Festive Derby will be worth the wait

Published: 13 November 2020

Couple shopping at christmas. Christmas lights.

All events and attractions have been designed to be covid-secure

Christmas is still coming to Derby, just a little later than planned due to the new Government restrictions. Plans for Festive Derby will be going ahead in December, with attractions that were due to happen this month being put on hold until the current lockdown lifts.

While all events and attractions will be subject to any further new guidance from Government, everything has been designed to be as COVID-secure as possible. Citizens are reminded to play their part and do the right thing for Derby by following the guidelines, wearing a face covering if they can, following social distancing at all times and following guidance about who they should be meeting with.

The Council is working with partners to transform the city into a bright and attractive place to be if you are visiting. To discourage people from gathering in large crowds there won’t be the usual large-scale events, but there will be Christmas trees, lights and two trails to follow – Window Wonderland and an Elf Trail.

Window Wonderland, a celebration encouraging shops and businesses on city centre streets to dress up their windows with a creative, seasonal display, will now begin at the start of December – previously scheduled for mid-November. Entrants are being asked to include a Christmas rainbow in their design to remember NHS staff and key workers, many of whom will be working over the holiday season.

Communities across Derby are also being encouraged to follow the spirit of Window Wonderland by creating their own trails in their neighbourhoods, decorating windows in their homes, businesses and community buildings, during December. Find out more about the Window Wonderland here.

There are some changes to the original programme.

The Christmas Market planned from Friday 27th November to Wednesday 23rd December will not be going ahead. Instead a series of Festive Markets are planned for Derby Market Place, giving Christmas shoppers the chance to support local and regional businesses by buying some unique gifts. Dates will be confirmed on the Visit Derby website as soon as possible.

Elf Encounter, a 15-minute family show by Guildhall Theatre favourites The Babbling Vagabonds, will play in the Market Place for households or small groups from Friday 4th to Wednesday 23rd December.

From Thursday 17th to Wednesday 23rd December, The Lost Boys are set to perform a one-hour show based on A Christmas Carol in the River Gardens, to a socially distanced audience seated in groups of up to four. The River Gardens is also the backdrop for the traditional sound of Christmas, with performances by a brass quintet from Sinfonia Viva, the orchestra of the East Midlands, accompanied by a choir from Derby Cathedral, on Saturday 19th December and from Monday 21st to Wednesday 23rd December.

The Salvation Army Brass Sextet are due to use the River Gardens space to bring you Christmas Carols and Seasonal Music on Sunday 20th December.

Outside the city centre, enjoy Christmas in Markeaton Park with a series of weekend activities and workshops planned to run throughout December. Although the park’s usual Family Festivities event can’t go ahead in the normal way this year, there are lots of attractions to be announced soon.

Councillor Robin Wood, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said:

“I am delighted that we have not had to cancel anything, just make some alterations to the programme, so that Festive Derby will reflect the season if you come into the city to do some shopping or enjoy one of the COVID secure performances. Of course we will have to follow any new guidance from the Government, but we will continue to do everything we can to make sure we can enjoy Christmas in a safe way.”

Derby City Council, Derby Museums, Derby Cathedral, Derby Theatre, Sinfonia Viva, Quad, Cathedral Quarter and St Peter’s Quarter Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and Intu are among the partners involved in bringing Christmas to the city, and Smooth Radio is Festive Derby’s media partner.

An updated Festive Derby guide, including a map of the Elf Trail, key features to enjoy and entertainment sites, will be online here from the end of this week. Details of the Window Wonderland trail will be online from Friday 4th December.

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