Dereham venues 'already filling up' for Christmas meals and parties
- Credit: Matt Sturman Photography/Archant/Barnham Broom
Restaurants and venues in the Dereham area are already seeing an influx of bookings for Christmas meals and parties - with customers apparently determined to make up for last year's disappointment.
Businesses have reported red-hot phone lines in recent weeks, despite summer having barely come to an end.
Families and workplaces are keen to avoid missing out after festive plans were largely scuppered by Covid restrictions last year.
Josie Batchelor, marketing manager at Barnham Broom hotel and country club, said spaces at festive dinners and events were rapidly being filled.
"Currently we are looking really busy, so much so that we are not looking to do any advertising," she said.
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"We are really well booked up. We've already got 600 people for the party nights and, for other things like afternoon tea, it is looking very positive.
"We're getting a real range of enquiries. Companies wanting to get their Christmas parties booked in, but couples as well."
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Victoria Hunt, in charge at Tuddenham Lodge and The Fox at Lyng alongside her husband, Gavin, revealed it had been a similar story.
The 47-year-old said soaring interest was coming off the back of their busiest summer to date.
"Last year companies obviously didn't have Christmas parties, so now December is already filling up," added Mrs Hunt.
"This is roughly the normal time people would start thinking about getting booked up, but I would say they are calling us earlier than ever to avoid missing out.
"Hopefully there will be a little bit more normality, but we are still doing temperature checks and asking people to wear face masks when walking around the building."
In Dereham town centre, Nigel Barton, who runs The Bull, admitted staff were bracing themselves for the festive rush.
"We've not even begun advertising for Christmas yet, but we've already had quite a bit of interest," he said.
"We're expecting the bookings to start coming in from the beginning of October."
But Mr Barton, who took over as tenant at the Greene King pub in 2019, remains wary of potential changes in the months ahead.
"Who knows what is going to happen this year," he added.
"If you listen to the government it sounds like they are not going to lock us down, but you never know."