It may be 164 days until Christmas but Colchester Zoo is already gearing up for the festive season.

While most parents are getting ready for the summer holidays the venue decided "a hot day in July seems like the perfect time to introduce this year's Christmas experiences."

Booking starts soon, so we've had a look at some of the magical events you can enjoy.

Twilight Christmas

The after hours Christmas Twilight Experience starts at 5pm and will be held across four dates in December.

Groups will help wake Santa before the elves serve up a yummy supper of pizza, cookies and gingerbread.

And parents don't miss out, with a hot drink and cake on offer.

There is then a visit to Santa's grotto, a visit to see the reindeer and a chance to make a festive wish in the woodland.

The evening will be rounded up with a a train ride to see the zoo decked out in Christmas lights.

Breakfast with Santa

Head for the zoo at 8am and you can enjoy breakfast with Santa across four dates in December.

Meet the head elf and then head to Santa's home.

You can explore the Christmas grotto and meet the big man himself.

There is also a chance to see the reindeer and take pictures.

The breakfast includes cereal, toast, pastries, American-style pancakes and yoghurts.

Adults can enjoy a bacon baguette, vegetarian option, or dairy free yoghurt and gluten free granola.

Little ones will also receive a Luna the Husky soft toy.

Starlight nights

The zoo is hosting a host of festive fun beneath twinkling Christmas lights.

The events on November 30, and December 7, 14, 21 and 22 will see the venue stay open until 7.30pm.


The extended opening with give you more time to enjoy events such as reindeer, crafts at the Elves’ Workshop and a Christmas tale.

As the evening light fades the zoo's Christmas illuminations will turn on.

To find out more about all the events including cost and booking

click here