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And there’s no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than a festive getaway to visit these beautiful bustling 2021 East of England Christmas markets.

So why not check out our pick of 21 best Christmas Markets in Essex and Norfolk for 2021 and book one of our nearby beautiful 5 star holiday cottages.

Best Christmas Markets in Essex

2021 East of England Christmas markets: Essex holiday cottages and Christmas markets

Top & bottom: Wakes Hall Lodges, Wakes Colne

Essex loves to celebrate its local food, drink, arts and crafts, so we’re happy to see that there are lots of Christmas markets in the county this year! We’ve put together our favourite Christmas Markets in Essex, all of which can be easily reached from our fabulous 5 star Essex holiday cottages. For further inspiration on things to do, check out our '10 great reasons to book a stay'.

1. The Essex Christmas Fair
When: Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th November 2021; 10am - 4pm
Where: Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road, Braintree, Cressing CM77 8PD
Entry: Adult £5, Concession £4. Discounted advance tickets available. Under 18s free
Details: This is a very busy and well-established Christmas Fair (by Charlie Owen Events) with over 100 exhibitors spread around the beautiful setting of Cressing Temple Barns. There will be a wide range of handmade artisan products and uniquely sourced gifts as well as a lovely selection of food and drink to tempt the taste buds. Plus a licenced bar and live music. Dogs on leads are allowed.
Where to stay nearby: Check out The Piggery and our holiday lodges at Wakes Colne just 20 minutes’ drive away.

2. Colchester Town Hall Christmas Market
When: Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th November 2021
Where: Colchester Town Hall, High St, Colchester C01 1PJ;
Entry: Free, but you must book tickets in advance due to Covid-19 social distancing measures
Details: This local fair attracts craft makers from around the county. It’s a less showy, more school hall-type event, but there are some top quality crafts and gifts on offer, from cards, jewellery, handmade beauty products, Christmas ornaments and personalised gifts. Everything is sourced or made locally, so a great chance to support and celebrate Essex talent.
Where to stay nearby: Our beautiful Essex holiday cottages are 20 minutes’ drive away.

3. We are Handmade: Christmas Craft Fair
When: Saturday 6th November 2021; 10am - 4pm
Where: Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow CM6 1DG;
Entry: Free
Details: This cute event in the picturesque Essex market town of Great Dunmow always delivers, with quality makers selling lovely handmade gifts. There are over 30 stalls to browse and many artisans take bespoke commissions, so this early fair gives shoppers the opportunity to place bespoke orders in good time for Christmas. Plus tea and cake – what’s not to like?
Where to stay nearby: Enjoy this Christmas Market during a pre-Christmas stay at one of our  Essex holiday cottages 30 minutes' drive away.

4. Christmas Market at Hylands Park
When: Sunday 19th December 2021;10am -4pm
Where: Hylands House, Hylands Park, Chelmsford, CM2 8WQ;
Entry: Free
Details: Hylands House, home to V Festival, hosts a Christmas art and craft market, focusing on unique items that are made at Hylands by their regular creators as well as guest makers and local suppliers. Expect live entertainment, local street food stalls and plenty of gift ideas and items.
Where to stay nearby: 40 minutes from our luxury Essex cottages and well worth the trip. The park itself is huge and great for an afternoon exploring if the weather is good. Fun fact about Hylands House: The mansion doubled up as The White House in an episode of the Netflix series, The Crown.

5. We are Handmade: Christmas Craft Fair
When: Saturday 20th November 2021; 10am to 4pm
Where: The Old School, Long Melford CO10 9DT;
Entry: Free
Details: Taking place over four rooms, the fair offers shoppers a wonderful choice of beautifully designed and handcrafted gifts for Christmas. Stallholders include Woodturner Glyn Hall; Peter Clayton Wildlife Photographer; glass by the Little Lime Design Company; sculptures by The Happy Hare Co and Nanuk Jewellery. Plum Fairy will be running the tearoom.
Where to stay nearby: Enjoy this Christmas Market during a pre-Christmas stay at one of our  Essex holiday cottages 25 minutes' drive away.

6. Maldon Christmas Festival
When: Thursday 25th November 2021; 4 - 9pm
Where: High Street, Maldon CM9 5PJ;
Entry: Free
Details: This year’s Christmas Festival offers an evening of entertainment with late night shopping and artisan stalls along the High Street. A Punch and Judy show, live music, festive food, reindeers and Santa grotto are planned with the big Christmas light switch on at 4.30pm.
Where to stay nearby: Why not book a stay for the whole tribe at our Essex holiday cottages, 30 minutes’ drive away?

