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Christmas in Chester is definitely happening in 2020, yes it is going to be very different, but Chester will not disappoint when you are looking for that seasonal magic and festive feeling that only comes alive at this time of year.

Whilst we all need to do our bit to keep everyone safe, Christmas is definitely not cancelled and everyone in Chester is pulling together to ensure festive activities follow all the necessary guidelines and can be enjoyed by all.

Let’s support this wonderful city by enjoying all it has to offer this Christmas time within our households and bubbles.

Christmas lights and Christmas trees

The sparkling Christmas lights in Chester will shine throughout the streets from Foregate Street, Eastgate Street, Watergate Street and Bridge Street and Hoole and Cheshire Oaks will be lit up as usual with lights and decorations to bring much needed festive cheer to our surroundings!

Christmas Lights Chester

Chester – 14 November

There may not be a formal light switch-on but from Saturday 14 November the beautiful centrepiece tree will arrive in the Town Hall Square on Northgate Street with lights will be twinkling brightly to keep you in the Christmas mood in the city.

Hoole – 21 November

This year will be different as everyone in Hoole is encouraged to decorate their windows and gardens to be lit up simultaneously on Saturday 21 November. The crowds may not be present but the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Hoole.

Cheshire Oaks – 11 November

The 90ft centrepiece Christmas tree at Cheshire Oaks will not be taking centre stage this year and has been cancelled due to the current restrictions, however, there is still plenty of Christmas cheer throughout the Designer Outlet.

The tree lights switch on was intended to coincide with a drive-in screening of a Christmas favourite preceded by the illumination of the Christmas tree shown on the big screen however due to November’s lockdown the drive in has been postponed but will still happen so watch this space!

Chester Cathedral – 28 November – 3 January

The magic of Christmas continues in Chester Cathedral where the annual Christmas Tree Festival takes place from 28 November.  An abundance of Christmas trees will grace the cloisters of Chester Cathedral decorated by local schools and businesses in aid of local charities. This festive family favourite is always guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit and you can even get involved decorating your own tree to adorn the Cathedral grounds for all to enjoy!

Chester Cathedral – 14 November

Once again the stunning CheSTAR is lit up in the grounds of Chester Cathedral on St Werburgh Street, as an important part of the annual Christmas celebrations. The giant sparkling Christmas star, known as the ‘CheSTAR’, was handcrafted especially for the city. Standing 25ft high and 25ft wide it features almost 19,000 twinkling lights that will be sparkling brightly in the city centre this festive season bringing delight to many, as it has done since 2016.

Christmas Tree Festival Chester Cathedral

Christmas markets and shopping

Alas the November lockdown has scuppered our chances of having the cheer of the Christmas markets but there are lots of great local Christmas shopping options we encourage each and every one of you to explore not only because supporting local businesses is so important right now but because there are so many fantastic things on offer in the heart of Chester’s leisure, attractions and hospitality sector.

You can get purchasing right now online – take your pick from gorgeous gifts and decorations and amazing experiences like swimming with sharks to adopting animals, memberships and gift vouchers galore by browsing our Christmas Shopping in Chester page not to mention getting all your wine, beer and spirits from our local specialists at great prices for real quality.

With extended opening hours on Thursday 10 & 17 December until 8pm you’ve got plenty of shopping time to get that perfect gift in the city centre and you can also give the gift of Chester this Christmas with the Chester Gift Card which you can preload to be used in the city at a venue or business of the recipient’s choice.

Favour your city’s local businesses for your Christmas shopping this year over the online giants and the supermarkets and you’ll be surprised at the great presents you’ll find along with the warm Christmassy feeling you’ll get from supporting your local economy.

Meeting Santa in Chester

The big man himself will be making various appearances in and around the city through December and as you know Father Christmas loves his food so he’s inviting you to meet him at The Grosvenor Pulford Hotel or Chester Cathedral for a spot of delicious brunch and festivities or over at Oddfellows for a lovely afternoon tea.

Check out the all the details and get yourself booked in before he get’s booked up on our Meet Santa page.

Meet Santa in Chester

Christmas parades

Dating from the 1400’s Chester’s Winter Watch Parade has been a regular occurrence at Christmas, however, this year due to safety measures we’ll see a pause in the tradition of all the parades but they will return to the streets of Chester in 2021 and there are plenty of other Christmas things to do this year.

Christmas things to do and festive eating and drinking 

Although it’s an unusual year there is still no shortage of Christmas things to do from spectacular Christmas shows, meeting Santa, charity Santa Dashes, Christmas Tree Festival, Christmas party boat rides and so much more!

The bars and restaurants of Chester are of course always full of Christmas spirit and this year will be no exception.  The Christmas parties may be smaller but everyone is adapting to offer socially distanced festive fun with fabulous food and drinks for you to enjoy and savour the magic of the city.

Explore all the varied festive menus and for those of you who’ve had quite enough time at home cooking, where you can dine out on Christmas Day.

Elegant Christmas Table Setting

Travelling into Chester and parking

If you’re coming into the city Christmas shopping in December leave your car at home and use the Park & Ride which is now available for just £1 but if you prefer to bring your car you can park all day from only £4.50 at Linenhall Car Park and from the 4 December there is free parking from 10 am every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Chester Racecourse and at Linenhall Car Park on Sunday 29 November and Sunday 27 December!

Christmas tree recycling 

Remember to do your bit for the environment at the end of the season by recycling your Christmas tree with The Hospice of The Good Shepherd.

Whatever you do this Christmas keep safe and take great care of yourselves and each other – it will be different this year but let’s keep our Christmas spirit and we’ll all get through this together!