Shopping, Markets & Local Produce

Borley Smokery – Borley Green
Borley Smokery specializes in producing high quality cold smoked fish and dairy products, using traditional methods of smoking handed down over generations of smokers in Scotland. Pop in and have a look round and find out how it’s done!!
Open 0930 to 1800, Tuesday & Thursday.
Tel 01787 373174

Braintree Town Centre
Many areas have been pedestrianised and you can sit outside the pubs in a continental cafe style and watch the world go by. Shoppers will appreciate the blend of independently run retail outlets and multinationals.
Market Day – Wednesday & Saturdays

Coggeshall Town Centre
Coggeshall has a number of quaint specialist shops and eateries, and was well known for its antiques. It’s worth wandering around to find unusual gifts and presents.
Market Day – Thursday

Freeport Outlet Shopping Village – Braintree
Freeport Braintree has over 85 famous name stores all offering discounts of up to 60% off recommended retail price, including Marks & Spencer, Next, Nike, Clarks and Denby. You will also find a great selection of places to eat and drink including Starbucks, Pizza Express, Thorntons Café and Burger King. There is a free shuttle bus to and from Freeport and Braintree Town Centre.
Tel 01376 348168

Nature Reserves, Parks, Walking & Cycling

Situated in the rolling countryside of North Essex, the Braintree District is perfectly placed to explore the highways and quiet byways of the county. Whether you like to tramp, stroll or cycle there are many Nature Reserves, Parks, published walks and rides available, many local clubs and associations also organise walks throughout the district, details are available from the Braintree Tourist Information Centre – 01376 550066 and the Witham Visitor Centre – 01376 502674. Here are a few:

Braintree – The Mansell Way
A 20-mile circular walk that passes through the villages and valleys surrounding Braintree. A varied and interesting range of quiet footpaths, bridleways and byways which lead you from village to village with the minimum of road walking.

Braintree Town Trail
A one-hour leisurely walk tracing a path through the history of Braintree. The walk starts at the Town Hall Centre and meanders through the old Market Place, High Street and Bank Street. Be sure to keep an eye out for a ‘Crittall’ window and the Church of St Michael’s.

Chalkney Wood
An ancient woodland actively coppiced since medieval times. The different stages of regrowth attract a wealth of wildlife best seen in the spring when the wood is carpeted with bluebells and wood primroses and many birds such as the nightingale can be heard.

Colne Valley Cycle Trail
Follow four trails through the Colne Valley: the Colne Valley Trail, Castle and Churches, Two Valleys and Meadows and Wood Trail. All the routes wherever possible follow quiet lanes in the scenic and diverse countryside of the Colne Valley. Look out for Hedingham Castle, the Round Church at Little Maplestead, the River Colne and Chappel Viaduct.

East Braintree Heritage Trail
Follow the footsteps of this trail to seek out the beginnings of Braintree’s industrial past. Keep an eye out for the many Heritage Panels dotted along the 1 ½ – 2 hours walk which illustrates the history of the Jubilee Oak, Crittall’s houses, Courtaulds Mill, Lake and Elliot’s Powerhouse, Braintree’s first Railway Station and Crittall’s metal working factory.

Essex Way
The Essex Way is a long distance path stretching right across the County of Essex from Epping in the southwest to the port of Harwich in the northeast following footpaths and ancient green lanes. Join the route at White Notley, Cressing or Coggeshall and walk or cycle through tree-lined river valleys and leafy green lanes.

Essex Wildlife Trust
Brookes Reserve – Situated between Stisted and Greenstead Green, this nature reserve is made up of over 40-acres of ancients SSSI woodland and over 18 acres of arable fields, part of which has been planted with native trees. A network of historic green lanes, one a bridleway crosses the woods and there are 12 ponds.

Loshes meadow – off the Subury/Halstead road, the reserve lies in an attractive valley in low hills rising from the River Stour flood plain. It was farmed until the mid 50’s and then left to ‘go wild’ until leased by the Essex Wildlife Trust in 1974. A variety of flowering plants and birdlife is plentiful.

