FATHER Christmas and his sleigh will be heading to Kendal on Saturday, November 16, for the Christmas lights switch-on.

Santa is to join the town's mayor Cllr Alvin Finch and town crier John Bateson for the festive gathering in the Market Place.

Celebrations will begin at 4.30pm with entertainment from Kendal Concert Band, Kendal Sea Cadets, Stagecoach theatre school and the Riversiders choir.

The volunteers of Kendal and District Lions Club will be there with Father Christmas and his sleigh giving children the chance to meet the man in red.

Mince pies and mulled wine will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, with donations to the Mayor's Charity.

The Christmas tree and lights will be switched on at 5.30pm.

The mayor, Cllr Finch, said: “I hope some of you will be able to join me on Saturday, November 16 to switch on the Christmas tree and town lights.

"I hope the town can come together and support a switch-on event next year where we work together in partnership as it is not an event the town council can run alone.”

As reported by the Gazette, Kendal Town Council announced it would be unable to hold a dedicated festive lights switch-on event this year. Councillors have been "working hard" to organise a small gathering to celebrate the illuminations being turned on.

Suggestions for next year include tying in the event with the opening of Kendal Mountain Festival 2020.

The council would welcome any ideas, which can be sent to office@kendaltowncouncil.gov.uk

Meanwhile, free Sunday parking in December is to be offered by South Lakeland District Council on its pay-and-display car parks in Ambleside, Bowness, Grange, Grasmere, Kendal - including the Westmorland Shopping Centre - Kirkby Lonsdale, Milnthorpe, Sedbergh, Ulverston and Windermere.

The free parking will apply on December 1, 8, 15 and 22, 2019.

Excluded from the offer are Miller Bridge car park in Ambleside; the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal; and contract permit holder-only car parks.

Free parking will be available at the following SLDC-operated car parks:

Ambleside - King Street, Lake Road, Low Fold and Rydal Road

Bowness -Braithwaite Fold, Ferry Nab, Glebe Road, Quarry Mount and Rayrigg Road

Grange-over-Sands - Berners Close, Hampsfell Road, Kents Bank Road, Main Street and Windermere Road

Grasmere -Red Bank Road

Kendal -Blackhall Road, Booths supermarket, Dowkers Lane, Highgate (Bowman), Parish Church, Library Road, Peppercorn Lane, Kendal Museum, Kendal College, Sandes Avenue, South Lakeland House and Westmorland Shopping Centre

Kirkby Lonsdale - Booths supermarket, Market Square and New Road (number 1 and number 2)

Milnthorpe -Beetham Road and Park Road

Sedbergh - Joss Lane and Loftus Hill

Ulverston - Brewery Street, Buxton Place, Daltongate, Stockbridge Lane, Theatre Street and The Gill

Windermere - Broad Street and Rayrigg Meadow

Cllr Robin Ashcroft, SLDC portfolio holder for economy and leisure, said: “We are committed to helping our towns and villages to thrive commercially and once again we are making this free Sunday parking offer to help support our high streets and shoppers at one of the busiest times of the year.

“There is so much to celebrate in our town and village centres and there are some wonderful, diverse and unique shops to explore. Hopefully this initiative will encourage more people to shop local this Christmas.’’