THE year is drawing to a close, and it is fair to say that 2021 has not been a vintage one.

Once again, covid has dominated the discussion, and as a result, it would not be unreasonable to start looking ahead to 2022.

Because surely, things have to start getting better at some point?

Helpfully, in Newport and the surrounding areas, there are a few things to look forward to next year, which should hopefully boost some local morale.

Of course, we can’t feature each and every exciting event below – but you can see a taste of what’s to come, with five things to look forward to in Newport in 2022.

And, if we have missed out on something that needs shouting from the rooftops, you can get in touch and let us know what we’ve missed.

New hotel set to open

At this point, it might feel like we’ve been talking about the Mercure Hotel coming soon for quite some time.

But finally, we appear to be at a point where this is set to open soon.

South Wales Argus: The Mercure Hotel in NewportThe Mercure Hotel in Newport

Work has been carried out to transform the city’s tallest building into a top notch hotel, and it now looks set to open for business in spring 2022.

This includes a restaurant and rooftop terrace, which will offer impressive views across the city.

Revamped market

Another major redevelopment which is nearing completion is the work to bring Newport Market back to life.

A traditional Victorian indoor market located on the High Street, the market has been closed for some time which multi-million pound work has been carried out.

The plan was to improve the retail offerings inside, introduce a food court, and establish office and gym space.

Now, these plans are nearing completion, and in the new year, it is hoped that the market will attract a significant amount of footfall to a section of the city centre which has at times felt a little unloved compared to the spaces around Friars Walk.

If that wasn’t enough, the restoration at Market Arcade is moving forward at great pace too.

Shops, restaurants and more

There are plenty of restaurants and shops in the city which offer up tasty treats and useful goods – but more will never go amiss.

Helpfully, there are a number of planned and proposed businesses opening soon, and possibly even more to come – subject to planning permission.

South Wales Argus: The coffee and wine bar plans in NewportThe coffee and wine bar plans in Newport

This includes a coffee and wine bar on Bridge Street, a Geek Retreat on Commercial Street, and The House of Cake in Blackwood.

Of course, this barely scratches the surface – and with plans flying in to the council for approval on a weekly basis, there could well be even more to look forward to that we don’t even know about yet.

A real case of needing to watch this space.

Events, and things to do

One of the sectors which suffered at the hands of covid was the events industry.

For near enough two years, live events have fallen by the wayside in the name of public health.

And, while you can’t argue that this is a priority, live events have certainly been missed.

Unfortunately, the latest wave of covid is once again jeopardising this sector, but until they are cancelled, we can hold on to the hope that some great events will be going ahead.

Venues such as the Riverfront Theatre have a jam packed schedule once more, and venues such as the Celtic Manor are welcoming events such as celebrity make-up artist Mimi Choi’s make-up masterclass in early 2022.

Later in the year, Cardiff is playing host to some massive gigs and concerts too. These cater to fans of all genres, from Sean Paul, to My Chemical Romance, and even a twice rescheduled Lionel Ritchie concert at Cardiff Castle.

Dragons back on parade

Technically this is not one that we can say is happening with any degree of certainty, but we can certainly hope.

But, 2021 was certainly not a good year for the Dragons.

Competing in the United Rugby Championship, the Dragons failed to win on home soil with fans present.

South Wales Argus: Rodney Parade, NewportRodney Parade, Newport

Their only wins came behind closed doors, or in an away fixture in Galway.

Unfortunately, the first fixture of the year, the New Year's Day clash with Cardiff Rugby, will take place without fans present.

But hopefully, the latest covid wave can be contained, and Rodney Parade will be able to welcome fans back before the season is over.

And, with strong local support in the terraces, there is hope that the team will give supporters something to cheer about next year.