HUNDREDS of shoppers are expected to flock to Braintree for their Christmas shopping after two festive market dates were confirmed.

Braintree Council is planning on hosting the Christmas markets on two Saturdays in December in a bid to bring additional visitors to the town centre.

The two events are expected to be similar to the monthly street markets which have been held throughout the year.

More than 40 traders offering food, drink and gifts will be attending the events which will have a festive theme to them both.

News of the extra markets comes less than two weeks before the big Christmas lights switch on in Braintree town centre.

A street market will be held on the same day as the switch on, while live entertainment is also expected to be held within Market Place.

More than 100 traders are expected to set up stalls across the town centre, including in High Street and Bank Street, for the lights switch on.

Braintree Council's economic development boss Tom Cunningham said: "Over the last two years we have worked hard to extend our market offer - we know residents and visitors love our street markets so we couldn’t not bring them back for Christmas.

"It is the centre piece to the town’s calendar and will really enhances the festive atmosphere as well as help boost trade for our local businesses.

Communities, Culture and Tourism boss Frankie Ricci added: "The markets are set to attract hundreds of visitors and residents into Braintree over Christmas which is a great opportunity to show case what our town has to offer and create a festive community environment.”

The two Christmas markets will take place on December 7 and 21.

Both are free to attend.

A council spokesman said: "Whether you like a mooch around the stalls, looking for a present for someone special, enjoy a spot of lunch with your friends and family or even a mulled wine, the market will have something for everyone."

The Christmas lights switch on takes place on Saturday, November 16.

George Yard will have its own switch on at 5pm.

This will then be followed by a Santa parade before the main lights in Market Place are lit up at 5.30pm.

All details can be found at