7. Meadowcroft Garden Centre German Market
When: 16th September to 23rd December 2021; 9am - 5.30pm (with a special ticketed event for late night opening on Thursday 4th November 2021 & Thursday 25th November 2021)
Where: Meadow Croft Garden Centre, Battlesbridge SS11 7QU;
Entry: Entry is free. The late night events are ticket only. Car parking is £5 which will be redeemable against a purchase
Details: This German-style market hosts 30+ stalls, packed with delicately crafted gifts. We spotted everything from Christmas ornaments and candles to authentic cuckoo clocks, and beautiful handmade woolly hats and gloves. The organisers have also travelled to Germany to source products that you would usually find in traditional German Christmas markets.
Where to stay nearby: Our Essex holiday cottages are perfect for getting your family excited for Christmas and are less than 40 minutes’ drive away.

8. Museum of Power Christmas Fair with Santa
When: Friday 12th November 2021; 10am - 3pm
Where: Museum of Power, Langford, Essex, CM9 6QA
Entry: Free (tickets to see Santa - including a miniature train ride & gift - £12.00 per child / £8.00 per adult)
Details: Come and meet Santa in his Grotto, enjoy a miniature steam train ride, meander through the indoor Christmas stalls and join in with some fun entertainment and children’s rides.
Where to stay nearby: Our beautiful Essex holiday cottages are 30 minutes’ drive away.

9. Prested Hall Afternoon Tea and Christmas shopping event
When: Sunday 14th November 2021;12 - 4pm
Where: Prested Hall, Feering, Colchester CO5 9EE;
Entry: £28 per person (in support of Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust)
Details: Expect vocal harmony duo “Wiggle & Sass” who will be performing 3 x 20 minute sets, a traditional or gentleman’s afternoon tea, plus some stalls by local crafters offering fantastic Christmas gifts.
Where to stay nearby: Our beautiful Essex holiday cottages are 15 - 20 minutes’ drive away.

10. The Coggeshall Christmas Market
When: Saturday 4th December 2021;12 - 4pm
Where: Stoneham Street & Coggeshall Village Hall, Coggeshall CO6 1UH;
Entry: Free
Details: Featuring local makers and artists selling the latest in contemporary and vintage inspired items. Expect outdoor Christmas stalls on Stoneham Street and hopefully indoor stalls in the village hall. Details TBC.
Where to stay nearby: Our Essex holiday cottages are just a short 12 minute drive away.

Best Christmas Markets in Norfolk

2021 East of England Christmas markets: Norfolk holiday cottages and Christmas markets

Top: Tunnel of Light, Norwich; bottom: The Coach House in Banningham, dressed for Christmas

A pre-Christmas break away + Christmas Market = the perfect mix for getting your whole family into the festive spirit. Our team have scouted out their favourite and most magical Christmas Markets in Norfolk.

11. Swaffham Christmas Market Weekend and Light Switch On
When: Saturday 4th December 2021; 8am - 10pm & Sunday 5th December 2021; 12 - 6pm
Where: Swaffham Market Place, Swaffham, PE37 7AB;
Entry: Free
Details: Wander through this traditional Christmas market and street food market and enjoy a weekend of holiday cheer with a mobile ice skating rink, santa’s grotto, a funfair and entertainment from Little Mix tribute act LMX at the Buttercross. The weekend will culminate with the Christmas light switch-on on Sunday at 5pm.
Where to stay nearby: Check out gorgeous Vicarage House in Great Hockham.

12. Christmas Gift Fair, North Creake
When: Saturday 27th November 2021; 10am - 3pm
Where: Creake Abbey, Creake Road, Fakenham, NR21 9LF;
Entry: Free
Details: The Christmas Gift Fair at Creake Abbey has a mix of indoor and outdoor stalls with over 80 traders including Marsh Pig, with British charcuterie, Panther Brewery and Lyn Sandford Pottery.
Where to stay nearby: Why not treat the family to a pre-Christmas break at one of our Norfolk holiday cottages.

13. Jabbawocky Christmas Craft and Gift Fair, Norwich
When: Saturday 6th, 13th & 20th November 2021; Saturday 11th & 18th December 2021: 9am - 5pm
Where: The Forum, Bethel Street, Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1BH;
Entry: Free
Details: Stock up on some special Christmas gifts at this pop-up Christmas mini market from Jabbawockycrafts and Paul Macro photography. Browse exquisite handmade jewellery, crafts and gifts beautiful photographic prints and calendars and more.
Where to stay nearby: Cosy up in our luxury Norfolk holiday cottages, just 30 - 40 minutes’ drive away.

