'It started in August': Christmas party bookings already flooding in

Stephen Hutton, managing director of Middletons (inset) is considering a charge of £10 per customer

Stephen Hutton of Middleton's in Norwich saw Christmas bookings start in August - Credit: Archant

Norwich is gearing up for a VERY merry Christmas with "massive demand" for parties already flooding in. 

Venues across the city have said bookings started coming as early as August.

Restaurants and bar owners said they expected customers to remain cautious over gathering, but have seen the festive spirit coming in bounds with Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights getting booked up.

Middletons Steakhouse and Grill, Timberhill, Norwich that has undergone a £500,000 refit after suffe

Stephen Hutton, managing director of Middletons Steakhouse and Grill on Timber Hill in Norwich. - Credit: Steve Adams

Stephen Hutton, managing director of Middletons Steakhouse and Grill, which has a restaurant on Timber Hill, said: "There has been a large demand for Christmas parties. Bookings started in August. A lot of businesses have come to us.

"People want to get back to normality. Christmas was a washout last year. A lot of people could not see their friends or family so people are looking to make the most of it."

He added that the fact people stayed in the county or holidayed in the UK this summer had driven up customer numbers for his nine restaurants.

"The high street has been very busy. Every penny counts," said Mr Hutton, who emphasised that Covid-secure measures would be in place to keep staff and diners safe.

The Bowling House has become known for its great food and drink as well as bowling since the start o

Jack Thompson, general manager and co-owner of the Bowling House on Dereham Road in Norwich. - Credit: Beth Moseley Photography

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Jack Thompson, general manager and co-owner of the Bowling House on Dereham Road, said bookings were coming through on a daily basis despite the business not yet advertising festive packages.

"There is lots of interest this year compared to last and a real appetite for group bookings," said Mr Thompson.

"Christmas is vital to our business - the tent pole that holds up our year and last year was a total wipe out. This year we are hoping for much better trade and so far the indicators are pointing in the right direction."

Richard Hughes at The Assembly House in Norwich (pictured before the coronavirus lockdown).

Richard Hughes at The Assembly House in Norwich (pictured before the coronavirus lockdown). - Credit: Chris Taylor

Richard Hughes, director of The Assembly House on Theatre Street, said: "We were a bit sceptical if people would come back but it has been positive so far."

He added spaces for groups to enjoy afternoon teas and dinners in the Assembly House outdoor igloos in November and December were full.

Richard Bainbridge outside Benedicts in Norwich. The restaurant holds three AA Rosettes.

Richard Bainbridge. co-owner of Benedicts restaurant in Norwich. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Richard Bainbridge, co-owner of Benedicts restaurant on St Benedicts Street, said some customers were hesitant on organising group meals.

But he said: "The emails are coming in. Christmas is going to be a blinder."

He added a lot of local firms wanted to support independent restaurants and a large number of enquiries from groups about its Dine At Home meals for this Christmas.


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