A look ahead to Christmas in Matlock
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 December 2017
Things to do in Matlock during Christmas
As a Victorian spa town, Matlock is the perfect place in which to hold an outdoor Victorian Christmas Festival based on traditions established in the nineteenth century. Taking place in Hall Leys Park on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the first three days of December, this popular seasonal event will involve 170 stalls housed in three marquees where crafts, seasonal food and Christmas gifts will be sold. Mulled wine and roast chestnuts will be on offer and music will be provided by a Dutch street organ, a steel band, Ambassadors of Borrowash Carnival Show Band and Seaforth Highlanders Band. On both Saturday and Sunday, Santa will be waiting to greet children in his grotto.
Weekend entertainment will be provided by Mark Handley and also by James McKay and his Owls. On Saturday, the town’s sparkling Christmas lights will be switched on and Santa’s Christmas Parade will tour the town to the delight of residents and visitors alike. A breath-taking Christmas firework display is promised for Sunday evening and the many excellent bars, restaurants and shops which always draw people to Matlock will be open throughout the Victorian Weekend.
Most of the people who were attracted to Matlock Spa during the Victorian era arrived by train. The rapid expansion of the railway network at that time also made it much easier for people to visit friends and relatives at Christmas. One of the well-used routes was the Midland Railway’s service between Manchester Central and London St Pancras. Although this line closed in 1968, the enthusiasm and hard work of the volunteers of Peak Rail has enabled a four-mile stretch of the route to re-open between Rowsley and Matlock, with both steam and diesel locomotives in operation.
On weekends throughout December and also on 20th, 21st and 22nd of December, Peak Rail will be running ‘Santa Specials’ along the line. Santa will be on hand to provide gifts, sweets and drinks for every child travelling on the trains, whilst other family members will be served with a glass of hot mulled wine and a mince pie. To add to the experience, clowns and musicians will tour the carriages to entertain the pampered passengers on their trip down ‘memory lane’.