Councils across Kent are offering free parking during the Christmas period to encourage residents and visitors to shop locally and support local businesses.
Here is a list of everywhere you can park for free across the county…
Parking will be free all day on:
- Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10
- Saturday, December 16, and Sunday, December 17.
Free parking is already offered at the following car parks:
- Edinburgh Road multi-storey car park (free after 3pm Monday-Saturday and free all day Sundays).
- Elwick Place car park (free every day after 3pm).
- Flour Mills car park (free on Sundays and bank holidays).
- Station Road car park (free after 3pm and on Sundays and bank holidays).
- Bridewell Lane car park in Tenterden (free on Sundays and bank holidays).
Cllr Steve Campkin, deputy leader and portfolio holder for climate, environment and transport said: “With the continued impact of the cost of living it has been another tough year for many.
“Every saving helps so I’m pleased that we are able to offer free parking in Ashford and Tenterden in the run up to Christmas.
“The added advantage is that buying locally helps to support our town centre shops and those who work in them, in turn helping to boost our local economy.”
Canterbury does not have any plans to offer free parking over the Christmas period.
A spokesman for the council said: "Shoppers can park for free at the council's car park in Military Road, Canterbury, at the weekends all year round including the festive season.
"And they can take full advantage of our Park and Ride scheme which, at £4 per day per car and up to six passengers, is outstanding value."
Dartford Borough Council is offering free parking on market days – Thursdays and Saturdays – throughout December in Acacia and Mansion House car parks.
This is in addition to free parking on Sundays.
Dover District Council’s off-street car parks will be free from 3pm on Monday to Friday throughout December.
On-street parking charges will apply as normal and in the car parks usual fees would apply at all other times and dates. Yellow line restrictions will also continue as normal.
Folkestone and Hythe
This means there will be no charge to park on Saturday, December 9, 16 and 23.
Limited waiting (free) and controlled parking zone restrictions are still in place on these days.
Cllr Polly Blakemore, cabinet member for transport, regulatory services and building control said: “Our district is home to a wonderful range of independent traders with amazing gift ideas. We hope this initiative will generate even more of a buzz ahead of the Christmas season.
“This time of year is especially important for local businesses and we hope this small present will bring them – as well as our residents – some festive cheer.”
Parking in Gravesend is and will continue to be free for two hours on Saturday and all day Sunday in the following car parks:
- Parrock Street car park.
- Rathmore Road car park.
- Milton Place car park.
- Ordnance Road car park.
- West Street car park.
Maidstone Borough Council does not have any plans to offer free parking during the Christmas period.
It said: “[Our] car parks are competitively priced and have not had a price increase across all the tariff bands since April 2020.
“They continue to offer excellent value for money throughout the festive period and are ideally placed close to the shops to support visitors to the town centre.”
Medway Council is offering two free days of parking across all of the car parks it owns on Saturday, December 16, and Sunday, December 17.
Cllr Lauren Edwards, portfolio holder for economic and social regeneration and inward investment at Medway Council said: "Despite the council's incredibly challenging financial situation, where we are able to help our residents and business communities, we will.
"I am pleased that we will be waiving the parking fees on two dates over a weekend, just before Christmas.
"This will allow people who work in Medway to park for free, as well as encourage residents to shop local and visit one of the many fantastic restaurants over the festive period."
Sevenoaks District Council is providing free parking for the Christmas lights switch on which is taking place on Friday, November 24 on the high street.
Free parking will also be available for late night shopping events on the following dates:
- In Westerham on Thursday, November 24 from 5.30pm.
- In Sevenoaks town centre on Friday, November 25 from 5.30pm.
Parking is also free at weekends in the Gordon Road car park in Sevenoaks, close to the town centre.
Thanet District Council has no additional plans for the Christmas period as it already offers free parking on Saturdays all-year round at the following car parks:
- Mill Lane Car Park in Margate (open 7am-7pm).
- Harold Road Car Park in Cliftonville.
- St Peter’s Park Road Car Park in Broadstairs.
- Cannon Road Car Park in Ramsgate.
Tonbridge and Malling
However, council-owned car parks in the borough are free on Sundays and in the evenings all year round.
Royal Victoria Place and Meadow Road car parks in Tunbridge Wells which are open every day between 7am to 11pm, will be free all day on Sunday, December 3, 10, and 17.
There will also be no payment or ticket required on December 24 and 31 during centre opening hours.
Cllr Justine Rutland, cabinet member for economic development, said: "I'm pleased that we are able to offer shoppers free parking days over the festive period. Local businesses have told us this is important to them. so it is great we're able to help.
"This is the first Christmas parking offer since 2019 and I hope it encourages lots of people to come into town on Sundays, which is traditionally one of the quieter days for retailers".
Centre manager at Royal Victoria Place Nicky Blanchard said: "This will be an enormous help to both our retailers and our customers. We very much hope that customers will take advantage of this opportunity to browse our many wonderful stores."