A glittering parade of lights will wind through the streets and the cathedral will be transformed into a snow-filled Narnia as Chester celebrates it’s most magical Christmas ever.

The city will be filled with lanterns, music and magical creatures as the festivities get underway during a spectacular procession this Thursday night (November 20).

A celebrity may not be pressing the button, but families are set to pack the city streets to watch as the mystical Queen of Light weaves through the streets, escorted by a lantern tiger, turning on the festive illuminations at 7pm.

This year’s packed festive programme is being heralded as the most magical yet with the city’s biggest ever Christmas market and CS Lewis's fantastical world of Narnia being brought to life in an exhibition at Chester Cathedral, from November 29 - January 6.

And as the cloisters are lined with magnificent evergreens for the Christmas Tree Festival from November 29-January 6, families will be treated to a showing of The Snowman accompanied by a live 25 piece orchestra.

The much-loved animation will be shown during a spectacular family-friendly concert at the cathedral on December 13.

Lord Mayor of Chester Bob Rudd, said: “We are delighted to unveil details of this year’s Christmas parade, which will fill the city’s streets with light, music and colour as the festive season arrives in Chester in spectacular style.

“A magical blend of community involvement and local professional groups will create a spectacle that families and friends will enjoy and remember.”

This year is Chester’s first as a Business Improvement District (BID) city and to celebrate, the team behind the campaign has joined forces with Marketing Cheshire to launch Chester Kidsmas, a festival which aims to bring the childhood magic of Christmas to the city.

Starting at 6.45pm on Thursday local choirs and bands will perform festive songs around the city, and at 7pm the Parade of Light will start at the Town Hall before winding through the streets turning on the festive lights.

Street performers include The Aldford Singers (on the Town Hall steps); Chester Ladies Choir (Chester Cathedral’s west door); The University of Chester Choir (The Cross); A Handbag of Harmonies (Eastgate Street) and The City of Chester Training Band (Bridge Street Row) before the Christmas Tree lights are switched on at the Town Hall.

Escorted by her protector – a tiger from Chester Zoo’s Lantern Magic event – the giant Queen of Light will lead the parade, accompanied by Powerbockers, Karamba Samba, The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Wind Up Brass, Kajal Sharma’s Kathak dancers, lantern bearing children from Hoole, Cherry Grove, Belgrave and Chester Blue Coat schools, Cheshire Dance and University of Chester dance students and Swing Stompers – and, of course, Santa.

And chELFie, CH1ChesterBID’s very own Christmas elf – who will also kick start this year’s Santa Dash on December 6 – will join the procession, and host a range of family friendly activities across the city, including screenings of Home Alone, Elf and Sing-a-long Frozen at the Grosvenor Museum.

Meanwhile this year’s Christmas Market in the Town Hall Square – which is being heralded as the biggest ever in the city and will extend down Eastgate Street – will run from November 20-December 15, open daily from 10am-6pm, with late night shopping on Thursdays until 8pm.

Hundreds of families have already visited Chester Racecourse’s Winter Wonderland, visiting Santa’s grotto, meeting the reindeer and enjoying skating on the ice rink. The event is scheduled to run until Christmas Eve.

And at Chester Zoo, children can write letters to Santa and get creative at a lantern workshop, before exploring the zoo after dark as part of the Lantern Magic event from December 4-23.

CH1ChesterBID company chairman Paul Daniels said: “Planning for Christmas starts in January so even though we haven’t had a lot of time to put our stamp on it this year, we’re delighted to be involved in bringing some festive fun to the city.

“Children love Christmas because they see the magic of it and we want that sense of wonder and excitement to spread throughout Chester.

“We want to bring people together this Christmas and we want to bring them to Chester. We’ve got a fantastic line-up planned that I’m sure will help us achieve that.”

“We hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and tells their friends and families about the magical time they had in Chester.”

BBC presenter Louise Minchin switches on the Christmas lights in Hoole