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Colchester City Council’s services over the festive period

PUBLISHED: 9 December 2022

Residents are being reminded of the amended opening times of Colchester City Council services and venues this festive period.
While key council services will continue operating over the Christmas and New Year period, the council’s main offices will be closed on Friday, 23 December and will re-open at 9am on Thursday 29 December. They will also be closed on New Year’s Day – reopening for normal business from Tuesday, 3 January 2023.
To find out more information about all the council’s services, visit
Residents wishing to access council services via their online account will be able to do so 24-hours a day over Christmas at This is the place to set up a Direct Debit quickly and easily, check Council Tax, apply for a Single Person Discount and switch to e-billing. Housing Benefit recipients can also view their entitlement, check correspondence and the income on a claim.
The key information and dates of council services over the Christmas period are as follows…
Recycling and rubbish collections 
Garden waste collections across Colchester will pause for two weeks over the festive period. There will be no collections between Tuesday, 27 December and Friday, 6 January. Find out more here: Christmas and New Year collections

As collection days will remain the same across the city, residents are advised to put their recycling and rubbish out by 7am on their normal collection day. Any resident needing to check what to put out can view their recycling calendar online

Information about Essex County Council’s Shrub End Recycling Centre opening times and items accepted can be found here.  
If you are looking to recycle your real Christmas tree following the festive period, you can ask St Helena Hospice to take it away for a small donation. This year, they will be collecting trees from properties in CO1-CO9, CO11, and CO13 to CO16 on Saturday, 7 January 2023. Collections need to be booked by midday on 2 January. More information can be found here.

The emergency alarm, response and monitoring service, Helpline, will operate 24 hours-a-day, as normal, during the Christmas and New Year period, providing support and equipment for elderly and vulnerable residents.

Helpline users can contact the service, or find out more at or by calling 01206 769779.
Leisure World
Residents looking to burn off the extra calories consumed over Christmas, de-stress in the spa or who want to make the most of the school holidays will find plenty to do at Leisure World Colchester, Aqua Springs, and the Colchester Sports Park.

These venues will be closed on Christmas Day, the 26 December and New Year's Day, but open every other day over the festive period. Leisure World Tiptree and Leisure World Highwoods will close from Saturday, 24 December and reopen on 3 January.
Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle will be closed over the Christmas period from Saturday, 24 December to Tuesday, 27 December. It will be open as usual from Wednesday, 28 December and will close again for the day on Sunday 1 January 2022.
More information can be found here.

The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum will be closed over the Christmas period from Saturday, 24 December to Tuesday, 27 December. The museum will be open as usual from Wednesday, 28 December and will close again for the day on New Year’s Day.
More information can be found here.

Visitor Information Centre
The Visitor Information Centre and Hollytrees Museum will be closed over the Christmas period from Saturday, 24 December to Tuesday, 27 December. They will be open as usual from Wednesday, 28 December until Saturday, 31 December and will reopen on Monday, 2 January.

Parks and open spaces
If you’re planning to blow away the cobwebs and take a traditional festive stroll on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day – Castle Park, High Woods Country Park and nature reserves across the City will be open throughout the holiday.

High Woods Country Park visitor centre closes on Friday 23rd December at 1.00 pm. It will remain closed over the Christmas period from Saturday, 24 December to Thursday, 29th December. It will be open as usual on, Friday 30th December between 10.00am and 1pm, but will be closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The visitor centre will then reopen on Monday, 2 January, from 10am to 1pm.

Colchester Cemetery grounds and Garden of Remembrance will be open as usual on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, but the Book of Remembrance Room and Prayer Room will be closed. There will be restricted cremations and burials between Christmas and New Year.
More information can be found here.
Colchester Market
Colchester Market will take place seven-days a week on Culver St East and West until Christmas Eve, and for late night shopping every Wednesday from 10am to 9pm, up to and including 21 December. 
The High Street Market will continue to operate every Friday and Saturday, except for Christmas Day. 

More information about Colchester Market can be found here
St John’s Car Park will be closed from 7pm on 24 December until 5am on 26 December and vehicles will not be able to enter or exit the car park during this period. Details of all the city centre car parks, can be found here.
All other car parks remain open and will be operating as usual over the festive period and customers are encouraged to use MiPermit to make contactless payments.
Further information about parking and travel in Colchester can be found here.

Colchester Borough Homes
Office opening times are as follows:
23-28 December: Closed
29-30 December: Open
1-2 January Closed
The Greenstead Housing Office will be closed on 29 December.

Customer Services: 01206 282514
For emergency repairs, please call 01206 282514

For anyone who finds themselves homeless or threatened with homelessness over Christmas, more information can be found here.

Cllr David King, the Leader of Colchester City Council, said: “While most residents will be celebrating the festive season, we will be ensuring the key services people need and rely upon are available.
“I’m immensely grateful to council staff for the work they do and have continued to do throughout another extremely challenging year, delivering frontline services on behalf of residents and businesses across the city and supporting some of our most vulnerable residents through the cost-of-living crisis. It’s during the Christmas and New Year period when their hard work and dedication can often be seen and appreciated the most.
“On behalf of the council, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and best wishes for a healthy and happy year to come.”

Page last reviewed: 9 December 2022


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