COLUMN: Support local businesses and enjoy Christmas magic in Horsham town centre

Christmas Lights, Horsham Town Centre, Horsham. Picture : Liz Pearce. LP141114CL12 SUS-141114-184525008

Christmas Lights, Horsham Town Centre, Horsham. Picture : Liz Pearce. LP141114CL12 SUS-141114-184525008

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Horsham town centres and events manager Garry-Mortimer Cook explains why Horsham is the place to be this Christmas

Horsham’s town centre, with its great choice of eateries, shops and wide variety of markets is a bustling hub at the best of times, but add in the magic of Christmas and the town becomes a real celebration of all things festive. The town centre is already lit up for Christmas, and the festive scene this year is further enhanced by a business sponsored seven metre high Christmas tree in the Carfax, providing a real focal point for visitors and residents alike.

JPCT 250612 Horsham 100 thank you. County Times news editor Theo Cronin and Garry Mortimer-Cook HDC's town centres Manager. Photo by Derek Martin ENGSUS00120120625182445

JPCT 250612 Horsham 100 thank you. County Times news editor Theo Cronin and Garry Mortimer-Cook HDC's town centres Manager. Photo by Derek Martin ENGSUS00120120625182445

Horsham District Council has invited all local carol singing groups to perform around the Christmas tree from 1st December until Christmas and many have already signed up to take the opportunity to add to the festive feel.

Late night shopping Thursdays started last week and continue until 8pm each Thursday until Christmas with free car parking available in all car parks from 4pm and every Sunday courtesy of Horsham District Council. Users of Swan Walk and the Forum Car Parks will take advantage of our new ticketless parking system - SmartPark where you just need to remember your car registration number at the end of your visit.

Christmas shopping in Horsham can be an enjoyable and leisurely experience thanks to its many independent shops offering unique inspiration for presents and the plentiful cafes and tea rooms to relax and reflect on the purchases that need to be made.

With the advent of even more Horsham stores offering Click and Collect via the internet, there is no need to go further afield, making it possible for your shopping trips to be convenient and supporting local businesses in the process.

In the town’s historic Carfax, it’s all about wonderful markets with the “Best of British” Christmas Markets with gift ideas, vintage goods and seasonal foods every Sunday as well as the whole week before Christmas. On Saturdays the Local produce and Craft market will have even more seasonal atmosphere with special Christmas bandstand concerts and Carol Singing groups every week.

A firmly French flavour will be added when France at Home bring their visiting French Market to the Carfax for a Joyeux Noel Anglo-French market experience running from Monday 15 December to Wednesday December 17. Being mid-week this gives those working in Horsham a perfect opportunity to use their lunch hours to stock up on some Gallic French treats and presents for their Christmas tables.

The town’s celebrations reach a peak on Saturday December 20 when the true meaning of Christmas will be brought home by Horsham Churches Together with their wonderful carols, family entertainments and fireworks event on the Forum starting from midday.

And finally, no festive period would be complete without its Christmas shows and this year Horsham’s Capitol will be staging three fantastic productions including two aimed at younger families, with the enchanting Snow Play running from December 10 to 22 followed by Jack and the Beanstalk from Tuesday 23rd to 31st December. This year’s big panto is the all- time favourite, Cinderella from December 11 to January 4. Tickets are available on line at www.thecapitolhorsham.co.uk or you can phone the Box Office on 01403 750220.

All in all, our town is embracing the season with enthusiasm and it’s a great place to be this Christmas.

Enjoy the celebrations.