Destination Chesterfield Chair, Peter Swallow has provided his thoughts ahead of a busy and exciting festive period ahead in Chesterfield
Christmas this year will look and feel a bit different for us all now that Covid restrictions have been fully lifted.
Once again, we can enjoy and experience the Christmas atmosphere in Chesterfield’s plethora of shops, market stalls, pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants.
While times are testing for the hospitality sector nationally, with many businesses reporting staff shortages it is extremely pleasing to see the fresh shoots of new restaurants in and around the town centre.
Three new restaurants have already opened in time for Christmas – Blaze in Stephenson’s Place, Gingerz on Chatsworth Road and Vegged on Sheffield Road, and more eateries are in the pipeline for 2022.
As well as new places to eat and drink, we’ve also seen new names join Chesterfield’s high street this year, including The Bee Orchid, The Lucky Magpie Salvage and Chesterfield Escape Rooms. I expect more new names to join Chesterfield’s plethora of independents soon following Vicar Lane Shopping Centre’s plans for a brand-new initiative to support start-up and small independent retailers with the ‘Vicar Lane Pop Up Shop’.
We really will be spoilt for choice in the nomination stage at next year’s Love Chesterfield Awards.
The lifting of restrictions has also meant the return of in-person events to the town centre, like the Christmas Light Switch On, the Crooked Spire’s Festival of Christmas Trees, the Santa cruise on the canal and the pantomime, to name but a few. They have all been missed.
While 2020 was challenging it also provided us with a valuable opportunity to do things differently and sometimes better. Like the Amazing Magical Chesterfield Santa House which offers children the unique opportunity to talk to the Big Man himself via the ‘Santa Zoomer’.
The concept was conceived during the pandemic and was such a hit that it is returning this year. To ensure as many young people as possible can enjoy the experience it is particularly pleasing to see that ‘relaxed sessions’ have been added to the Amazing Magical Chesterfield Santa House for children with learning disabilities and other sensory disorders.
A truly inclusive Christmas awaits everyone in Chesterfield this year.
2021, like 2020, has been a year of change and adaptation. As we continue to navigate through one of the most testing periods in recent history we have shown, once again that Chesterfield is resilient, forward thinking and the place to be. It’s my kind of town… and not just for Christmas!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.