With Nottingham’s Tier 3 status now confirmed by Government, the city has been able to finalise plans for Christmas activities in Old Market Square. Saturday 5 December will see the opening of Nottingham Christmas Market – a collection of market stalls, rides, and take away refreshment stalls designed to be enjoyed by all ages. The market will be overlooked by a 32m high observation wheel – an ideal vantage point to safely watch the Christmas festivities and the Christmas tree standing at over 18m, sparkling below.
Construction of the market and rides will begin on Friday evening (27 November). Nottingham Christmas Market is open every day from December 5 from 10am to 9pm, until 24 December.
Restrictions on large scale events and hospitality have meant that the popular Sur La Piste, Altitude bars, ice bar and outdoor ice skating rink are not able to be staged this year. No alcohol will be sold at Nottingham Christmas Market. While it will be a disappointment to many that the traditional Winter Wonderland is unable to return, several much-loved elements will remain.
Approximately 40 chalet-style market stalls will offer a chance for some alternative Christmas shopping with a choice of gifts, crafts, and speciality foods. The stalls will be spread right across Old Market Square as well as on Long Row, and Smithy Row to offer a generous amount of space to ensure social distancing for shoppers, and for queues. Regular Christmas visitors to the city will recognise the thrilling Ice Mountain toboggan slide which returns to offer a chance to career down King Street, and the traditional carousel is back for fun at a more sedate pace. There will also be a helter skelter to ride with an opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit with a non-alcoholic mulled wine at the bottom.
To avoid large crowds visitors are encouraged to visit the market off-peak. Additional trading hours have been scheduled as late as 9pm on most evenings, and with many city centre shops also opening late, and the added attraction of all of the stalls lit up, week-day evenings are the ideal time to visit.
Other Covid-19 safety measures will include limiting capacity if required, enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures, and free hand sanitiser stations to ensure that the event can go ahead safely. Payments for rides, refreshments and at market stalls will be contactless wherever possible.
Cllr Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said: “We are so pleased to be able to bring a little bit of Christmas magic and sparkle back to the city in this difficult year and we are very grateful to the Mellors Group for working so closely with us to develop a safe event within the regulations. We are really looking forward to seeing the city lit up for Christmas from the 32m observation wheel and hope everybody takes this chance to celebrate the festive season safely with us.”
Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Growth and the City Centre said: “Despite the restrictions, challenges we’ve all faced and the need to do things differently this year, having a Christmas market is important for local people and the city’s local economy. It invites people into the city centre for a bit of festivity, to enjoy what the Christmas market traders can offer and encourages people to visit our other retailers in the city centre. We’re working with retailers and our public transport providers to stay open later to prevent overcrowding, keep visitors safe on their way in and out of the city centre and during their visit.”
Edward Mellors Creative Director of Mellors Group said: “We are delighted to be able to deliver a festive Market to residents of Nottingham this Christmas time.
“It has clearly been a difficult year, and we couldn’t think of a better way than to safely spread some joy with our Covid-secure attractions.
“Visitors looking for a magical family experience can once again indulge in a variety of festive shopping, delicious take-away foods and fun-filled rides.”
Other Nottingham Christmas attractions in the city include Christmas at Wollaton Hall when Wollaton Hall will host its first magical Christmas lights trail, as the formal gardens are transformed into an enchanted light spectacle. Visit www.whatsonnottingham to find out more and to book tickets.