Thursday, 11 August 2022

Let free land train take the strain

Let free land train take the strain

HENLEY’S new festive shopping event takes place on Sunday (December 11).

Called the Festive Sunday Shopping Event, it runs from 11am to 4pm.

Many shops not normally open on Sundays will be joining those who are for a seasonal day of special offers.

And for the benefit of anyone concerned about getting around the town with their bags of shopping, a free “land train” is being laid on.

This will be doing loops of the town all day — travelling along Station Road, Reading Road, Duke Street, Bell Street, New Street, River Side, Thames Side and River Terrace.

Collection and drop-off points will be at Mill Meadows and Henley Station car parks, Market Place and opposite the Kenton Theatre — where there will be face-painting from 1pm to 3pm.

Town manager Helen Barnett said: “We hope the extra festivities organised in the town will help encourage everyone to shop locally and support the Henley retailers. 

“We have the land train, which will be travelling around the town for shoppers and children to enjoy. 

“There will be carols, many mince pies and a few glasses of fizz. Many of the retailers are offering special treats, offers, or going the extra mile.”

The new event replaces the High Street Hootenanny, which was held for the first time last year on the same weekend as the Christmas Festival.

To help entice shoppers into the town, many shops will be providing children’s entertainment or festive snacks.

In Market Place there will be a stall run by the Local Larder, based in Wargrave and run by Alison Hussey, selling goods from the farm shop and deli. There will be singing round Santa’s sleigh, co-ordinated by the Henley Round Table, and 1st Henley Brownies will be wrapping presents in return for small donations.

Mint Velvet will have nibbles and fizz for shoppers and Adventures in Living will give out mince pies. Arts, crafts and face-painting will be offered from a stall next to Oxfam and Joules will have a short festive story for children at 12.30pm.

In the evening the Henley Living Advent Calendar performance will take place in Market Place from 6.15pm. A warm-up act will perform at 5.45pm. In Reading Road there will be two Punch and Judy shows at Liz Felix Millinery at 1pm and 3pm. Laura Ashley will be giving out festive treats and the Bohun Gallery will be offering previews of its new exhibition.

Central Home will have festive fizz, nibbles and be doing a prize draw, while shoppers at Tesco will be treated to carol singing from 11am to 4pm. In Duke Street there will be Christmas carols sung by Henley Music School outside Vinegar Hill from 12.30pm to 2pm. Prosecco and nibbles will be available for customers at Cara in Duke Street and Biggie Best will be giving a free gift with purchases over £50.

At Space NK there will be mini facial and make-up demos, sample bags with purchases made, and treats including champagne, chocolates and mince pies.

Meanwhile, Oxfam Books will have Christmas arts and crafts for children all day.

Over in Bell Street, Fat Face will offer festive activities and White Stuff will have mulled wine and mince pies as well as colouring for children.

At Henley Pet Shop there will be specially handmade Christmas stockings for dogs.

In Hart Street, florists White Gdn will be offering customers 20 per cent off their purchases.

Town councillor David Eggleton will be offering a walking tour of the town and its buildings from 11am outside St Mary’s Church.

Later in the day, the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge will host a carol service inside the church from 3pm.

At the Old Fire Station Gallery in Upper Market Place, there will be an exhibition by the Henley Art and Crafts Guild.

Throughout the day, Mr Toad from the River and Rowing Museum will be out and about in the town. Chestnut sellers will also be dotted around the town.

All Brakspear pubs have been declared shopping-free zones, so people can relax away from the Christmas rush.

Ms Barnett added: “Mr Toad has gone missing, so why not see if the children can find him? There will be Victorian boat swings in Market Place and in the unit next to the passageway there will be fun for children including arts, crafts and face-painting. We will have present-wrapping by 1st Henley Brownies and elves for those who don’t like wrapping — why not have it done for you?  Do come and join in.”

Henley Mayor Julian Brookes said: “It will be a great day to buy presents in the town and it is good for the town’s economic vibrancy. It is a great idea to have these events on the Sunday and a give us a chance to support our local retailers.”

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