2021 has been quite the challenging year filled with restrictions, lockdowns and uncertainty.

Many people will be eager to wave the year goodbye and embrace what 2022 has in store.

Luckily for people in Lancashire, 2022 looks set to be an adventure with many exciting and new things planned for the region.

From events to developments, we have compiled a list of 17 things that people in Lancashire can look forward to in the coming year:

1. Colne Rhythm and Blues Festival

A cherished music festival, that was nearly scrapped by the council, is set to return in 2022.

The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival has been given the green light to go ahead next year, as long as conditions to make it more financially viable are met.

The festival, which has been running for more than 30 years and was one of Europe’s only contemporary blues festivals, won the UK Blues Festival of the Year award at its last airing in 2019, before the pandemic put a stop to the event in 2020 and this year.

2. A brand new Peter Rabbit attraction

Lancashire Telegraph: A £1m Peter Rabbit attraction is coming to Blackpool (Photo: Frederick Warne & Co Limited and Silvergate PPL Limited, 2021. Based on the works of Beatrix Potter. PETER RABBIT and BEATRIX POTTER are trademarks of Fredrick Warne and Co. All rights reserved.)A £1m Peter Rabbit attraction is coming to Blackpool (Photo: Frederick Warne & Co Limited and Silvergate PPL Limited, 2021. Based on the works of Beatrix Potter. PETER RABBIT and BEATRIX POTTER are trademarks of Fredrick Warne and Co. All rights reserved.)

A £1m attraction based on Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit book series is coming to Blackpool in summer 2022.

Beloved characters from the books and award-winning animated TV series are set to make a new home on Blackpool’s famous seafront, next door to the famous Madame Tussauds.

It is the first time Merlin, which already operates Blackpool Tower, the Sea Life Centre and Madame Tussauds in the coastal town, has ever created a stand-alone visitor attraction experience based on the series.

3. Potential city status

Back in November, Blackburn Council bosses announced they would be embarking on a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to get the town the royal seal of approval by entering the race to be designated a city as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

4. A chance to see AJ Odudu take to the dance floor again

Blackburn presenter, AJ Odudu, did her home town proud this year appearing on BBC show, Strictly Come Dancing.

AJ made it to the final of the dance competition which aired on Saturday (18 December) - but a torn ligament meant she was unable to perform.

Fans of the show will get a chance to see AJ take to the Strictly dance floor once again as she performs a never-before-seen routine during the  Strictly Come Dancing live UK tour.

The tour will give arena audiences a chance to see AJ and Kai’s show dance – performed to Naughty Boy’s 'Runnin’.

5. A remastered Blackburn town centre

AN ambitious £250million masterplan for Blackburn town centre including relocating the Morrisons supermarket to the cleared former Thwaites brewery site has been unveiled.

While this is part of a 10 year plan, work will commence in 2022 as the local authority in charge assembles sites, works up planning applications and commences work on early development phases.

The first phases of redevelopment should start in summer next year.

It could see 500 homes built, five new commercial buildings, the restoration of the fire-destroyed St John's Church as a flexible work-place for creative and digital enterprises and the refurbishment and reopening of The Fleece Inn.

6. Return of the Accrington soap box challenge

Lancashire Telegraph: The Accrington soap box challenge will return in 2022The Accrington soap box challenge will return in 2022

Amazing Accrington has announced exciting plans for an action-packed year of events in 2022, including the return of the much-loved Soapbox Challenge.

On Saturday 27th August, the eagerly anticipated Soapbox Challenge will return to Accrington Town Centre. In 2019 the event saw 26 contestants, over 9,000 spectators, as well as a flurry of family fun stalls and activities.

Soapboxes must have a form of steering, the ability to brake, and helmets must be worn, but aside from that anything goes – an old bathtub was even spotted in 2019, when crowds lined the streets, not just for the action-packed racing but also for the Rally, Treasure Trail and Car Display.

7. An extended Blackpool illuminations

For the second year running, Blackpool’s annual Illuminations display is to be extended by two months in 2022.

Earlier this year, VisitBlackpool announced that the Illuminations season will start on Friday September 3 and run until Monday January 3, 2022.

The two-month extension is intended to give the resort’s hard-hit tourism industry an added boost with the Covid-19 pandemic expected to cause further disruption over the first few months of the year.

