The Christmas lights at Freeport Braintree are being switched on this Thursday evening.

The switch-on will be the climax of a day of family events at the centre, which runs from 10am to 8pm.

Children can have their photo taken for free with Santa from 4pm onwards, before a magical countdown to the light switch-on at 6.30pm.

Centre manager Paul McCarthy said: “The stores have a whole host of great gift ideas and special offers for the night.”