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Colchester Borough Council’s services over the festive period

PUBLISHED: 15 December 2020

Date issued: 15 December 2020

Residents are being reminded of the amended opening times of Colchester Borough Council services and venues this festive period.

While the key council services will continue operating over the Christmas and New Year period, the council’s main offices will be closed on Thursday 24 December and will re-open at 9am on Wednesday 30 December. They will also be closed on New Year’s Day – reopening for normal business from Monday 4 January 2021.

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
Recycling and rubbish collection days are changing slightly over the Christmas and New Year period and residents are advised to check their recycling calendars
For residents who receive a collection on a Friday (Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), recycling and rubbish collections will be collected the following Monday (28 Dec and 4 Jan). Collections on all other days will remain the same.
Collections days will return to normal on Tuesday 5 January. 
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, CO15 and CO16 on 9 January. Collections needs to be booked by midday on 8 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 on 01206 769779.

More information can be found at

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

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, Tiptree, Highwoods and Aqua Springs.
The Colchester leisure centre and spa will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, but open every other day over the festive period with restricted hours and capacity due to Coronavirus. All visitor must book online before visiting the centres. Leisure World Tiptree will close from Wednesday 23 December and Leisure World Highwoods will close from Monday 21 December. Normal opening hours will resume for all centres on Saturday 2 January 2020.

More information can be found at:

Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle will be closed over the Christmas period from Thursday 24 December to Sunday 27 December 2020. It will be open as usual from Monday 28 December and will close again for the day on Friday 1 January 2021.

More information can be found here.

The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum will be closed over the Christmas period from Thursday 24 December to Sunday 27 December 2020. The museum will be open as usual from Tuesday 29 December and will close again for the day on Friday 1 January 2021.

More information can be found here.

Visitor Information Centre
The visitor information centre will be closed over the Christmas period from Thursday 24 December to Sunday 27 December 2020. It will be open as usual from Monday 28 December and will close again for the day on Friday 1 January 2021. Hollytrees Museum will remain closed until further notice.

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 borough will be open throughout the holiday.

High Woods Country Park visitor centre is open every weekend (except 26/27 December) 10am-4pm. You can take part in two self-led trails over the weekend of the 19/20 December, 10.30am-3.30pm. A Christmas Wordsearch Trail for 4 to 8 year-olds and a 12 Days of Christmas Quiz Trail for 7 to 11 year-olds. Grab your trail sheet from the visitor centre for just £1 (per sheet). There's no need to book, but please bring your own pen or pencil to complete.

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 23 December. 

The High Street Market will continue to operate every Friday and Saturday, except for Christmas Day.

A pop-up Christmas Market is at Firstsite, open now until Wednesday 23rd December. 

More information about Colchester Market can be found here
St John’s Car Park will be closed from 7pm on 24 December until 5.30am on 26 December and vehicles will not be able to enter or exit the car park during this period. Details of alternative nearby car parks, including Britannia, Priory Street and Vineyard Street, 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.
For further information about parking and travel in Colchester, visit

Colchester Borough Homes
Office opening times are as follows:

  • 24-29 December: Closed
  • 30-31 December: Open
  • 1 January Closed
  • 4 January Open

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

Cllr Mark Cory, the Leader of Colchester Borough 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 – just as they have been throughout this extremely challenging year.

“I’m immensely grateful to council staff for the work they do all year round to deliver frontline services on behalf of residents and businesses across the borough. It’s during the Christmas and New Year period when their commitment and dedication can often be seen and appreciated the most.

“On behalf of the council, I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and best wishes for a safe and brighter year to come.”

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2020


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