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Colchester Borough Council’s services over the festive period

PUBLISHED: 15 December 2021

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 Friday, 24 December and will re-open at 9am on Thursday 30 December. They will also be closed on New Year’s Day – reopening for normal business from Tuesday 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 
There are no changes to Colchester’s recycling and rubbish collection days over the festive period this year.  
As all collection days will remain the same across the borough, 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, 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, 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 Northern Gateway 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 24 December and reopen on 4 January.
Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle will be closed over the Christmas period from Friday 24 December to Monday 27 December 2020. It will be open as usual from Tuesday 28 December and will close again for the day on Saturday 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 Friday 24 December to Monday 27 December. The museum will be open as usual from Tuesday 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 Friday 24 December to Monday 27 December. They will be open as usual from Tuesday 28 December and will close again for the day on New Year’s Day.

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 25/26 December) 10am-4pm. You can take part in two self-led trails over the weekend of the 18/19 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 22 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 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.
Further information about parking and travel in Colchester can be found here.
Colchester Borough Homes
Office opening times are as follows:
  • 24-29 December: Closed
  • 30-31 December: Open
  • 1-3 January Closed
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 Paul Dundas, 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.
“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 borough. 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: 15 December 2021


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