and inviting museums part of your Christmas festivities this year. With displays, exhibitions, and events to suit the whole family, across Colchester Museums three sites – Colchester Castle, Hollytrees Museum and the Natural History Museum – the friendly team are ready to welcome you for that perfect family trip this Christmas. 

The festivities start with Colchester Castle’s free opening evening taking place on the 7 December. Soak up the festive atmosphere while exploring over 2,000 years of history and heritage. Don’t miss the chance to discover the thought-provoking Wicked Spirits? Witchcraft + Magic exhibition before it closes on the 8 January. With choirs, mince pies and mulled wine, the evening is a great way to get in the spirit of the season! There will also be an opportunity to meet Father Christmas and his cheeky elves and receive a gift for just £5. Please be aware, this event gets busy so queuing may be in operation. 

Head to Hollytrees Museum (or should we say the North Pole Post Office!) to explore what life in Colchester was like in the past. While you’re there, encourage the younger members of the family to post that special letter to Santa in Hollytrees very own ornate Victorian post box. All they then need to do is wait for Christmas Day to see if their magical wishes have come true. You’ll also find a Giving Tree in the hallway of this gorgeous Georgian mansion. The tree is adorned with QR code baubles which you can scan to support the Giving Tree appeal, in association with the Colchester Foodbank. Donations will go towards buying presents for local children who may not otherwise receive any, so any support that can be given is appreciated. 

You can settle down in this family friendly museum on the 22 and 23 December with family and friends to enjoy a festive storytelling session with Father Christmas's Elves. The stunning building is made for Christmas and with its festive decorations and cheeky elves, this promises to be a wonderful pre-Christmas treat. All children will receive a small gift. Booking not necessary, simply turn up. £3 per child, includes a small gift. 

Councillor Pam Cox, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Heritage, said: “Christmas at Colchester Museums offers families a wide range of opportunities to come and enjoy the festive season. From a free open evening, where you can explore the Castle’s many historic treasures, to meeting Father Christmas and his elves, to free entry to Hollytrees Museum and the Natural History Museum… There is something to suit all families and budgets. Christmas is a magical time of year, and we will be working hard with local organisations to ensure all families, whatever their position, can join in, and we can help spread some yuletide spirit across our new city.” 

For full details of all Christmas events please visit the website at 

Page last reviewed: 1 December 2022


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