Have a merry Knutsford Christmas
- Credit: Archant
Christmas in many of our towns and villages won’t look quite the same as in years past, but Knutsford is getting creative to offer residents and visitors the best experience possible
Over the last decade Christmas in Knutsford has become quite the event. The Christmas Lights switch on attracts a crowd of thousands and kicks off an entire weekend of activities, from the annual Christmas Market to the traditional Crib Service. This year, the coronavirus pandemic has forced much change upon the town, but the Town Council and local businesses aren’t letting it stop them doing all they can to make the special season very special still. Alex Brown, Knutsford Town Council’s events officer, says, “While we can’t run the usually magnificent lights switch on event, which draws huge crowds, we are looking at several ways to give Christmas in Knutsford the fun festive feel it usually has. We shall still have the lights, of course, and plan to film them all coming on, and then create a video with footage from around the town and the Mayor unveiling the Crib, which usually takes place in a very popular service but which of course can’t happen this year.
“We shall still be holding the annual Knutsford Christmas Market, which will run on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November, from 11am to 4pm, on the Princess Street and Silk Mill Street car parks, with street food stalls located in Canute Place. The Market will be around a third of its usual size, to allow sufficient space for social distancing, but we’ve carefully curated it to create an exciting blend of artisan food, drink, art, crafts and special gifts. It should still be really exciting and lots of amazing products on offer. It’s a great place to find special, artisanal and locally-made gifts and foodie delights to drop in the stocking of someone special, or just for yourself - and of course find that all important cup of hot mulled wine that really tells you Christmas is coming!”
Alex does warn however, that people planning to visit Knutsford for the Christmas Market should check the Knutsford Town Council before they set off. “We are really pleased to be able to deliver some form of our usual outdoor events, as we know these are very popular and help to support our local traders, but things are changing all the time, so we will release more details of the events in the run up to them, and encourage visitors to check the plans for this year to avoid disappointment.”
Finally, inspired by the success of the annual Bunny Hop and Pumpkin Path, where children and their families follow a trail of clues around the town in hope of winning a prize, Alex has plans to put in place a Christmas Trail.
“It’s rather in the planning stages at the moment,” she says, “but keep an eye on the Council website and Facebook page!”
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Nicola Newton, of King Street’s Rose and Crown, has big plans for the winter season, including the construction of an Alpine ski lodge setting in the beer garden, which will provide undercover, heated space for drinks and food.
“We have woodburning stoves and lots and lots of sheepskin rugs, shall be serving raclette and have a special schnapps menu and lots of delicious small plate style foods. For Christmas we plan to step it up again, with a snow machine – and right now I am even looking at a full-sized polar bear!”
Dexter and Jones, the gin and craft ale bar on Princess Street owned and run by TV stars Adam and Katy Rickitt, will be going all out this Christmas with their signature hot mulled gin and festive cakes, and have created their own winter wonderland in the form of a heated, covered beer garden. Excitingly, the couple are also launching their very own Dexter and Jones gin range just in time for the festive season.
“We have worked in collaboration with local distillers to create three varieties,” Katy says, “dedicating one to each of our beloved dogs.” Their London Dry balances citrus and earthy botanicals, sourced from Cheshire and from Sicily, where the Rickitts got engaged. Dedicated to their cattle dog Rufus, it’s described as ‘robust and stoic with a softer underbelly.’ The two flavoured gins are Strawberry Cheesecake and Blackcurrant Tart, made entirely by adding the natural ingredients used in the desserts to the distillation process. “These two are dedicated to our bulldogs Tallulah and Daphne, who are frivolous, decadent and extrovert, with nothing but goodness inside. They taste just like the puddings, with none of the heaviness, ironically something that can’t be said of our 30 kilo dogs!”
Knutsford high street online shopping
With so many people a little nervous of visiting shops for their Christmas preparations, small, independent retailers in our home towns struggle to combat the stores that can offer it all online. So what can they do? Ruth Gresty, of Knutsford marketing and design agency Boxed Red Marketing, has been working with Knutsford’s retailers on a solution: knutsfordhighstreet.com.
“We launched knutsfordhighstreet.com in partnership with Knutsford Town Council at the start of lockdown to help all the residents of Knutsford understand where they could source their everyday essentials from their local community. We feel very passionately about our town, our high street and our fellow residents so following extensive feedback we have developed the website further. The next phase is to upgrade the website to enable all local businesses to sell their products online and for residents to enjoy browsing the shops of Knutsford virtually with the ability to enjoy one single checkout and delivery service to their door. This will be especially useful during these difficult Covid-19 times and also in encouraging people to still shop local in the run up to Christmas.”
Visit Warrington & Stockton Heath, the perfect balance of town and country
Family fun at Tatton Park
There’s still plenty for all the family to enjoy at Tatton this year.
Meet Father Christmas at the Farm, Saturdays & Sundays, 28 Nov – 20 Dec. 11am - 4pm. Meet Father Christmas and his elf helpers along with Tatton Park Farm’s rare breed farmyard friends. Strike a on Santa’s sleigh for a photo and then meet donkeys, sheep, cows and goats in their stables around the Farm. Enjoy the Family Christmas trail in the Gardens, Saturdays & Sundays, 28 Nov – 20 Dec. 11am – 4pm. Visit tattonpark.org.uk to book.
Make your own Christmas wreath!
Have you ever wondered how easy it might be to make your own Christmas wreath? Charlotte Daffern, of Dafferns by Allen & Allen, on King Street, has found a way to offer her usual wreath-making classes by Zoom.
“I will be creating packages of all the ingredients people need to create their wreath,” says Charlotte, “plus a slice of cake and mug of tea, which is what I usually serve at my face-to-face events. People can come and collect everything they need before the event, then follow me as I go through it all live, on Zoom. Doing it this way I can still answer questions and fix any little problems, but we maintain the necessary distancing and gathering rules – and at the end of it you will have a beautiful Christmas wreath, made by you!” Email email@example.com or call 01565 220 301
My first Christmas...
John Paul Jeffs, Cheshire Quality, 23 King Street: “I opened in March this year, right before lockdown. It wasn’t the start I had hoped for, but I am planning to have an explosion of Christmas! We have to have some joy in our lives during this gloomy time. I will be creating gift hampers, food hampers and will have lots of lovely things from the 57 different Cheshire artisans and producers I work with now.”
Ian Drinkwater, Slipped Discs, Knutsford Market Hall, Silk Mill Street: “I sell vintage vinyl and attract people who really love to listen, old school style, to music. I opened here in the Knutsford Market Hall in July and couldn’t feel more welcome. It’s always a great atmosphere in here and at Christmas the stall holders go all out to make it as festive as can be, I’m looking forward to it.”
Holly Johnson, Holly Johnson Antiques, Old Market Place, off King Street: “We are so looking forward to our first Christmas in Knutsford. The streets are always beautifully lit and we shall contribute by adding our own window dressing, plus serving traditional mulled wine, mince pies and hot drinks to customers throughout the festive period.”
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