Different plans for Christmas this year

Crawley Borough Council has made the difficult decision not to host Tilgate Park’s Magical Christmas this year.

Regrettably, the rise in coronavirus cases and prioritising the health and safety of visitors and staff has left the council with no choice but to cancel the event.

Launched in 2018, the event offers a magical Christmas experience, welcoming children and their families to get into the Christmas spirit. For the past two years, families have enjoyed thousands of twinkling lights and entertainment from local dance and musical theatre groups, all free of charge, with a market selling locally made gifts, food and drink. The event also offered free walkabout meet and greets with Santa and Mrs Claus, and the option to buy private grotto tickets followed by arts and crafts with Santa’s elves, funfair rides and immersive outdoor theatre.

This year’s event, with social distancing guidelines in place, would have meant restricting entry by ticketing and as a result would not have been able to host the number of families who normally come without tickets, dampening the magical atmosphere of the event.

Cabinet member for Wellbeing, Councillor Chris Mullins, said: “We are deeply disappointed to cancel this year’s event. However the safety of our visitors is paramount and most of all, we wouldn’t have been able to offer the special Christmas experience that the public have come to expect.”

The council is looking into alternative festive events at Tilgate and in the town centre for residents and visitors to enjoy safely. More information will be provided at a later date.