Retford set to host biggest weekend yet!

RETFORD is set to host one of its biggest weekends yet with thousands of people expected to visit the town and be part of three very special events.

Over the weekend of Friday 13th, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September, the town’s traditional Heritage Day will take place alongside the very first North Notts Literary Festival, as well as the start of the Chesterfield Canal Walking festival.

The combination of these events promises to be a huge tourism boost for the area and showcase the rich heritage, literary talent and beautiful scenery that Retford and North North Nottinghamshire has to offer.

Cllr Jo White, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “There really will be something for everyone as part of an action-packed weekend that promises to be one of Retford’s biggest ever.

“We hope that as well as the regular supporters of the Heritage Day, new and exciting events as part of the North Notts Lit Fest and the Chesterfield Canal Walking Festival will attract first-time visitors to Retford and the surrounding area. The Council is extremely proud to support all three events and enable even more people to see exactly what a beautiful and diverse region North Nottinghamshire is.”

Heritage Open Day

Retford has been celebrating its rich history as part of Heritage Open Day for the last 12 years and traditionally incorporates a central theme, with 2019 focussing on the ‘Chesterfield Canal and Retford’s Working Heritage’.

On Saturday 14th September, 12 heritage venues including Bassetlaw Museum, the Majestic Theatre, Harrison’s Brewery and Retford Library will host guided tours and dedicated talks. There will also be narrowboat trips along the Chesterfield Canal on the Seth Ellis and many other events taking place throughout the town, culminating with an evening performance by Harworth Brass at Retford Town Hall.

Derek Turner, Chairman of Retford Civic Society, which organises the Heritage Open Day, said: “Visitors will receive a warm welcome to our marvellous market town and this is a once-a-year chance to explore the world on your doorstep. All of the day’s events and attractions throughout the town are family friendly - and best of all they are all completely free.”

North Notts Lit Fest

The very first North Notts Lit Fest will burst into life on Friday 13th September and continue through to Sunday 15th September with a host of award winning writers, poets and performers staging events for all ages.

Just some of the unmissable experiences include talks from Retford’s own Stephen Booth sharing the secrets to his international success; BAFTA Award winning writer, TV producer Henry Normal and Powerhouse Poet Paul Cookson hosting an evening of Pies, Peas and Performances; as well as other special guests including writer and historian Emily Brand, and the exceptional Talegate Theatre.

Liz Carney-Marsh, North Notts Lit Fest Ambassador, said: “I’m thrilled to say that we are finally able to showcase the literary talent that exists within North Notts to a much wider audience.

“The creation of this festival is a natural evolution of our Short Story Competition and it will shine a light on all the good things are already happening within the local literary community. The North Notts Lit Fest will celebrate outstanding local authors, poets and performers as well as bring together local businesses and organisations to allow literary lovers to explore and enjoy what North Notts has to offer!”

Chesterfield Canal Walking Festival

Finally, the Chesterfield Canal Walking Festival is back for a second year following the inaugural series of routes that attracted hundreds of walkers and canal enthusiasts to the towpaths of the Chesterfield Canal.

The festival takes its first steps on Saturday 14th September and over nine days, its 53 guided walks will cover the full 46-mile length of the canal that stretches over three counties, including events incorporated as part of the Heritage Open Day. 

Rod Auton, Publicity Officer at the Chesterfield Canal Trust, said: “This year’s festival offers a wide range of walks from just two miles to the full 46 miles of the Chesterfield Canal. There is also plenty of variety and walkers will get to experience the local wildlife, history, geocaching and engineering walks, plus the opportunity to combine a walk with a boat trip.”

“As part of Heritage Open Day, there will be several historic boats near the Town Lock, the chance to try paddle boarding and interactive family performances. Alarum Theatre Company will also be giving a free performance of their much acclaimed ‘Idle Women’ show in Retford Little Theatre.”

The North Notts BID is supporting both the Heritage Open Day and the North Nottinghamshire Literary Festival, and Chief Executive Sally Gillborn said: “North Notts BID is delighted to be sponsoring and supporting both the Heritage Open Day and North Notts LitFest.  Both events are fantastic for the local community and will attract visitors from surrounding areas. They will also bring much-needed footfall to the town centres to help our local businesses thrive, whilst at the same time showcasing our wonderful area.”

More information, event guides and timings for all three events can be found online at:

Retford Heritage Open Day - www.heritageopendays.org.uk and  www.retfordcivicsociety.org.uk . Programmes will also be available from Retford’s Bassetlaw Museum, Denman Library and The Hub.

North Notts Literary Festival - www.nnlf.org.uk

Chesterfield Canal Walking Festival - www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk

Facebook - All three events can also be found on Facebook at @RetfordHeritageOpenDay, @nnlitfest, and @cctrust

All three events will also be incorporated as part of the Explore North Notts Weekend, which is being co-ordinated by the North Nottinghamshire Envoys.

More details can be found at: https://www.innorthnotts.co.uk/what-s-on-events/art-culture/icalrepeat.detail/2019/09/14/102912/-/explore-north-notts-weekend


Last Updated on Tuesday, September 17, 2019