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Call for people to buy local as free parking days returns in the run up to Christmas

Shoppers in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse are being given a helping hand to buy local this Christmas.

Those who are unable to get to local businesses by walking, cycling or public transport can take advantage of free parking in district council car parks.

The annual free parking tradition is provided by South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils to encourage people to shop locally for their Christmas presents, and is even more important this year following the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The free parking days allocated to each area are agreed with the individual town councils depending on which day would best suit local traders. 

Free Christmas parking days also means people don’t have to pay to park if they wish to catch up with friends and family in the great pubs, cafés and restaurants found across southern Oxfordshire’s towns during the festive period.

Drivers will be able to park for free in South and Vale car parks on the following days:

  • Abingdon – Saturdays 4, 11 and 18 December
  • Didcot – Mondays – 6, 13 and 20 December
  • Faringdon – Saturdays 27 November, and 4 and 11 December
  • Goring – Saturdays 4, 11 and 18 December
  • Henley – Fridays 10, 17 and 24 December
  • Thame – Saturdays 4, 11 and 18 December
  • Wallingford – Thursdays 9, 16 and 23 December
  • Wantage – Saturdays 4, 11 and 18 December

On the above days there’s no need to display a ticket, however maximum stay times will still apply in specific car parks*.

Councillor Andrew Crawford, Cabinet Member Finance and Corporate Assets, at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We already offer two hours free parking each day but in the run up to Christmas we want to make it even easier for people to shop locally.  It’s particularly important as the economy slowly recovers from the pandemic, that we continue to support our local traders and their staff.”

Cllr Sue Cooper, Cabinet Member for Environment, Climate Change and Nature Recovery at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We have a great selection of independent shops offering very different and original gifts which would make the perfect Christmas present, and by buying local you will also be supporting your own community.  We already offer an hour’s free parking in most of our car parks, but free Christmas parking days will give people more time to explore locally without having to pay any extra.  I would always urge people to walk, cycle or use public transport where possible, but I know that may not always be possible for those picking up larger presents or those who live further away in rural areas.” 

*For details on parking in southern Oxfordshire visit or