St Peters Marsh – North of St Peter’s Church, Bocking, this is the smallest nature reserve in Essex and indeed one of the smallest in the UK. It comprises fresh marsh, fed by springs and was planted with populars, most of which have been felled to let in more light. The reserve is a traditional frog breeding site. Visit by appointment only (01206 729678)

For further information on the above reserves, please contact 01621 862960 or visit the website

Flitch Way
A country path through fifteen miles of countryside with views along the former Bishop’s Stortford to Braintree Railway line. Your journey on foot, bicycle or horseback will take you through wildlife-rich railway cuttings, past Victorian stations, nearby villages and woods.

Great Notley Country Park and Discovery Centre (MG2a, MG1a)
Great Notley Country Park has 100 acres of open space and boasts an interesting landscape with hay meadows, wild flower grassland, trees and beautiful lakes. The Discovery Centre itself won an Environmental Initiative of the Year award as the 6kw wind turbine contributes energy to light the building, rainwater is recycled through the showers and toilets whilst the whole building maximises the use of solar energy and offers information on sustainable building techniques. Open 1000 to 1600, Tuesday – Friday and Sundays.
Tel 01376 347134

John Way Walk
A nine-mile linear walk between Braintree and Witham celebrating the life and achievements of John Ray (the eminent 17th century natural historian). The walk passes through the picturesque countryside of the Brain Valley, the birthplace and home of John Ray.

Stour Valley Path
From Newmarket to Cattawade, near Maningtree this 62 mile walk follows the valley of the beautiful River Stour – where famous artist John Constable was inspired to paint.

Leisure Facilities & Outdoor Activities

Boating, Bowling, Children’s Adventure Play Centres, Cinema, Fishing, Gliding, Go-Karting, Golf, Horse Riding, Helicopter Flights & Hot Air Ballooning, Leisure Centres, Real Tennis, Shooting, Skate Parks, Tennis, Water Sports.


River Stour Boating
Take an organised two day trip along a 25 mile stretch of the River Stour from Sudbury to Cattawade. The river trips will see Canadian canoes travelling in convoy passing through some of the most beautiful and famous Suffolk and Essex scenery, immortalised by John Constable. This includes including Bures, Stratford St Mary, Dedham and Flatford where you will be able to see Flatford Mill and Willy Lotts Cottage from a vantage point no footpath can offer.Bookings until the end of September, later if the weather permits.
Tel 01787 375377


Bowling Number Ten – Ten Pin Bowling, Braintree
Number Ten offers a bowling experience that changes moods through out the day. From daytime relaxation to night time energetic fun there are different time zones to suit your mood. Number Ten is where the best in bowling meets the best in eating, drinking, playing and partying.
Tel 01376 569069

Braintree Lawn Bowling Club
Run by members, this friendly club welcomes all from beginners to experts.
Tel 01376 347857

Capitol Square Bowling & Snooker Club
Membership £1 A members only bowling & snooker club with pool hall and function room.
Tel 01376 502950

Children’s Adventure Play Centres

Crazy Kids – Braintree
Indoor adventure play centre situated adjacent to the Freeport Designer Village for children aged between six months and twelve years.
Tel 01376 347547


Cineworld – Braintree
A twelve-screen cinema situated adjacent to the Freeport Designer Outlet Village.
Tel 0871 2002000


Fennes Fisheries – Braintree
Offers three well-stocked coarse fishing lakes in beautiful surroundings. There is a bait and tackle shop on site, plus free parking and toilet facilities. Disabled anglers are welcome and day tickets are available all year round.
Tel 01376 323285

Rayne Lodge
Offers three well-stocked course-fishing lakes, plus free parking and toilet facilities.
Tel 01376 345719

