Braintree is a town in Essex, England. The principal settlement of Braintree District, it is located 10 miles (16 kilometres) north-east of Chelmsford and 15 mi (24 km) west of Colchester. The urban area includes Great Notley, Rayne and High Garrett. Braintree has grown contiguously with several surrounding settlements. Braintree proper lies on the River Brain and to the south of Stane Street, the Roman road from Braughing to Colchester, while Bocking lies on the River Blackwater and to the north of the road. The two are sometimes referred to together as Braintree and Bocking. Braintree is bypassed by the modern-day A120 and A131 roads, while trains serve two stations in the town, at the end of the Braintree Branch Line.
Braintree has two main market areas that link throughout the town, which are run twice weekly, on a Wednesday and a Saturday. They are based outside the Town Hall in Market Square, and also run along Bank Street and the High Street. The High street is mainly a pedestrianised area, which allows only buses to commute through the town. Braintree Village is a shopping area on the outskirts of Braintree, described as a "designer outlet village". It has approximately 90 departments where designer brands sell surplus stock for lower than the recommended retail price. It also has its own railway station, namely Braintree Freeport railway station, which is the first stop on the journey from Braintree to London Liverpool Street via Witham.
There are also various industrial centres located around the main Braintree town area, including the Springwood Industrial Estate, Park Drive Industrial Estate and Broomhills Industrial Estate off Pod's Brook Lane.
Braintree has a population of over 41,634 people. Braintree also forms part of the wider Braintree metropolitan area which has a population of over 147,084 people.
Braintree is twinned with Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, France, and gives its name to the towns of Braintree, Massachusetts and Braintree, Vermont, in the United States.