Monster invasion poster

Giant inflatable river monsters are set to take over Chelmsford this October, bringing free half term fun to the city centre. Six huge, colourful characters will emerge from the city’s three waterways to invade the high street between 25 and 31 October, heralding free events and activities for children that will run all week.

Activities start on 25 October

The first signs of this terrible takeover will appear from Monday 18 October, but the freshwater fiends won’t fully emerge until the following week. On the first day of half term, the monsters will leave the Chelmer, Can and Wid for a new home on dry land and that’s when the entertainment really begins.

Events will include a giant monster inflatable in the high street, a cardboard monster city, little monster face painting, moviemaking, shadow puppetry and clay workshops, and storytelling and craft sessions. There’ll also be trails to follow, clues to spot and peep boards to turn even the most angelic little ones into little monsters.

A collaboration to brighten up the high street

The week-long event is a collaboration between Chelmsford City Council and Chelmsford For You with support from Culture Chelmsford to brighten up the high street as we head into winter and to bring free entertainment to visitors. Cllr Simon Goldman, the Council’s Cabinet Deputy for the Economy and Small Business, says this creative approach is good for everyone.

“Our high street has always been a busy and vibrant place, but there is so much potential to reimagine our city centre. This partnership with Chelmsford For You benefits all of us, ensuring Chelmsford remains an exciting destination, increasing footfall for local businesses, and providing free family fun in the run-up to Christmas.”

Cllr Simon Goldman, Cabinet Deputy for the Economy and Small Business

Keep an eye on the waterways

As you would expect, Chelmsford’s waterways will also play a part in the week’s activities, with a special river monster cruise. Passengers will be asked to keep an eye out for the city’s flora and fauna and eagle-eyed sailors might even catch a glimpse of the mythical Essex Serpent, made famous by author Sarah Perry. Chelmsford For You’s Sara Tupper says the city’s monster invasion is a chance to see Chelmsford with fresh eyes.

“It’s easy to stop noticing the places around you, and we hope that the giant monsters adorning the buildings of Chelmsford during half term will remind everyone how much our lively new city has to offer. Go on a monster hunt to find all the different characters on land and by boat, and don’t forget to book your free activities.”

Sara Tupper, Chelmsford For You

Book free activities online

A full list of booking links to everything on offer can be found on the Chelmsford City Events’ Eventbrite page. All activities are free apart from the river monster cruise, which costs £4 per adult and £2 per child. The boat trip (which will run depending on the weather) departs from the pontoon in front of Wildwood in Backnang Square and tickets can be purchased from an ice cream bike by Friendship Bridge.

There’s also an opportunity to win up to £250 in a photo competition. Simply take a picture with your favourite monster or share a photo from one of the activities you take part in and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #CFYMonsters and tag @ChelmsfordForYou.

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at or on 01245 606984.

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