KNUTSFORD welcomed in the festive season yesterday with a superb market and the switching-on of the Christmas lights.

The Christmas Market Weekend is one of the highlights of the year for townspeople and visitors alike, and draws thousands of people attracted to its festive street market and entertainment.

The Christmas Market Weekend is organised by Knutsford Town Council, and has become a hugely popular attraction since being launched in 2010.

The success of the festive street market and the crowds it attracts have seen the council introduce a park and ride scheme this year to help take the hassle out of getting in and out of town.

“The Christmas markets are really important for the traders and the permanent businesses, and attract families and people of all ages,” said Cllr Andrew Malloy, chairman of the town council’s events committee.

“We get people from all over, including Manchester, Liverpool and Derbyshire, coming to the markets, which offer a fantastic range of unique gift ideas and a really Christmassy atmosphere.

“If you want to experience a quintessentially English Christmas market in a quintessentially English town come to Knutsford this weekend."

The park and ride runs from Booths Hall, where there will be free parking, and provide a five-minute bus journey to the market, with passengers being dropped off at the bus station in Bexton Road.

The initiative is being run by volunteers from the Cheshire Badger Vaccination Programme. There is no charge, but donations are invited, which will be shared between the town council and the vaccination programme.

Today's (Sunday) Christmas market runs from 11am to 4pm, the park and ride starting at 10.30am.

A Park and Walk scheme will be run by Knutsford Football Club, which is opening its car park in Manchester Road for today’s event.

The Get Back Band will be performing rock and roll 60s numbers outside the Lost and Found in aid of Alzheimer’s Society.