SANTA is coming to Braintree as a shopping centre commenced the festivities.

In December, children can meet and get a gift from Santa at George Yard Shopping Centre for £5 per child.

All proceeds will go to charities Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens and HomeStart.

Grotto opening times are 10am to 4pm on weekends December 4 and 5; December 11 and 12; December 18 and 19 and finally on Christmas Eve.

Those wishing to book a slot should visit

Bookings are for families up to 5 including children and adults.

This comes after George Yard started its Christmas activities, including creating decorations, market stalls and the Christmas lights switch-on.

Radio presenters Martin and Sue also joined the stage at Market Place in Braintree town centre with music.

George Yard said: “It was a fantastic success and a brilliant start to our Christmas festivities here at George Yard.

“We’re delighted to promote the festive mood with the bright Christmas lights and are excited for the Grotto to open very soon.

“We look forward to welcoming all our shoppers and witnessing the delight on children’s faces as they meet Santa!

“We are thrilled to distribute all proceeds to such incredibly important local charities, who support our community.”