The High Peak pub that's still in the Christmas spirit - in May
We might be in May but the Christmas spirit is still well and truly alive at a High Peak pub as it prepares to reopen.
Turkey and tinsel is on the menu at The Hanging Gate in Chapel-en-le-Frith after staff promised their Christmas decorations which were put up in November 2020, would stay up for when the pub reopened – they just didn’t think it would be in May 2021.
In November when the country was in national lockdown to try and tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the staff at the Hanging Gate were busy putting up baubles and lights.
However, as the lockdown ended and the restrictions changed, the Manchester Road pub could not open and has remained shut since.
Landlord Mark Thomas said: "We had thousands of people booked in for Christmas parties and Christmas dinners and we had to cancel everyone last year but people just wanted to know when they could come back, would the decorations be up and we said yes.
"We made a promise and we are sticking to it.
"I thought it would be January when we were reopening not six months later. I never thought I’d see the day when we were celebrating Christmas in May but here we are."
The pub is famed for its Christmas and Halloween decorations and has made both national and international news in the past.
Mark said: “I’ve been here 30 years and there were always lots of decorations but over the years its just grown and grown.”
Last year it took four members of staff three weeks to put up the 70,000 lights and 5,000 baubles as well as giving different rooms different themes.
Mark said: “There isn’t an inch of wall or ceiling that isn’t decorated.
"It looks amazing and it would have been such a shame to take down the decorations without them being seen or enjoyed so we though we’d just go for it.”
The decision has proved a popular one and since Mark filmed the decked out pub and put the video on Facebook on Monday night he said he was receiving bookings from as early as 6am on Tuesday, May 5.
He said: “It’s been a crazy year with so many missed celebrations and this just seemed the perfect way to make people smile.
"We are getting so many bookings as people want to see the pub that originally we said we would have them up for three weeks after we open but I think they are going to be up for much, much longer so everyone gets a chance to see them.
"As long as they are down for Halloween that’s all that matters.”
As well as taking customers into a winter wonderland and Santa’s grotto, The Hanging Gate will also be serving traditional Christmas meals that people would have missed out on.
Mark added: “We only recently started doing takeaway food so not everyone has seen the decorations but when they come in it makes people happy.
"We can’t wait to welcome people back and this has given us a boost.
"We are looking like we will be very busy which is great after being shut for such a long time.”