The late night shopping is just part of the wealth of activities and events taking part in the town in the run up to December 25.

Barnstaple is well and truly running up to Christmas, with late night shopping sessions starting this evening.

Shops in the town centre and Green Lanes will be open until 9pm every Thursday until Christmas Day,

The shopping means the High Street, Joy Street and Green Lane will be temporarily closed to traffic between 4.30pm and 9pm.

Anyone parking in a North Devon Council car park from 5pm will be able to do so for free, after the council announced relaxed charges for December.

Tonight's event is the first of many taking place in Barnstaple town centre in the run up to Christmas.

Pannier Market Events

Barnstaple Pannier Market will host a special Christmas circus show on Sunday December 4 from 2pm.

Barnstaple Town Council's annual Christmas Fayre and carol service takes place on Thursday December 8 from 6.30pm.

Proceeds from the Council's event in the pannier market go to the Mayor's chosen charities, ChemoHero, Barnstaple Dementia Alliance Group, Honey's Bravery Bags and North Devon Hospice.

The event will feature a performance from the Military Wives Choir.

For foodies, there will be festive treats available at the pannier market's monthly real food market on Sunday December 11.

The market will be open for each Thursday night shopping session, and on December 15 and 22, the town's Christmas street food party is sure to keep shoppers energy up.

North Devon Council's executive member for economic regeneration, Councillor Pat Barker said: "There is a wonderful range of events planned at the market for this year's festive period, with something for everyone to enjoy. The Pannier Market is such an important part of the town centre, it's lovely to see such a busy Christmas schedule."

Lantern Parade

Coinciding with late night shopping on December 15 is Barnstaple's first Christmas Lantern Parade.

The parade, which is organised by Barnstaple Town Centre Management and North Devon Theatres, will begin at 6pm from Green Lanes.

Cancer Research Relay for Life Teams will be joining the parade with their Candles of Hope; paying tribute to those whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Prizes including Tesco gift cards and food hampers will be awarded to those with the best lanterns.

If you want to make a lantern for the parade, workshops take place on Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm.