CHRISTMAS is coming early for Worcester residents this year, as a free parking scheme will be introduced on the night of the city lights switch on event.

Shoppers can take advantage of late night opening in city shops every Thursday evening in the run up to Christmas.

Free parking is available after 6pm, starting tomorrow, (November 14), running each Thursday including December 22.

As well as Thursdays, Worcester residents and visitors to the city can take advantage of a parking offer on Sundays.

Motorists can park their car on council car parks and pay for two hours - and get the rest of the day free.

The offer runs on Sundays up to and including December 18.

Both offers apply to all council council car parks, including the Cattle Market, Cornmarket, Pitchcroft and St Martins Gate car parks.

The only exception will be the Corn Market car park on Thursday, November 24, and Sunday, November 27, when it is closed for the annual Victorian Christmas Fair.

The city’s festive lights, including new white-and-gold illuminations, are being switched on by the Mayor of Worcester and Pudsey Bear, at 6pm.

The event, hosted by BBC Hereford & Worcester presenters Malcolm Boyden and Elliott Webb, starts at 4pm and also includes entertainment from Blobbie Williams, the Worcestershire Rock Choir, pop duo The Fidgets.

Cabinet member for economic prosperity Councillor Geoff Williams said: “Worcester’s city centre is the ideal destination for all your Christmas shopping, with its range of unique independent stores as well as the large high street brands.

“Our festive parking offer will help to take the pressure off your Christmas budget, while you shop.”

Adrian Field, head of Worcester Bid, said: “Offering free parking is a fantastic gesture.

“Worcester has got everything you would need to have a great time at Christmas.”