THOUSANDS will descend on St Matthew's Field this week for the annual Bridgwater Fair.

The event gets underway on Wednesday - and your Bridgwater Mercury is helping you save money.

We have teamed up with organisers to offer £5 off rides at the fair, with your vouchers for 50p off rides printed in tomorrow's Mercury.

The fair is a historic event, dating back some 800 years to the Charter of King John.

It has been held at St Matthew's Field for around 600 years and offer dozens of rides and stalls for an estimated 40,000 visitors each year.

Opening at 11am on Wednesday, the fair runs until Saturday.

Opening hours are:

11am to 11pm Wednesday

1pm to 11pm on Thursday

1pm to 11:30pm on Friday

11am to 11pm on Saturday

Meanwhile, the West Street Market is also open across the week.

"Traders from across the UK attend the West Street and Fairfield markets with products ranging from clothing and shoes, rugs and cushions, bulbs and plants, china and pottery, as well as culinary delights such as the famed welsh cakes, brandy snaps, preserves and jams and much more," said a Sedgemoor District Council spokesman.

The market opening hours are:

10am to 10pm Wednesday

10am to 10pm on Thursday

10am to 10pm on Friday

10am to 10pm on Saturday

The fair is officially opened on 'Fair Wednesday' at 11:30am by Sedgemoor District Council's Chairman and the Mayor of Bridgwater.

A number of road closures are in place while the fair is running, road closures come into force at 9am on Tuesday, and are lifted at 10am on Sunday.

West Street, Milton Place, St Matthews Green, Westover Green and St Matthews Field are affected by road closures and diversion routes will be in place.

Prohibition of parking (and traffic coning) will be in place along many surrounding streets including Northfield, Durleigh Road (to the junction of Woodbury Road), Park Road and Albert Street from 8pm on September 24 until 10am on Sunday.

Westfield Close will be residents permit only. If residents park without a permit then they are liable to a parking fine.

"As in previous years limited parking will be available Thursday to Saturday of fair week, with the Rotary Club of Bridgwater which is located on the Fairfield and costs of £3.50 per vehicle," the spokesman added.

"Additional public parking is usually available at the YMCA in Friarn Avenue and at Bridgwater Cricket Club on Durleigh Road."