NIGHTLIFE in Whitehaven is on the up with a host of new venues opening their doors.

Over the past 12 months the town centre has seen a surge of new bars and restaurants as well as existing businesses rebranding.

The town is bucking the national trend as figures released earlier this year showed that pubs were closing down nationally at a rate of one every 12 hours.

But in Whitehaven, the town's night-time economy is buzzing.

The latest reopening is The Strand, formerly Billy McGrady's on New Lowther Street, thanks to a huge renovation by owner Lindsay Bell.

And later this month a new wine and cocktail bar is due to open in the heart of the town.

Siblings John Pearson and Nicola Rickerby hope to welcome punters to their new venture, in the former Coral bookmakers on King Street, on the August bank holiday weekend.

The duo say they've had a blast designing the new look for the bar, which they've called NJ's (Nicola and John's), and have carried out all the cosmetic work within the building themselves.

Commenting on their new business, their mum Aileen Pearson, who owns The Vine in Market Place, said: "Nightlife is definitely on the up in Whitehaven, and they thought a new wine and cocktail bar would be an ideal addition to the town."

Other establishments which have opened in the town include Number 11 and Gin and Beer It in Market Place, the Corner Bar on Tangier Street and the Harbour Master by the marina.

Castle Knights has also had a makoever and the former Roc Bar has been rebranded as Club 135.

The Strand has been renovated and glammed up with a 'rustic industrial meets shabby chic' and returned to its original name, says new owner Lindsay Bell.

Lindsay and her husband reopened the bar last month, and worked together to give the building a makeover, after Lindsay, who previously worked in the car industry, fancied a career change.

The couple chose to adopt the bar's initial name, The Strand, to draw in the old customers as well as the new.

And it hasn't gone unnoticed, as Lindsay says many guests have commented on the reused name: "We've had so many people come in and say 'I'm so pleased The Strand's back!'"

"It's such an iconic name in the town, and it was so well known in its day. We just wanted to bring it back to what it was," she added.

Copeland mayor Mike Starkie said: “It’s extremely heartening to see so many new businesses open or reopen within Whitehaven’s night-time economy over the past 12 months.

“It’s clear that people have the confidence in the town to make this significant investment, and I wish all newcomers to our business community well.

“This upward trend also demonstrates how well managed Whitehaven’s night-time economy is, with schemes like Pubwatch and Best Bar None working together to ensure that Whitehaven is a safe place to enjoy a night out."