A hair salon has been recognised for having the best Christmas window decorations as Christmas market opens.

Mr Smiths of London, a hair salon in High Street, Epping, is the winner in a competition for the best Christmas Window held by Epping Town Council.

Staff will be presented with the Audrey Rose Cup by town mayor Grahame Scruton at the official opening of the Christmas Market today (December 6).

Nineteen businesses registered to enter the competition with around 260 votes cast.

The Christmas market is running from noon until 8pm, with around 70 stalls, entertainment from several schools and music from the Epping Forest Band and Harlow Salvation Army Band.

Entertainment starts at 3.15pm, following the Town Mayor’s opening speech.

To get the Christmas spirit started this December, the annual 25ft Christmas tree on the Piazza is returning alongside the festive lights around the town, which will be switched on by Cllr Scruton.

Santa will be visiting the fire station from 4pm while other attractions will include reindeer in the Market Garden; Olaf, from 'Frozen', face painting, a Town Crier and 'snow globe'.

The Christmas Market again runs alongside the Christmas Tree Festival at St John’s Church which starts at 1pm on Friday and continues on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Full programme information is available in shops, with thanks to Mullucks estate agents which has sponsored the promotional leaflets and letting boards.

Limited free car parking, courtesy of Epping Forest District Council, will be available in the Cottis Lane car park from noon.