“Fantastic”, “incredible”, “amazing” are just three of the positive words used to describe the tour de France coming through Epping Forest.

Thousands of families, tourists and business owners lined the route between Willingale and Buckhurst Hill.

The majority gathered in Epping to see the stage three sprint points awarded sporting many in ‘French’ outfits and blowing whistles and horns.

Onlookers perched on bins, post boxes and stepladders while others enjoyed the view from rooftops, church towers and upstairs windows.

Pubs, cafes and food stalls were all bustling and Church’s butchers in High Street, Epping, managed to sell out of bacon rolls in the morning.

Before the race leader of Epping Forest District council, Chris Whitbread, said: “It’s fantastic for the district and for my home town of Epping.

“It shows how well we work together as a community and we hope this great feeling will pay off in the future and shows people Epping is a great place to visit.”

Insp Andy Fusher said no serious incidents of crime had been reported during the event and was happy with how things had gone.

The Chabad libavitch Jewish community centre in Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill, offered an array of kosher foods and supplied indoor and outdoor seating for people to enjoy the race.

Bernie Baker from Buckhurst Hill Bowling Club in Epping New Road said: “I am here with all my friends, the weather is great.

“We have come as a large group from our bowling club and we are sat all along here which is great as we can nip to the loo in the club if needs be!”

More than 600 passengers took the Epping Ongar Railway from Ongar to North Weald which enabled people to get to the race despite widespread road closures which are now open.

There were balloons everywhere and members of the crowd were leaping to grab memorabilia thrown from the promotional vehicles prior to the race.

Guardian reporter Georgia Diebelius was hit with at least two boxes of Yorkshire Tea and a packet of Haribo.

People decorated fences, shop fronts and spectators brought home-made signs to encourage the riders.

Maggie and Fred Rogers of Brook Lane said: "The atmosphere is incredible, it really is a once in a lifetime experience."

Amelia Jones of Meadow Road said: "Fantastic. A truly amazing experience and I am so glad I was here to see it."