14. Festive Gift and Food Show
When: Friday 12th & Saturday 13th November 2021; 9am - 5pm, Sunday 14th November 2021 9am - 4pm - timed entry slots
Where: Norfolk Showground, Dereham Road, New Costessey, NR5 0TT;
Entry: Adults (16+): £5.50, concessions (60+): £5.50, children (aged 5-16): free. Free parking
Details: Norfolk's biggest Christmas market features hundreds of stalls and everything you need for the festive season. There will be Christmas decorations, festive food and drink and plenty of gifts and there are timed entry slots to prevent crowding.
Where to stay nearby: Check out our gorgeousNorfolk holiday cottages, all 30 - 35 minutes’ drive away.

15. North Norfolk Arts and Crafts Winter Fair
When: Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th November 2021; 10am - 4pm
Where: Back to the Garden, Letheringsett, NR25 7JJ;
Entry: Free, with free parking
Details: Support Norfolk's artists and makers and buy unique gifts at this Christmas market which will include jewellery, embroidery and ceramics. The Garden farm shop and restaurant will be serving hot and cold drinks, cakes and full meals.
Where to stay nearby: Enjoy this Christmas Market during a pre-Christmas stay at The Coach House or The Garden House in Banningham, or Weavers Loft in Erpingham, all 30 minutes' drive away.

16. Pensthorpe Christmas Market
When: Sunday 28th November 2021; 10am - 4pm
Where: Pensthorpe Natural Park, Pensthorpe Road, Pensthorpe, NR21 0LN;
Entry: Free
Details: Attended by the region’s best food and drink suppliers, artists and craft makers, Pensthorpe Christmas Market provides a welcome change of scenery from the high street, with pop-up stalls in the courtyard, in a relaxed and spacious outdoor environment. Taking place outside the Pensthorpe Natural Park main site, so entry is free.
Where to stay nearby: Our beautiful Norfolk cottages are 30 - 50 minutes’ drive away.

17. Sandringham Christmas Craft Food & Gift Fair
When: Friday 19th - Sunday 21st November 2021
Where: Sandringham Estate, Sandringham, PE35 6EN;
Entry: Prices vary (please see website)
Details: Craft, food, gifts and festive fun are accompanied with an array of music throughout the weekend including a very special guest on Saturday and Sunday of a very renowned Opera Singing Santa.
Where to stay nearby: Our Norfolk cottages are perfect for getting your family excited for Christmas and are less than 60 minutes from Sandringham.

18. Christmas Food, Drink & Gift Market
When: Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th December 2021; 10am - 4pm
Where: Holkham Hall, Wells-next-the-Sea, NR23 1AB;
Entry: Free
Details: Perfect for some Christmas shopping, this Christmas market sees the best local producers showcasing their seasonal food, drink and gifts in the Lady Elizabeth Wing. There will be tasty takeaway stalls in the courtyard to tickle your taste buds too.
Where to stay nearby: Why not treat the family to a relaxing short break at one of our cosy holiday cottages in Norfolk?

19. Norwich Global Village Christmas Market
When: Thursday 2nd, Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th December 2021; 10am - 5pm
Where: The Forum, Bethel Street, Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1BH;
Entry: Free
Details: The Global Village Christmas Market features fine traders, illustrators and makers selling beautiful gifts from around the world with a focus on fairly-traded and eco-conscious products. On Saturday, there will also be carol singers and brass bands to put you in the festive spirit, as well as delicious global hot food and mulled wine!
Where to stay nearby: Cosy up in our luxury Norfolk holiday cottages, just 30 - 40 minutes’ drive away.

20. Hockwold Christmas Fayre
When: Sunday 5th December 2021; 10am - 3pm
Where: Hockwold Hall, Hockwold cum Wilton IP26 4HZ;
Entry: £4. To buy tickets, see website
Details: There will be over 100 stands, featuring a wide range of food, drink and crafts for you to view and sample. Plus live entertainment and a vast range of activities to try, childrens entertainment, a free santas grotto, real reindeer and more live animals to see!
Where to stay nearby: Check out gorgeous Vicarage House in Great Hockham, 25 minutes' drive away.

21. The Norfolk Artisan Fair at Christmas
When: Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th November 2021; 9.30am - 5pm
Where: The Racecourse, Fakenham NR21 7NY;
Entry: £4.50 advance (or £5 on the door), Under 16’s free
Details: With over 110 local food, drink and craft stands, this Christmas Fair is not to be missed!
Where to stay nearby: Why not treat the family to a pre-Christmas break at one of our Norfolk holiday cottages.