On the street where you shop.

The Snow Globe outside the Abbey Hotel and the carousel in Stall Street – two of the city’s favourite Christmas attractions you won’t be seeing this year as both would not enable effective social distancing at a time when the pandemic is nowhere near under control.

The carousel from a couple of years ago.

With the annual Christmas Market – which draws coachloads of shoppers in from miles away – also abandoned as a physical and festive presence, it seems the city is going to have to fill the void with some creative thinking.

From what l have heard there are plenty of things under wrap to keep the tills ringing and spread a little cheer amongst all the gloom that surrounds us. In the meantime, Bath & North East Somerset Council is working with Bath Business Improvement District (Bath BID) and local traders to give the city’s most famous shopping street a boost.

Milsom Street

And it’s in Milsom Street that l caught up with Allison Herbert who is the Chief Executive of Bath BID.

I asked B&NES for a comment about letting market traders open pop up shops in empty retail premises over the Christmas period and received the following encouraging reply:

Councillor Richard Samuel, cabinet member for Resources, said : “We are continuing to actively explore opportunities for our vacant units. This includes giving local businesses who would have traditionally traded at Bath Christmas market the opportunity to set up pop-ups shops on a short term let in the lead up to Christmas and we would encourage any interested business to get in touch. 

“The council together with Visit Bath, the BID and Bath Festival have a planned series of events and activities to support the local economy and have dressed empty shop windows in Milsom Street to make them more appealing. 

“We’ve also recently seconded a member of staff, who working with our agents HTC, will act as the single point of contact for enquiries about council-owned vacant units.”