Shoppers heading into Kendal will have the Christmas bonus of free parking in the town this weekend.
There will be no charges at the multi-storey Westmorland Shopping Centre car park on Friday and Saturday (Dec 18/19) on the busiest weekend before the holiday. Free parking will also extend to Boxing Day.
Cars can also be parked free at the K Village car park where a park-and-ride scheme has been operating since the beginning of the month. Sunday parking in Kendal is free in all SLDC car parks.
The announcement follows a deal between the Kendal Business Improvement District (BID) and South Lakes District Council in response to the recent flooding in the town. They want to encourage shoppers and other visitors to come into the town and support local businesses and tourist attractions.
“We’re open and we’re buzzing,” said Kendal BID chairman, Daniel Morley.
South Lakeland district councillor Giles Archibald said: “We are providing free parking in response to requests from businesses in the town. We want to tell the message clearly, come and shop in Kendal.”
An extravaganza of seasonal entertainment is planned for the coming weekend in the town centre, featuring weird and wonderful performers like Funky Christmas Pigeons, Naughty Angels on Sticks and Magical Jugglers, along with seasonal music.
These will be centred on the Market Place which has seasonal stalls and also some temporary stalls set up for businesses which were displaced by the floods.
Town centre venues have programmes of Christmas entertainment. The Albion Christmas Band will perform seasonal carols, songs and stories at the Brewery Arts Centre, which is also showing the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. The Brewery is also staging a free carol concert at 12 noon on Christmas Eve.
At Abbot Hall the Gallery, Museum and Canaletto exhibition are all open. There’s also the spectacular Son et Lumiere shows visiting Kendal for the first time, for which local schoolchildren and youth groups have helped with the graphics and music. This can be seen from 4.30 daily from Dec 20-23, at the following venues: Parish Church (Dec 20); St George’s Church (Dec 21); County Hall (Dec 22) and Market Place (Dec 23).
Mr Morley said: “Kendal businesses have responded with speed and enthusiasm to keep the town trading. In Kendal, we have a fantastic, historic market town brimming with culture, lots of individual and specialist shops, and a great choice of places to eat and drink. And this Christmastime, the streets are also coming to life with fantastic musical acts and entertainment for all the family to enjoy. Visiting Kendal has never been easier.”
A free smartphone app, Bubbal, can be downloaded to find more local information and special offers.
The free shuttle bus leaves K Village on the hour every hour with a number of stops throughout the town. Full details of this, and other events, along with the Bubbal app, can be found on the Kendal BID website http://www.kendalbid.co.uk/2015/11/kendals-christmas-fun/