Coleman Cottage Fishery – Witham
Offers four well-stocked lakes, plus free parking, tackle shop and toilets. This site is fully accessible and disabled anglers are welcome. Day tickets are available all year round.
Tel 01376 516383


Essex Gliding Club
Gliding is the ultimate pure silent flying experience. An exhilarating, dynamic and rewarding sport, gliding is very affordable and open to people of all ages. There are no limits to gliding – using the same natural power of rising air currents as birds do, you can fly hundreds of miles at speeds of up to 170mph at heights of up to 40,000ft!A short flight is a highly memorable experience as you are launched high into the sky to fly silently over the Essex/Suffolk countryside.
Tel: 01992 522222


Go GP Racing- Braintree
This is the longest indoor karting centre in North Essex with a 300 metre track and 200cc karts.
Tel 01376 333129


The Braintree District is blessed with a multitude of golf courses all within easy reach of Braintree Town Centre.

Benton Hall Golf Club (Witham)………………… 01373 502454
Braintree Golf Club ………………………………. 01376 346079
Braxted Park Golf Club (Kelvedon)……………… 01376 572372
Colne Valley Golf Club……………………….…… 01787 224343
Essex Golf and Country Club (Earls Colne).…… 01787 224466
Gosfield Lake Golf Club………………………….. 01787 474747
Rivenhall Oaks Golf Course……………………… 01376 510222
The Notleys Golf Club (White Notley)………….. 01376 329328
Unex Towerlands Golf Course…………………… 01376 326802

The Notleys Golf Club also offers pitch and putt.

Horse Riding

This area of North Essex offers miles of rolling countryside, quality bridle paths together with good stables. Prestigious equestrian events are frequently held at the Unex Towerlands.

Rayne Riding Centre, Fairy Hall Lane, Rayne Tel: 01376 322231
Unex Towerlands, Bocking, Braintree, Tel:01376 326802
Wethersfield Riding Stables, Hedingham Road, Braintree, Tel 01371 851089

Helicoptor Flights & Hot Air Ballooning

Eastern Helicoptor Ltd
Pleasure flights across North Essex, lessons and charters also available
Tel 0845 2300504

Dance with Balloon Ltd
Balloon rides over North Essex & Suffolk
Tel 01376 520928

Eastern Balloon Rides
Pleasure flights across the beautiful north Essex Countryside.
Tel 01376 585544

Leisure Centres

There are five sites in the Braintree District with leisure facilities. Most provide a selection of sports, fitness classes and well-equipped gyms. Swimming pools can be found at Braintree Riverside Centre, Bramston Sports Centre and Halstead Leisure Centre. Please find contact numbers below:

Braintree Leisure Centre……………01376 552585
Bramston Sports Centre (Witham)… 01376 533400
Halstead Sports & Leisure Pool…….01787 472480
Notley Sports Centre (Braintree)…….01376 323873
Riverside Centre (Braintree)………… 01376 323240

Real Tennis

Prested Hall
Play Real Tennis at beautiful Prested Hall, which has two of only 26 courts in the Country. This exciting tactical indoor game originates from Medieval Times and can be enjoyed by all age groups.
Tel 01376 570220


Braintree Shooting School
Boasting 8 coaching staff including former world champions. Novices are welcome along for a lesson and there is no license requried when shooting under supervision.
Tel 01376 343900

Skate Parks

Braintree Skate Park in Weavers Park, Coggeshall Road and Witham Skate Park, Spa Road, offer modern skateboarding facilities for beginners and more experienced.
Tel 01376 552525


Braintree & Bocking Public Gardens
Tennis courts available for hire within the five-acre gardens.
Tel 01376 328714

Braintree Tennis Club
Offers all weather courts, floodlit courts and, during the summer, grass courts for all ages and abilities.
Tel 01376 322030

Water Sports

Gosfield Lake Resort
Gosfield Lake provides a beautiful 36-acre sheltered lake for all types of water sports. Beginners or experts are all welcome at this friendly resort.
Tel 01787 475043

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