Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Celebrating Christmas in Newbury?

There’s no better place to be than Newbury in the lead up to Christmas, with lots of exciting events for all members of the family.

Festival of Light: Lantern Procession
11 December
This lovely outdoor winter event, now in its seventh year, starts at 4pm as the lantern bearers meet and light their lamps, with the procession starting from 4.30pm on Northbrook Street and parading to Market Place. Everyone is invited to go along and enjoy the spectacle of the procession – it truly is a beautiful event to witness.

Late Night Shopping & Choir of 1,000 Voices
15 December
The fun starts from midday with children’s rides and roving entertainers in town. As the sun goes down and shops stay open late, the town centre goes traffic-free – and free parking from 5–8pm in Parkway, Kennet Centre and Northbrook multi-storey car parks makes it even more enticing. During the evening local choirs sing in different locations in the town, then everyone is invited to join them around the Christmas tree in Market Place at 7pm for a singalong to create the Choir of 1,000 Voices.

Santa Cruises
17–23 December
Santa boat trips on the iceboat Jubilee leave Newbury Wharf at 12noon and 2pm and cruise to 'Greenham Land' to find Santa! There will be a Christmas story, singing and plenty of time with Santa during the trip. Tickets include a gift for children from Santa and refreshments for adults. See www.jubilee.katrust.org.uk or call 01380 721279 for details.

Cinderella at the Corn Exchange
Until 31 December
An action-packed show full of mischief, mayhem, magic, slapstick and silliness in the Corn Exchange’s 2016 pantomime – Cinderella. As always with the best pantos, expect plenty of ‘He’s behind you!’ and audience participation! Make sure you pop in to the Kitchen and Bar at the Corn Exchange where they will have a special menu with a Cinderella-inspired twist.

Sleeping Beauty at The Watermill
Until 1 January

The Watermill is a magical place to visit at any time of year, but at Christmas it is even more so. This year’s Christmas show, Sleeping Beauty, sees the mischievous Fairy Goody giving her own hilarious take on the classic fairy story. The Watermill restaurant will be laying on special afternoon teas with a Sleeping Beauty theme, so tasty treats await!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Newbury: The Great British High Street

Newbury is in the running for The Great British High Street, #GBHighSt, a competition that celebrates the innovative work going on to support those working to revive, adapt and diversify high streets across the country.

So why is the high street such a big deal?

According to research from the Economic & Social Research Council, derelict high streets are highly visible and provide graphic evidence of the severity of economic downturn. Its research shows that the number of empty property units more than doubled to 16.3% in late 2012 from 7% in 2008.

This downturn was triggered by three key factors:
1)     The progressive rise of online shopping.
2)     The impact of competition from out-of-town ‘one-stop’ retail developments.
3)     The rise of convenience culture.

In order to survive and thrive, retailers need to change. According to the Digital High Street 2020 Report, a successful high street must be convenient, engaging, relevant, adaptive, diverse and experiential.

So how does Newbury fair?

There are many factors that make Newbury stand out, and why we feel it’s worthy of taking the top spot of Britain’s best high street:

We’re proud to be a market town
Besides being a high street full of shops, Newbury is first and foremost a market town. Encouraging local people to come together and share their crafts, Newbury high street is host to a variety of markets, including a twice weekly chartered market, a monthly farmer’s market on every third Sunday and an artisan market on the last Sunday of every month.

We’re famous!
With an average of 6.6 million viewers tuning in to watch the final episode, it’s well-known that Downton Abbey is actually set in the beautiful grounds of Highclere Castle. But did you know that Greenham Common is more famous? Used by production studios on several occasions, filming has taken place for Top Gear, a BeyoncĂ© music video, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

We’re working towards securing a sustainable future for the area
Our ambition far exceeds being a bog-standard town. Under the Newbury Vision 2026, we want to enhance the area for the good of our residents. Already the town has seen great improvements, including the pedestrianisation of Northbrook Street, the opening of Vue cinema, and the development and opening of Parkway Shopping Centre, which has increased footfall by 750,000 people.

We celebrate our heritage
How many towns can say their history dates back 1,100 years? Look closely and you’ll see signs of Newbury’s history dotted around the town. From the Newbury Mosaic at the public library, to the overhanging gallery of The Granary, Corn Exchange, and Newbury Bridge. During specially organised Heritage Days, many businesses even open their doors so you can explore the town in greater detail.

We strive for excellence
Under Newbury BID, our businesses collectively invest in local improvements to enhance their trading environment. We host numerous events and competitions in the town centre throughout the year to attract more visitors and boost business. According to a report published in The Guardian, for every £1 spent with an SME, 63p stays in the local economy, which is why it’s such an important initiative.

We have purple flag status
The Association of Town Centre Management awarded Newbury a Purple Flag, meaning the town has been officially recognised as welcoming everyone, offering safe ways for visitors to travel home, providing a good mix of venues and is appealing after dark. As a result, our town benefits from more visitors, lower crime and anti-social behaviour and improved perceptions.

It’s generally a great place to be
There’s always something going on in Newbury. This year alone we’ve seen another great Crafty Craft, a tradition that involves the whole community getting creative, to NewburyFest, our month-long summer event which celebrates local groups, charities and diversity, and the hotly anticipated Christmas Festival.

So you see, there’s so much more to Newbury than first meets the eye. Last year, The Great British High Street saw 230 high streets enter the awards, with 200,000 votes cast; this year the event organiser thinks the competition is ‘bigger and better’, and we’re hoping you’ll join us in keeping everything crossed for Newbury taking the prized title.

…or Tweet us @VisitNewbury using the hashtag #GBHighSt to share your views on why Newbury deserves to win.