Colchester City Council’s services over the festive period

PUBLISHED: 7 December 2023

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 Christmas and New Year, the council’s main offices will be closed on Friday, 22 December and will re-open at 9am on Thursday, 28 December. They will also be closed on New Year’s Day – reopening for normal business from Tuesday, 2 January 2024.
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 pause: As in previous years, there will be no garden waste collections from Tuesday, 26 December 2023 until Friday, 12 January 2024, while we focus on collecting Christmas recycling and rubbish.

The new opt-in garden waste collection service will start from Monday, 15 January. As it takes up to 10 working days to subscribe for the service, residents should join no later than 31 December 2023 to be eligible for garden waste collection.

Monday collection changes: Flats bin store rubbish collections scheduled for Monday, 25 December and Monday, 1 January will take place the previous Saturday.

Tuesday to Friday collection changes in Christmas week: The Tuesday to Friday scheduled collection will be one day later than stated in the calendar.

There will be no kerbside or flats collections on Tuesday, 26 December. All scheduled kerbside and flats for Tuesday collections will be collected on Wednesday, 27 December, with remaining collections that week one day later than stated in the calendar (Thursday 28, Friday 29 and Saturday 30). 

New Year's Week: Tuesday to Friday flats and kerbside collections will be the same as stated in the calendar. 

Find out more here: Christmas and New Year collections

Information about Essex County Council’s Shrub End Recycling Centre opening times and items accepted can be found here.

Recycle your Christmas tree: 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.

Volunteers supporting St Helena will be out across Colchester and the surrounding areas on Saturday, 6 and Sunday, 7 January 2024 to collect pre-registered real Christmas trees from the postcode areas of CO1 to CO9, CO11, and CO13 to CO16.

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.

Colchester Fibre remains available for emergency response. For any urgent issues relating to corporate, Colchester City Council, Colchester Borough Homes, CCTV or Helpline connectivity, please contact the Service Desk on 03333110003. If you have a named engineer for managed services, please contact them directly by their mobile telephone number. Installations and network build will be paused between 22 December and 8 January.

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 Sunday, 24 December and will reopen on 3 January.
Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle will be closed over the Christmas period from Sunday, 24 December to Wednesday, 27 December. It will be open as usual from Thursday, 28 December and will close again for the day on New Year’s Day.
More information can be found here.

The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum will be closed over the Christmas period from Sunday, 24 December to Wednesday, 27 December. The museum will be open as usual from Thursday, 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 Sunday, 24 December to Wednesday, 27 December. It will be open as usual from Thursday, 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 city will be open throughout the holiday.

High Woods Country Park Visitor Centre closes on 24th December at 2.00pm. It will remain closed over the Christmas period and will reopen on Tuesday 2nd January at 10.00 am.

Colchester Cemetery grounds and Garden of Remembrance will be open as usual on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. The Book of Remembrance room will be open on all of the Bank Holidays, between 10am and 1pm. 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 Saturday, 23 December, and for late night shopping every Wednesday from 10am to 9pm, up to and including 20 December.
The High Street Market will continue to operate every Friday and Saturday.

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:
25-27 December: Closed
28-29 December: Open
1 January: Closed
2 January: Open

The Greenstead Housing Office will be closed on 28 December.

If you have an emergency when CBH is closed, 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: “During this festive season, though some offices and facilities will be closed, our dedicated staff will ensure essential services will remain available.

“I am incredibly grateful for all our staff have done this last year to help residents and businesses across the city, extending their support to our most vulnerable residents, amidst a cost-of-living and housing crisis.

“On behalf of Colchester City Council, I extend our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to all our staff, and residents, to wish them all the very best for a great Christmas and a prosperous New Year. May the spirit of the season bring good times, peace and a happy new year.”

Page last reviewed: 7 December 2023


Subscribe to receive updates on Council news, events and offers, green living, leisure and sport, museums, committees, jobs and more.