There are a lot of exciting events happening in Essex and festivals are one of them. From food and drink to music and nature, there’s something for everyone. See below for our guide to festivals in Essex.
Cressing Chocolate Festival
The first Cressing Chocolate Festival last year was such a success that it’s back again in 2020. It has everything a chocolate lover could possibly wish for – chocolate cocktail truffles, hot chocolate drinks, chocolate gin, luxury brownies, novelty chocolate and chocolate bars and buttons. There will also be an Easter bunny, face painting, outdoor cinema screening, seed planting with the springtime scarecrows, magic show, children’s trail, spring crafting and archery.
Address: Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road, Cressing, Nr. Witham CM77 8PD
Price: £7.50 for adults and £5 for under 16s. Under 2s are free
Event date/ time: 4 & 5 April, 11am to 4pm
International Living History Festival
The International Living History Festival is the perfect festival for history buffs. Full of Living History displays and hands-on activities, the festival also has artisans, craftsmen and traders with a huge range of items and replicas of historical heritage.
Address: Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road, Braintree CM77 8PD
Price: (prices are for one day) £10 for adults, £7.50 for OAPs and students, under 16s are free
Event date/ time: 18 & 19 April, 10am to 4pm
Cosmic Puffin Music Festival
The Cosmic Puffin Music Festival is a charity festival which raises money and awareness for BLISS, AldLife, Autism Anglia and Sonny’s Army. The festival has a diverse range of musicians spread out on different stages, showcasing indie, folk and pop. There’s even a psychedelic Mad Hatters’ Dance Tent.
Address: Mersea Youth Camp, Mersea Island CO5 8SX
Price: Adults from £33.12, under 12s are free
Event date/ time: 1 – 3 May, 4pm to 11.30pm
Ongar Town Festival
This year, the annual Ongar Town Festival coincides with VE Day 75 celebrations, making it the theme of the festival. There will be stalls, wartime vehicles and children’s rides in the Ongar Sports Club, a 1940s dance in Budworth Hall, wartime plays in the Library car park, a march of honour, displays in the various churches, and much more. Don’t miss the annual petanque tournament.
Address: High Street, Ongar CM5 9JJ
Price: Free entry
Event date/ time: 8 May, 9.45am – late
Leigh Folk Festival
The Leigh Folk Festival is the UK’s largest free folk festival and is currently in its 29th year. With over 200 artists performing in over 20 venues around Leigh-on-Sea, the festival is a fun place to enjoy folk and acoustic music, as well as dance, comedy and poetry.
Address: Various venues in Leigh-on-Sea
Price: Free entry
Event date/ time: 25 – 28 June, times vary depending on date
3foot People Festival
This is the UK’s largest outdoor festival for preschoolers. There’ll be different activities, interactive play, performances and shows in the various zones of the festival. There will also be interactive areas, chill out areas, face painting, inflatable fun, a giant sandpit and plenty of food stalls.
Address: Hylands Park, Greenbury Way, Chelmsford CM2 8FS
Event date/ time: 30 June – 3 July, 9.30am – 4pm daily
Dixie Fields is a country music festival which started in 2019, featuring artists from the US and the UK. There will be a fairground and plenty of music, food, drink and shopping. If you choose to camp on site, there will also be an American BBQ, American brunch, an intimate campside acoustic session, songwriters’ workshop and an open air cinema.
Address: Writtle, CM1 3HJ
Price: Adults from £35, children from £25 under 4s are free (day tickets). Adults from £72, children from £52, under 4s are free (weekend ticket)
Event date and time: 10 – 11 July, camping available from 4pm on the 10th
The Great Outdoors Festival
This is one of the most unique Essex festivals, and is a celebration of everything to do with the outdoors and the natural world. There will be daily activities like bushcraft, navigation, canoeing, axe throwing, foraging, expedition skills, leather work and carving classes, to name a few. There will be talks and presentations with survival experts and TV personalities, traders with some of the best camping and outdoor equipment, a play camp for children and yoga and mindfulness sessions.
Address: Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum, Coggeshall, Colchester CO6 1TG
Price: Day tickets from £25, field and woodland camping from £125, under 15s are free
Event date/ time: 24 – 26 July, gates open 8am on the 23rd for weekend ticket holders. Festival opens 10am on 25 July.
Essex Seafood Festival
This festival is a haven for seafood lovers. Some of the best seafood restaurants and suppliers come together to form a fun-filled summer spectacular. Watch chefs cook up a storm right before your eyes, and you can even get involved in the cooking, whether it’s sushi making or cocktail shaking. There will also be live entertainment, live pirate show, drinks stalls, an artisan market and a funfair.
Address: Orsett Showground, Rectory Road, Orsett RM16 3JU
Price: Adults from £15 for a day ticket, from £25 for a weekend ticket. Under 18s are free
Event date/ time: 8 – 9 August, 12pm – 9pm
Harwich Maritime Festival
The Harwich Maritime Festival returns in 2020, and this year it’s extra special as will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic sailing to the New World. Harwich Quay and Ha’penny Pier transform into a hive of activity to commemorate the legacy of passengers and crew who travelled on the Mayflower. There will be 50 traders, live entertainment and water based activities throughout the day.
Address: The Quay, Harwich CO12 3HH
Price: Free entry
Event date/ time: 8 August, 11am – 5pm
This month long festival celebrates art, music, literature and film along 60 miles of Thames Estuary coastline. The events will explore themes such as climate change, industrialisation, military and imperial legacies, environmental protection and challenges and diversity. There will be installations, exhibitions, talks and film showings.
Address: Various locations
Price: Depends on the individual event (some might need booking)
Event date/ time: 18 September – 18 October