There will be free parking on selected days in late November and December at some car parks in the Dorset Council area.

To encourage residents to support local businesses by shopping locally and attending events, free parking will be available on Small Business Saturday which takes place on 3 December this year.

Dorset Council is offering free parking on the first Saturday in December at: Beaminster, Blandford, Bridport, Dorchester, Gillingham, Lyme Regis, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Sturminster Newton, Wareham, Weymouth and Wimborne.

Free parking will also be available in car parks managed by Dorset Council on various other dates in the run-up to Christmas. Details of the car parks and dates can be seen on the council’s Christmas parking webpages

Councillor Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment said: “Shopping locally is a great way to cut down the mileage and support Dorset’s superb range of local businesses.

“For something different, why not take a look at what our fabulous independent businesses have to offer and shop locally this year.”

Other providers, such as town councils, may also offer free parking in the run-up to Christmas, so drivers are encouraged to check the car park’s charges boards/ticket machines for details.

Important information

If drivers normally use an online service to pay for their parking, they should check the car park’s charges boards/ticket machines for details of free parking. If free parking is advertised on that day, they do not need to buy an online ticket.

On-street parking charges and private car park charges will still apply.

Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

Weymouth details:

From the Christmas lights switch-on to encouraging shoppers to support Small Business Saturday, free parking dates in selected Weymouth car parks have been announced.   

Weymouth Town Council successfully applied to Dorset Council to allow free parking in their car parks on Saturday 26th NovemberSaturday 3rd December, and Wednesday 28th December

Participating town centre car parks include Pavilion, Pavilion Forecourt, Old Council Offices on North Quay, Governors Lane, Cosens Quay, Harbourside, Melcombe Regis, Park Street and Swannery. 

Saturday 26th November coincides with Weymouth Town Council’s Christmas lights switch-on at 5pm, New Bond Street, with the Mayor of Weymouth. There will be entertainment provided throughout the day, thanks to We Are Weymouth who are also staging an elf world record attempt! Plus, there’s late-night shopping in the town centre. Visit the website for full details. 

Saturday 3rd December is Small Business Saturday, which is a national event organised to support small businesses who are a vibrant and key part of Weymouth. 

And Wednesday 28th December provides a chance to enjoy a day out in Weymouth after the substitute bank holidays for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Cllr Tony Ferrari, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Assets and Property, said: “Weymouth is home to a fabulous range of shops and businesses so we hope this free parking offer will urge people to support their local high streets and venues, giving traders a much-needed boost.” 

Cllr Ryan Hope, Chair of Services Committee, added: “Our thanks go to Dorset Council for supporting this initiative again this year. From the Christmas lights switch-on to supporting independent traders on Small Business Saturday, having free parking available will certainly help draw people into the town and boost the local economy.”

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