Nottingham Christmas Market to go ahead

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Nottingham City Council has given the go-ahead for a Christmas Market and festive attractions in the city centre this year.

Organisers have revised the usual arrangements following advice from public health and the Safety Advisory Group for Events (SAGe) which preferred a dispersed offer using spaces across the city centre rather than all attractions being sited in Old Market Square as usual. The Market will therefore be spread across the Old Market Square, Smithy Row, Long Row and Trinity Square. The number of market stalls has been scaled back, and spaces around them increased to improve circulation.

Old Market Square will remain the focal point for the city’s Christmas events. The city’s traditional 60ft high Norway Spruce Christmas tree will take centre stage in front of the Council House, and the “Nottingham Wheel” makes a return.

A new Après Ski themed pop-up bar will also be located on Old Market Square, while the traditional Helter Skelter bar will return to Smithy Row.

Traditional chalet style market stalls will be trading along Long Row and Smithy Row offering a chance for some alternative Christmas shopping with a choice of gifts, crafts, and speciality food.

The festive events will also spread this year to Trinity Square, where a specially-constructed Christmas Village with a number of food and drink options will see visitors entering via a Christmas Tree-lined entrance leading to a winter-themed setting that features a number of igloo-style glass domes.

Plans for a further dispersed Winter Wonderland offer that would have seen popular elements of the event such as ice skating and the Ice and Sur la Piste bars re-located to other areas of the city centre, were considered by event organisers Mellors Group but shelved.

The decision comes a year after the city council controversially allowed the market to go ahead last December, only to perform a u-turn and close it after it drew large crowds at a time when Covid cases were surging in the city.

The hosting of the Market, just a few days after Nottingham was placed under Tier 3 restrictions which banned hospitality venues from opening, drew emotions ranging from bewilderment to anger from local business owners wondering why the City Council has allowed organisers the Mellors Group to go ahead with the event.

Nottingham’s Christmas celebrations this year will begin as the lights across the city are switched on and attractions open on Monday 15 November and will run until Friday 31 December.

Councillor Eunice Campbell Clark, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture, and Schools said: “We are really pleased that we have been able to come up with a high-quality programme of Christmas events and attractions dispersed around the city centre in conjunction with Mellors Group. In planning for this event, we have been mindful of the issues at last year’s event and we acknowledge it’s important to maintain a balance of keeping people safe and urging caution but also allowing people to enjoy the seasonal festivities. Our event plans for Christmas 2021 allows for any amendments or adjustments that may be needed due to Government advice or legislation.”

A spokesperson from Mellors Group said: “We’re pleased to be bringing a Christmas experience to the heart of Nottingham once again. While we are of course disappointed not be able to bring the entire Winter Wonderland experience to Nottingham this year, the reduced-scale and dispersed offer of events and attraction across the city centre will still ensure that Nottingham remains one of the best seasonal destinations for visitors this Christmas.”