AS the Christmas period approaches, a desire to spend time shopping for family and enjoying delicious treats comes with it.

The south Essex area has several unique Christmas markets for residents to explore. We have compiled a list of five south Essex Christmas markets to visit this festive season.

Wat Tyler Country Park, Basildon

This market is run by Twizzle Tops Day Nursery in Wat Tyler Country Park and is set to provide a ‘variety of festive stalls and entertainment’.

Visitors can enter for free but competitions for the best dressed adult and child will be on show with a £1 entry fee.

A Santa’s grotto will also be available for youngsters to check out and all funds raised will go towards Partyman’s Magic Makers.

The market will open on Saturday, December 9, from 10am to 2pm. For more information call Twizzle Tops on 01268 208678 or email

Rochford Christmas Festival

Last year’s festival in Back Lane, Rochford, proved successful with lots of visitors and three stands selling out fully.

This market offers a variety of stalls for visitors to enjoy from food and drink to festive decorations.

Family business My Little Drinks Van will be in attendance again providing a great selection of refreshments from the Sylva Waltz Citroen HY Van.

The festival will take place on Sunday, December 3, from 1pm to 6pm.

The main stage will be available from 2pm to 5pm and the light switch on will take place at 5pm.

For more information call 07779 634955.

Old Leigh Christmas Market

Old Leigh Christmas Market will return for a fourth year as talented artists descend onto Strand Wharf, opposite the Crooked Billet pub.

It was founded in 2020 by Sara Welton, Amanda Kirk, Lee Dunn and Cerys Arthur to provide pop up stalls and sell gifts such as jewellery.

Unlike previous years, there will be no stalls selling packets of sweets and boxes of cakes as the 2023 event will “focus more on the arts and crafts”.

From 10am to 5pm on December 2 and 3, talented creators will be selling all sorts of items for Christmas presents, including candles, bracelets and bags.

For more information on the market contact Amanda Kirk on 07715 008142.

Laindon Community Centre Christmas Market

Lots of fun activities will be available at this market including a Santa’s Grotto, children’s rides, a mulled wine trailer and more.

Sweet cakes, hot donuts and more treats will be available and youngsters can test their aim with a Nerf gun shooting range.

This market will have more than 80 stalls and a live band will play festive tunes from 8pm until late.

It will take place on December 16 and 17 in Aston Road, Laindon, from 3pm to 8pm.

For more information contact Laindon Community Centre on 01268 855232.

Billericay Christmas Market

This free event in Billericay High Street will return for the festive season.

The market is organised and run by Billericay Mayflower Rotary and will begin with a Santa’s parade at 11am with Santa arriving at the Chantry Centre to welcome little ones for a chat and a present.

Fairground rides will be available as well as a circus troupe, Punch and Judy and flash mobs.

Last year’s massive market had more than 150 stalls including crafts, refreshments, clothing, gifts, and a farm shop.

Billericay Christmas Market will take place on Sunday, December 3 from 11am to 5pm. For more information contact Billericay Mayflower Rotary by visiting