THOUSANDS of festive shoppers turned out as Manningtree hosted the return of its popular Christmas market and shopping event.

Run by the Manningtree Rotary Club, the town’s Christmas market took place on Saturday afternoon.

The market saw local shops and festive stalls filled with gifts, crafts and knick-knacks for visitors to buy.

Street performers also graced the market to entertain the attendees, with a line-up including performance artist Harley Fox, Chris Maine with his magic show and giant stilts.

Grethe Mangala Jensen also performed a magical story-telling at Manningtree Arts.

Father Christmas and his elves made an appearance at The Hub to greet children..

Nigel Dyson, Christmas Market organiser and member of Manningtree Stour Rotary Club said: “Feedback was quite fantastic - we probably had a couple of thousands of people there. It was really, really busy.

"Several stalls sold out in the first few hours. It was cold but no one seemed to mind about that. It was really good.

“We had nothing but positive feedback from people who came and took their children to see Father Christmas in the grotto.

"We had singers, stilt walkers, various people like that - it really went down well.

“The shops were absolutely packed - I don’t think shops in Manningtree have ever been that packed. It was brilliant.

“Acorn Village have a charity shop in the High Street, I think they took in £600 during the market.

"Everyone was really pleased and very complimentary.”