Christmas 2024 – Your Definitive Guide to Christmas in Chester

Christmas in Chester 2024 will be as spectacular as ever, so come and join us.

Chester will not disappoint when you are looking for that seasonal magic and festive feeling that only comes alive at this time of year.

Christmas in Chester is as ever about pulling together to ensure festive activities can be enjoyed by all.

Christmas lights, lanterns 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 bringing festive cheer to our surroundings.

Christmas Lights Chester

Chester lights switch on – Date TBC

 November – in mid November the beautiful centrepiece Christmas tree will arrive in the Town Hall Square on Northgate Street with lights twinkling brightly and setting the whole city alight throughout the main streets radiating from Chester’s cross to keep you in the Christmas mood in the city.

This year the lights will be switched on during the 12 Days of Christmas Parade with each street illuminated as the parade passes through.

Hoole lights switch on –  November- Date TBC

Saturday 18 November – the Hoole lights are being switched on at 6 pm and there will be acts from 5 – 9.30 pm. Get ready to celebrate the start of the festive season in Hoole.

Cheshire Oaks Christmas Village

Cheshire Oaks iconic 90ft centre centrepiece Christmas tree is always a sight to behold!

A wonderful Winter Village has also been built with VIP Christmas huts available to book throughout November and December for up to 6 people to get cosy and relax in after a long day of present shopping and have a festive food platter delivered straight to your hut (huts must be pre-booked). Take a ride on the Big Wheel from Monday 6 November and enjoy watching the festivities unfold below you.

Lanterns and Light at Chester Zoo – 15 November – 1 January 25

Experience Chester Zoo transformed into a magical illuminated wildlife wonderland with their incredibly popular Lanterns and Light at Chester Zoo spectacular – not to be missed and extremely popular this amazing spectacular often selling out very early so we recommend you get your tickets now to avoid disappointment. This year there will be special Lanterns and Light at Chester Zoo Quiet Hour from 4 – 5 pm on selected dates throughout November and December

Child tickets start from £12 and adults start from £18 (children under 12 months and carers FREE).

Christmas at BeWILDerwood Cheshire – Date TBC

BeWILDerwood Presents Christmas is a Sparkly Light & Panto Trail full of festive fun and cheer and Santa will be making a visit! Discover the sparkly lights at this award winning event just 30 minutes from Chester and don’t forget to visit the Storytelling Stage for BeWILDerwood’s very own mini pantomime which is sure to be full of festive cheer and family fun.

Tickets £15.50 per person and must be pre-booked on the BeWILDerwood website.

Chester Cathedral Christmas Tree Festival – Date TBC

The magic of Christmas continues in Chester Cathedral where the annual Christmas Tree Festival takes place from the end of 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!


Christmas Tree Festival Chester Cathedral

Christmas markets and shopping

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

With extended opening hours over Christmas 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 and Chester’s Christmas markets 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.

City Centre Christmas market – Date TBC

Chester’s hugely popular Christmas Market resides outside Chester Town Hall on Northgate Street festively wrapped around the sparkling centrepiece of Chester’s beautiful Christmas tree.

The market will run from Friday 18 November until Wednesday 21 December, Sundays to Wednesdays 10.30 am – 6.30 pm, Thursdays to Saturdays 10.30 am – 8 pm.

Christmas Makers Market – Saturday and Sunday – Date TBC

The Christmas Makers Market arrives this year on the weekend of the 18 November in the Exchange Square, by the new Chester Market and will be full of an abundance of the North West’s finest artisans heading to Chester to give you a real Christmas treat. Cheshire based companies offer wonderful local produce including handmade Christmas decorations, chocolate, preserves and spirits so you can start filling up your stockings ready for Christmas. Open on Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 11 am – 5 pm.


Meeting Santa in Chester

The big man himself will be making various appearances in and around the city through December including a wonderful grotto in the Grosvenor shopping centre and as you know Father Christmas loves his food so he’s inviting you to meet him at a host of venues around the city for a spot of delicious brunch and festivities or splendid afternoon tea.

He’s in high demand so 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

After having to take a year out last year due to safety measures Chester’s Christmas parades will return bringing, joy colour and light to the streets of Chester in 2022.

12 Days of Christmas Parade – Date TBC

The 12 Days of Christmas parade starts from Bridge Street, a new location, at 7 pm and weaves through the city with local musicians, actors and children and a live brass band leading the procession and singing Christmas carols along the way.

During the parade, the Christmas lights will be switched on with each street illuminated as the parade passes through.


Lanterns Parade – Date TBC

This wonderful lanterns parade lit by lanterns made and carried by Chester school children is guided through the city streets by the Queen of Light puppet.

The parade starts at 7 pm and is scheduled to finish at 8 pm. It begins at the Town Hall and finishes in the city centre, the lanterns will light up the evening with their warm glow as the Chester festive spirit fills the streets.

Winter Watch Parades

Dating from the 1400’s Chester’s Winter Watch Parades have been a regular Christmas occurrence in Chester where the leaders of the city would hand over the keys to the city to the City Watch (early police force) after processing around the city to ensure it was secure and once the city was secured a banquet would follow to celebrate Christmas.

Chester Winter Watch Parade – Date TBC

Starting at 7 pm, from Town Hall Square this parade continues around the City centre including St Werburgh Street, Northgate Street and Bridge Street. There are performances including dance, fire breathing and sword fights in Eastgate Street and in the Town Hall Square.

 Saturnalia Parade and Winter Watch Parade – Date TBC

Also starting at 6.30 pm, from Town Hall Square, this parade combines the colourful spectacle of the Winter Watch Parade with the darker Saturnalia parade which also sees the Roman legion light up the streets with a torch-lit parade.

Christmas things to do and festive eating and drinking 

There is 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 are back on providing plenty of 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

Chester’s Park & Ride

If you’re coming into the city Christmas shopping in December leave your car at home and use the Park & Ride at the following locations for just £2 for a return ticket.

Your ticket is valid all day and you can hop on and off the bus as many times as you like.

  • Boughton Heath (off the A41 Whitchurch Road – nearest postcode CH3 5QD)
  • Upton (Zoo – nearest postcode CH2 4BB)
  • Wrexham Road (off the A483 opposite Chester Business Park – nearest postcode CH4 9QD)

FYI the Park & Ride at Sealand Road (on the A548 opposite the car dealerships – nearest postcode CH1 4LD) is currently not in use.

Chester’s City centre Christmas parking 

If you prefer to bring your car into the city this Christmas you can park all day in a number of car parks from around £5 – see the full list of car parks and prices on our parking in Chester page.

You can park for FREE at Chester Racecourse car park (CH1 2LY) every Saturday and Sunday on the run up to Christmas courtesy of the Chester Race Company and Chester BID.

Free Parking Dates – Dates TBC

  • Christmas Eve – 10am with last entry at 6pm (the exit barrier will remain up for you to leave after this time.

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!
































Roving Moon Light Installation – Date tbc

During the 12 Days of Christmas parade The Roving Moon light installation will launch which will hop across landmark buildings, enticing visitors and shoppers to explore snippets of the city they might not have previously discovered.

Chester Cathedral CheSTAR – Date tbc

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.

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