No city in England does Christmas quite like Chester. Its historic streets harken back to times gone by and what could be more magical than its Victorian, Georgian and Medieval-style half-timber Rows twinkling with fairy lights? A haven for shoppers purchasing gifts for loved ones, Chester also excels at providing winter feasts and cheer for guests and visitors alike. As for events and attractions, the city’s Christmas calendar is loaded with important dates that allow guests to get into the seasonal spirit. Read on to discover just some of the reasons why Christmas in Chester is so special.
Christmas shopping in Chester
From the boutique stores in the Chester Rows to the Christmas Market held in Chester Town Square, it’s never tricky to track down the perfect gift. From products from big brands to locally sourced bespoke items hand-crafted by skilled artisans from the area, shoppers will find a wealth of choice at locations like the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, Watergate Street and Chester Cross. Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers, mini gifts for colleagues and staff or that big present to put under the tree, you’ll be sure to find it in Chester in the run-up to Christmas.
Chester events for light and joy
Festive occasions are available in Chester to suit all ages and tastes. Theatre and music lovers will find seasonal sights and sounds abound with concerts and stage shows put on especially for Christmas. From festive productions of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to candle lit concerts at Chester Cathedral featuring classic carols and popular seasonal standards, entertainment is easy to come by. Choirs can be heard around Chester with concerts by the Rows and in squares across the city.
The Christmas Tree Festival is another seasonal feature of the Cathedral and visitors can view a veritable forest of pines and spruces all decorated differently for the event. However, it’s not the only seasonal festival at Yuletide. Each year Chester Zoo outdoes itself with an even bigger and brighter Lanterns and Light Festival featuring hundreds of illuminated animals plus entertainers, a fairground and more.
Chester is a city with a big heart that supports its community, so you’ll find many festive events are designed to help others. The Chester Santa Dash sees hundreds of runners dressed as Father Christmas to raise money for good causes. However, this isn’t the only place to see the big man in the red suit. Children can visit Santa’s grotto across the city and beyond throughout December at various venues from the Ice Cream Farm to Chester Zoo. From meet and greets with gifts to sit-down brunches, a wide range of ways to tell Santa what you want for Christmas can be found in Chester.
Those seeking Christmas adventures will also find unique options available. Escape rooms with seasonal themes are a popular pastime in the city, including time-sensitive experiences offered by Breakout and Escapism. Chester Treasure Hunt also offers a fresh way to crack clues and explore the city while enjoying a mulled wine or seasonal snack along the way.
Since Victorian times, Christmas has been a time for children in England, and there is no shortage of family-friendly events and activities in Chester. From plays and pantomimes to parties and arts and crafts days, the city has everything you need to get excited for the season.
Sumptuous festive fare
Whether you’re stepping out for lunch or dinner, organising a work do or stopping for sustenance while shopping, Chester has you covered. You’ll find pubs serving hearty fare like roasts and pudding with craft ales and celebrated hotel restaurants serving seasonal dishes with fine wines. For those who enjoy sweet frozen treats, Chester’s Ice Cream Farm is not to be missed, but the city’s many cafes, coffee shops and tea rooms will also be selling mince pies and fruit cakes.
If you’re planning to spend the season in Chester, the city has a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes. You might be looking for a self-catering aparthotel like Roomzzz Chester or a luxury experience at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel, but either way the perfect place to stay is close at hand.
Whether you’re eating Christmas dinner at a hotel restaurant or one of the city’s other eateries you’ll find lots of options for a sit-down three-course menu of festive treats. All diets are catered for in Chester, so if you’re vegan or sensitive to gluten, you’ll still be able to enjoy a feast or a treat around the city. Many restaurants also cater for children with special menus for little ones.
If December takes you to the northwest of England, the city of Chester is ready to welcome you. If you’re looking for some festive fund and a chance to rekindle you Christmas spirit, there’s no better place to step into the season of goodwill.