Christmas lights, free parking and late night shopping in Barnstaple

Barnstaple High Street at Christmas

Barnstaple High Street at Christmas - Credit: NDC

Barnstaple town centre is getting ready to welcome residents back with a bang this Christmas, with a special series of events and free parking for shoppers.

Kicking off the festive season, on Thursday 25 November the town will host a low-key Christmas lights switch-on evening, which also heralds the start of late night shopping in the town. Taking account of Covid safety and to avoid overcrowding, Christmas lights will be turned on at various locations in intervals, with festive entertainment at each site. The event will start on the Square, move to the Strand, continue through the town and finish in the Barnstaple Pannier Market with food, music and a light display.

Following the lights switch-on, Barnstaple will host late night shopping evenings - both in town centre shops and the Pannier Market - every Thursday until Christmas, with street food traders, unique gift stalls and musicians until 9pm. The Pannier Market, which will be adorned with large Christmas wreaths displayed from the ceiling, will also be open seven days a week during December.

A further draw for shoppers during the Christmas period will be the free parking on offer at North Devon Council (NDC)-managed car parks across the district on Thursdays between 25 November and 23 December, from 3pm until charges resume the following morning. Shoppers will also be able to access free parking in all NDC-managed car parks during the lead-up to the big day; from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 December, parking will be free from 4pm in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and South Molton (from 3pm on Thursday 23 December). 

Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, Hannah Harrington, says: "We are very excited about the festivities in our town this Christmas; they really do offer something for everyone. Whilst we will miss the big switch-on event of previous years, we felt it was more important to keep everyone safe and instead organise a series of events that encourage residents and visitors to come along and enjoy our town centre safely.

"The late night Christmas shopping events - coupled with free parking - present a great opportunity to soak up the festive atmosphere, pick up some unique Christmas gifts and enjoy a mince pie or mulled wine, whilst supporting the local businesses and traders that make these events possible. It is so important that we continue to support our locally-owned retail and hospitality businesses by celebrating the Live, Love, Local message: distance socially, spend locally and enjoy safely."

More details and the full programme of Christmas activities can be found on the Live Love Local Events webpage.

Locals and visitors are encouraged to download the new Dscvr app, where they can find a host of festive special offers and Christmas events happening throughout December.

The app connects the user to their local town, high street, shopping centre or community by guiding them to the area’s many brilliant local shops, restaurants, events and experiences.

A QR code to download the app, plus more information is available through North Devon Council's website.

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