8. An upgraded Blackpool Pleasure Beach ride

A new feature is coming to a Blackpool Pleasure Beach ride, Icon.

Two seats at the rear of the ride will twist and spin freely - all while the ride is in motion.

The new addition, known as 'ENSŌ', is a first for Europe and is set the make the UK’s first and only double launch rollercoaster even more thrilling. 

9. Return of Clitheroe Food Festival

Clitheroe Food Festival is set to return in 2022 after a two-year gap during the Covid pandemic.

Next year’s festival is likely to be a one-day event on Saturday, July 30, rather than running over two days as in previous years, a Ribble Valley Borough Council committee has said.

10. A brand new sports village

A new £5m sports village is coming to Blackpool Airport Enterprise.

Conlon Construction is now active on the 35-acre site off Common Edge Road in Marton, Blackpool.

Once complete, it will comprise a single-storey changing and spectator facility; a 3G sports pitch, replacement grass rugby pitch and training area; reconfiguration and extension of the existing car park to accommodate 194 cars; as well as alterations to the existing access road.

The build will take 10 months to complete with an anticipated opening in summer 2022 and will create approximately 10 full-time equivalent local construction jobs throughout the lifetime of the project.

11. An even longer Lytham festival

Lancashire’s Lytham Festival will return in 2022, to deliver a 10-day live music extravaganza.

Usually, the festival only runs for five nights but next year it will take place over two weekends.

The 10-day premises licence is for one year only and in 2023 Lytham Festival will revert to its usual five nights.

Some acts have already been announced for next year, including US rock legends The Strokes and global favourites Tears For Fears.

12. New Lancashire eateries

Lancashire Telegraph: First look at new £250k Blackburn town centre restaurantFirst look at new £250k Blackburn town centre restaurant

Hopefully, 2022 will be a prosperous year for business; some new eateries have already been announced for next year.

The DWNTWN (Down Town) restaurant will open in Blackburn in the new year.

It will take up the space vacated by the Roomali Restaurant which has moved to the former Woodlands Hotel on Preston New Road.

The new 80-seater eaterie will be created over two floors and includes terraces, balcony areas and glass-fronted exteriors.

13. A first of its kind festival – hosted in a pub car park

The Kettledrum Inn in Cliviger has an exciting festival lined up for 2022.

Their Cliviger Sounds Festival, which was meant to take place in 2020, will host some international musicians.

Owner, Stephen Reid, said: “We have some quite big international stars coming to that, such as Kiki Dee. The festival will consist of three days of blues, jazz and folk music on the car park.”

14. TV shows filmed in Lancashire are set to air

TV cast and crew have been busy in Lancashire this year, filming scenes for a variety of TV shows.

Keep your eyes peeled in 2022 as several TV shows which were partially filmed in Lancashire are set to air.

ITV’s The Bay, a crime drama which is filmed and set in Morecambe, will return for its third season on 12 January 2022.

While not filmed in Lancashire, Rawtenstall actress, Jane Horrocks, will also be back on our screens in a bigger and bolder Sky series of ‘Bloods’ at some point next year.

15. Return of the Blackpool air shows

It has been confirmed that Blackpool’s annual Air Show will take place next year over the weekend of August 13 and 14 with more details to be announced closer to the event. 

The free event, which attracts up to 100,000 visitors, has been cancelled for the past two years because of COVID restrictions on mass gatherings

But VisitBlackpool has announced that the show will return for 2022 with some of the world’s finest military and civilian aircraft performing over the iconic seafront.

16. An extended bank holiday

Earlier this year, Buckingham Palace has revealed plans to hold four days of celebrations to mark The Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

The May Bank Holiday weekend in 2022 will be moved to Thursday, June 2, and there will be an additional Bank Holiday on Friday, June 3, to celebrate her Majesty hitting this milestone.

Lancashire is likely to be a bustling region during this time, after a council agreed funding for a weekend of entertainment over the extended Bank Holiday in June 2022.

One event already in the schedule is the Leyland festival which will be returning in 2022, promising a four-day bonanza of fun to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Having been forced to cancel the event in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, organisers have announced the festival – which is one of the biggest events in the South Ribble calendar – will go ahead next year and are encouraging the local community and visitors from afar to mark the date in their diaries now.