Bringing life, laughter and the love of good food back to Derby city centre

Derby’s vibrant al fresco dining area is returning for 2021, building on last year’s success as an innovative way of supporting local food outlets and bringing life, laughter and the love of good food back to the city centre.

After welcoming more than 6,000 guests in 2020, Derby Market Place will once again be transformed into a colourful meet-eat-and-chill venue in a phased re-opening as social restrictions relax.

Playing a key role in helping drive Derby’s post lockdown recovery planning, the Market Place – which has been a central hub in the heart of the city centre for centuries – is set to return in April as an outdoor dining venue, with social distancing built in.

Back with its popular mix of bookable chalets and tables, colourful parasols and street art, the venue will also host live entertainment, events and festivals as restrictions ease.

Aimed at boosting confidence in returning to the city as lockdown lifts, the new-look Derby Market Place will be making a bold statement that the city centre is open for business, and ready to once again support the local economy.

During 2020, the venue – where guests can order food from any outlet in the city that offers a take-out or delivery service – supported more than 50 independent restaurants, cafes and stall holders.

Starting this April, Derby Market Place is set to open in phases. While the plan is to add live entertainment, along with the chance to meet with up to 30 family and friends, from 17 May, bigger events and festivals should return to the heart of the city centre from 21 June. And during November and December, Derby Market Place is set become a venue to celebrate Christmas, including featuring festive stalls from independent, local makers.

The return of Derby Market Place is just part of the city’s plans to breathe new life into the city centre and welcome back visitors safely.

Derby has long had a reputation for being highly innovative and creative, and 2021 will see it celebrating a remarkable creative and manufacturing history that helped make the city one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution.

This year sees the 300th anniversary of the creation of the world’s first factory, at the Silk Mill, as well as the 20th anniversary of the Derwent Valley Mills becoming a World Heritage Site.

And Derby’s rich history of making will be celebrated still further when the city opens The Museum of Making, on the very site of that first factory, this spring. Run by Derby Museums, the new attraction will celebrate the area’s rich history of innovation, telling Derby’s 300-year history of making.

It will be the Year of the Ram in 2021, too. Thirty decorated rams will appear in Derby creating a brilliant public sculpture trail across the city centre. The five-foot-high fibreglass sculptures are made in the shape of Derby’s mythical ram – which, according to legend, was 10 yards high with enormous horns and a huge flowing fleece.

A solar-powered zero emission riverboat will also sail through historic waters in Derby in 2021 for the first time, offering visitors a new perspective of the city. The fully accessible, environmentally friendly boat hopes to launch this spring, providing scenic tours along the River Derwent, passing the Silk Mill and the new Museum.

For the latest on Derby Market Place, visit

For more details about visiting Derby, and for the latest on what’s open and when, see


Photo: Avit Media