Christmas time in Chester is unlike anywhere else, with a wealth of festive activities, food, shopping and performances. You can enjoy a hot drink or tasty Christmas snack while strolling under the dazzling Christmas lights, taking in the city’s merry sights and sounds.
Though this year might look a little different due to COVID-19, the spirit of Christmas will still be alive and well, ready to be enjoyed by all!
Things to see and do this Christmastime in Chester:
Update for 2023:
Chester Christmas Market
Unfortunately, due to the recently implemented national lockdown measures, the Chester Christmas Market will not be held in-person this year. Fortunately, the market has decided to keep the Christmas spirit alive by hosting a virtual Christmas Market!
Offered online and on Facebook, the virtual market will host all of the typical vendors one would see in-person, making their products available to purchase and enjoy at home!
Chester Indoor Market
Another big-hit market in the area is the Chester Indoor Market. Luckily, this market is still open for food takeaway, including delicious food ranging from fresh sweets to piping hot drinks that will keep you warm amid the cold temperatures. Traders at the market are also selling their goods online with the availability of pick-up by customers. You can pick up your Christmas gifts here, and even ask for the traders to wrap it up in Christmas paper, taking away the hassle for you at no cost!
Chester Market won Best Small Indoor Market at the Great British Market Awards 2020.
Hoole Christmas Lights
The Hoole Christmas Lights switch-on is one of Chester’s most popular Christmas-related events. This year, Hoole will be doing things a little bit different. Instead of switching on the area’s lights as crowd members gather and look on, residents of Hoole will be encouraged to decorate their windows with Christmas decorations and lights to be admired by passer-by’s throughout the season.
Chester Cathedral Christmas Tree Festival
Every year, the Chester Cathedral lights up a variety of Christmas trees that are donated by members of the local schools and businesses. The highlight of the Tree Festival is The CheSTAR, a 25-foot high sparkling Christmas star that has over 19,000 lights! To meet COVID-19 safety restrictions, the trees at this year’s festival will be spread out with tickets selling at a limited amount every day.
Christmas Food and Drink
Christmas Menu at The Fishpool
Re-opening 2 December, The Fishpool has one of Chester’s best Christmas menus available. A two-course meal costs £23.50, and the three-course meal comes in at £28.50 with both a vegan and non-vegan option for both. On the non-vegan menu, you can enjoy such dishes as a delectable roast breast and leg of turkey, braised blade of beef Bourguignon or a pan-fried pavé of salmon, chicken liver parfait, and panko-breaded brie. Vegan diners have their choice of a mouth-watering roasted root vegetable filo parcel, roasted squash and mushroom nut roast or a mixed bean cassoulet. To top off your meal, enjoy a variety of wine, cocktails, martinis, gin, vodka, rum and so much more.
Festive Afternoon Tea at Palm Court
There is no better place to enjoy a festive afternoon tea than at Palm Court, re-opening on 2 December. The restaurant’s special Christmas tea menu features an unparalleled afternoon tea set priced at £21.95 per person. You could also switch it up by opting for the mulled wine, a gin and tonic, a glass of champagne or a glass of Prosecco, all at different prices. Tasty, seasonal food options will make your tea complete, with choices of sandwiches, scones, or cakes and sweets. The top sandwiches include a traditional turkey, cranberry and stuffing, egg mayonnaise and cress and roast beef and horseradish cream. The Chef homemade sweets and treats consist of warm festive mini mince pies and an Amaretto and Morello cherry tart. Afternoon tea is available from 12 pm to 4 pm Monday through Saturday until 6 January 2021.
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One of the draws of doing your Christmas shopping in Chester is the city’s ‘late-night Christmas shopping’ events. Here, you can shop ’till you drop until 8 pm on 10 December and 17 December. The Grosvenor Shopping Centre has a multitude of stores, including those suited for adults and kids alike. Shop for the latest in fashion at Boss, H&M or Pour Moi. When you feel like you need a recharge, treat yourself to Millie’s Cookies, Costa Coffee or the Muffin Break. For the kids, you’ll want to check out The Disney Store and Build-A-Bear Workshop.
A Christmas Carol at Storyhouse
Starting 3 December, Charles Dickens’ famous story, “A Christmas Carol,” will be performed on stage at Chester’s Storyhouse, a multi-use artistic and cultural space that will practice COVID-19 safety measures. Storyhouse will additionally be showing a range of Christmas classics and modern-day gems alike, including “Frozen,” “The Grinch,” “The Polar Express,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” all throughout the month of December! For the rest of November, there will be virtual showings of these much-loved films.
The Snowman Tour 2020 at Chester Cathedral
Another popular event at Chester Cathedral is “The Snowman Tour;” a classic animated movie revolved around an adorable snowman. What makes this show such a crowd-pleaser is the accompaniment of a live orchestra with musicians from The Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic orchestras. Every year, there is a solo performance of the titular song, “Walking in the Air.” You will also be shown a screening of “The Bear and the Piano” by David Litchfield, an exclusive just for this show!
Yes, Christmas looks a little different this year, but the spirit is still alive and well. There are plenty of exciting options for eating, shopping and celebrating this wonderful time of year. The city continues to practice COVID-19 safety measures to guarantee a safe and fun time for all visitors. Chester remains one of England’s go-to cities for a merry Christmas time!
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