SHOPPERS will have an extra five days to browse gifts and embrace the festive cheer at this year's Oxford Christmas Market.

Oxford City Council announced yesterday that the 'beloved' gathering of Christmas stalls in Broad Street will stay in place for the longest period to date.

It will run for 16 days from December 7 until December 22, whereas last year's only ran for 11.

Applications for the 60 stalls year are already fully booked, with many new businesses signing up.

It is in its ninth year and promises carol singing and an array of unusual gifts.

Councillor Mary Clarkson, the council's executive board member for supporting local communities, said: "As one of the city’s most beloved annual events, I am very pleased Oxford Christmas Market is going to be here for longer than ever in 2018.

"Widely requested by visitors and unanimously supported by the city council and Oxfordshire County Council, this decision is wonderful news for all who enjoy the occasion."

'Delighted' Nicole Rahimi, owner of the market, added: "Visitors and stallholders have always been keen that the market matches the duration of some of the larger Christmas markets in the UK, and we hope this will give even more visitors the opportunity to come along."