Located in North Essex at the junction of two Roman roads, Braintree is a great spot for those with an interest in history who enjoy the pleasant English countryside. A busy events schedule of festivals, street fairs and carnivals throughout the year makes the town of Braintree popular with tourists and locals alike.
There’s a fair bit to see and do in Braintree and neighboring Brock. The Braintree District Museum showcases local industrial heritage and craftsmanship. Lottery funding has aided the reopening of the Warner Textile Archive, which is housed within a 19th century mill and exhibits an impressive collection of textiles.
Those with an interest in history and architecture should pay a visit to St Michaels Church in the heart of the town. Originally founded in 1199 it has had many restorations throughout the centuries and the spire is among the tallest in Essex. Bocking Windmill and Dorewards Hall are also worth a visit. The former dates back to the 1720s and is a mill that retains much of the original equipment of the era. The latter is an Elizabethan house that regularly hosts special events throughout the year.
Braintree has a pleasant shopping center with a number of specialist stores. The weekly street market has been going for 800 years and is a focal point of the local community. For bargain designer goods, take the free bus that runs to the Freeport Designer Outlet village, where it’s possible to buy designer goods at knockdown prices.
Other entertainment in Braintree and the surrounding area include a multi-screen cinema, a theater, ten pin bowling and go-karting. Outside of town are expanses of rolling hillside and there are a number of walks that can be enjoyed. Alternatively, hire a bicycle and take a ride in the Colne Valley, with its castle and many historic churches.