Christmas in Preston all wrapped up

The Christmas Light Switch on in Preston last year

The Christmas Light Switch on in Preston last year

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Free parking, more music and a complimentary bus service have all been unveiled in plans to boost Preston’s festive celebrations.

Shoppers will be able to park for free at St George’s Centre, the Fishergate Centre, the Market Hall and Arthur Street at certain times in the run up to Christmas.

The Business Improvement District (BID) has also announced further artists to perform at the lights switch-on, with a free Preston Bus service taking families from across the city.

Joining headliner Alesha Dixon at the switch-on on November 14 will be 90s pop star Kavana - member of The Big Reunion, boyband 5th Story and star of Celebrity Big Brother.

Also at the event, which runs from 5.30pm to 7.45pm, will be Bailey McConnell, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014.

The event will also feature Star of Phoenix Nights Archie Kelly and the cast of the Guildhall’s pantomime Sleeping Beauty.

Families are being offered a free ride into the city on any Preston Bus service between 4pm and 5pm.

The city’s Christmas TV advert will also be beamed to more than 4.5million homes from early December.

BID’s Mark Whittle said: “Christmas is a really important time of year and, as always, BID is committed to ensuring our city centre shines bright.

“We are proud to be leading the city’s campaign for 2015, working in partnership with St George’s Centre, the Fishergate Centre, Preston Council, Lancashire County Council and our switch-on partner Rock FM to ensure that Preston has an unrivalled offer regionally and that we welcome as many people as possible to our city centre over this period.”

Meanwhile, Longridge has announced the dates for its main festive event as December 4,5 and 6 - but celebrations will be scaled back this year, with no land train and fewer stalls. There are plans, however, for Longridge Band, a hog roast, a funfair and local entertainments in the pipeline