What’s On 2020

Brightlingsea at Christmas Magazine

If you live in Brightlingsea you should have receive a copy of our special Brightlingsea At Christmas magazine, which has been delivered to homes throughout Brightlingsea. If you would like to share an electronic copy with friends and family simply click here. If you haven’t yet received a copy and would like to pick on up they will be available from selected shops in the town from 2 December.

Below is an index of events that are happening which is being regularly updated as new information becomes available. If you have a community festive event you would like listed please email fiona.brown@fionabrown.com with details.

Christmas Lights Trail

Help us light up Brightlingsea from All Saints’ to the Hard by putting Christmas lights or a tree into your garden or front window for everyone to enjoy. Entry is free and must be submitted by midnight on Tuesday 1 December. The Trail will open on Saturday 5 December when a map showing the location of all the entries will be available to follow on foot or by car. Visit brightlingsea.info for entry and trail details.

With support from the Town Council and Shop Brightlingsea our business and retail outlets will also be creating special displays too, adding further to the festive cheer.

Virtual Christmas Tree Festival

The Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival is one of the town’s biggest and most-loved events. This year – like many other social gatherings – it’s unable to take place in the traditional format, which is why we’ve moved the ever-popular Christmas tree competition online. If you want to decorate a tree and show it off to the town – and help us raise some money for repairs and amenities at All Saints’ Church – now’s your chance!

We’re looking for entries in four categories – Best tree from an individual adult or family, Best tree from an organisation, Best individual youth tree and Best tree from a youth organisation. Entering is simple – just take up to three pictures of your tree and submit them, along with a little information, using the form at brightlingsea.info. We’re really looking forward to seeing your entries – and so is the town!

The Virtual Festival will open to the public at brightlingsea.info on Saturday 12 December and you will have until Sunday 20 December to view the trees and vote online for your winners from the following categories:

  • Favourite Indoor tree submitted by a group
  • Favourite Indoor tree submitted by an individual
  • Favourite Indoor tree submitted by a young person’s group
  • Favourite Indoor tree submitted by a young person

Christmas Shopping

Brightlingsea has some of the best independent shops in the area. Many are already open or providing click and collect or delivery services and from 2 December all will be throwing wide their doors to welcome you. So support your local community and shop local this year. Click here to find out more.

Rotary Club Santa Sleigh

From early December until Christmas Eve Santa and the Rotary Club Elves will be visiting streets around Brightlingsea and the surrounding villages, bringing festive cheer and raising funds for local charities and good causes. Find out when he will visit your street at santasleighbrightlingsea.com

Advent Window Trail

Each night from 1 to 24 December special advent windows will be “opened” around the tow. Two windows per night will be added and many of the addresses will also have a special box into which you are invited to place donations for Brightlingsea Foodbank as you enjoy the display. Find out more at the Brightlingsea Advent Windows Facebook Page and see below for the full list of addresses and dates.

Christmas Lights at the Hard

From Saturday 5 December, as you walk down to the Hard, local yacht and sailing clubs, pubs, cafes, homes and businesses will be lighting up for Christmas. There will be a large Christmas Tree on the Waterside in front of CYC, adorned with coloured lights. Bright festive baubles will cover the tops of the shelter and hut on the Hard, whilst the old buoy and mine will also be dressed up. Smack and yacht owners will be putting lights up their masts (an ancient seafaring tradition.

Christmas Eve Jingle

On Christmas Eve at 6pm we are asking everyone to come outside (or to their front windows for those of you shielding) and ring a bell for two minutes to spread Christmas spirit and to help Santa fly that sleigh.

The Christmas Eve Jingle started as a local idea in Harrogate, but it has now become a worldwide initiative to create a wave of bells across the globe to ring in Christmas. After a tough year it would be an amazing memory for the kids and communities so please join us to create a bit of Brightlingsea magic, hope and togetherness!


Deputy’s Gift Fund Lunch

Since 1964 Christmas Day has seen the Deputy and Lady Deputy of the Cinque Port Liberty host a lunch for those who would otherwise be alone or lonely at Christmas. The lunch was originally started by Dr Middleton, Nurse Chapman and Mrs Canham. Ever since the Canhams and their extended family have given up their Christmas Day to ensure that the lunch is enjoyed by all. Covid-19 means that this year it will not be possible for everyone to gather together for the lunch at Brightlingsea Sailing Club, but instead special arrangements have been made for the Canham family to prepare the meal under Covid safe guidelines in the sailing club kitchen and extra volunteer drivers are stepping forward to assist in a town wide meals-on-wheels operation. Due to the present restrictions it is unfortunately not currently possible to add new guests to the list but the organisers will be doing so as soon as possible.


Silent Night On The Doorstep

Take part in this global initiative by stepping out onto your doorstep at 8pm on Sunday 20 December to join the Brightlingsea community in singing that most beautiful of Christmas carols Silent Night.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peaceSilent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!Christ the Savior is born!Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth



Church Services

All Saints’ with St James’ Church

We are hoping that the government restrictions will permit us to hold our traditional Christmas services at St James’ Church. However, if this is not possible online alternatives will be provided. The planned dates and time for the services are 24 December afternoon Crib Service, then Midnight Mass at11.30pm and 25 December Christmas Morning Family Worship at 10.00am. Further details (including timings for the 24th afternoon service and other special services if they are possible) via 01206 308726 or www.allsaintswithstjamesb-sea.co.uk

St Sabina Roman Catholic Church

Will be celebrating extra Christmas Masses this year in the hope that everyone who would like to attend in person will be able to do so. We would like to ask all those wishing to attend our Christmas Masses to book in advance – so that we can ensure there is space for you in the church. Some of the Christmas Masses will also be live streamed. There will be a Prayer Tree at St Sabina Church and residents of all denominations are invited to submit prayers for the tree online at www.b-a-wparish.org.uk/christmas-tree-prayer-intentions/ . Further details via b-a-wparish.org.uk/christmas-2020 or 01206 302485

Oasis Community Church

Will be offering various online services and events over Christmas. Further details will be published at www.oasiscommunitychurch.net and www.facebook.com/oasischurchbrightlingsea

Methodist United Reform Church

Although not able to host the tradition Town Service this year because of Covid-19 restrictions we are aiming to host a Carol Service on Sunday 20December at 10.30am, a short ecumenical service led by Majors Jean & Doreen James on Christmas Day at 10.00 and a service on Sunday 3 January at 3pm. There will be strict sanitising and distancing and the church is fully Covid-19 compliant, so anyone thinking of coming should be reassured (and bring and wear a mask, though spares are available at the church).  There is some extra provision for visitors though numbers are limited, so please do try to join us, though sadly with no singing.  If you plan to come on Christmas Day please contact Barbara on 01206 305472 so that we can ensure the numbers are safely managed.