Chester's glittering festivities get under way on Thursday, November 21 at the spectacular Christmas Parade of Light which will herald the start of the festive season in the city.

The parade will magically turn on the festive illuminations as it passes through the city centre streets.

The seasonal extravaganza, led by the Queen of Light protected by the tiger from Chester Zoo’s Lantern Magic, will leave from the Abbey Gateway at the Cathedral at 6.30pm.

The procession will make its way past the new Christmas Market in the Town Hall Square - which officially opens at 6pm - via St Werburgh Street, Eastgate Street and Watergate Street to the new Winter Wonderland at Chester Racecourse which is open from 7-10pm.

An artist’s impression of the new Christmas market which is planned for outside Chester Town Hall
An artist’s impression of the new Christmas market which is planned for outside Chester Town Hall
 

The colourful cavalcade of characters in the Queen of Light’s procession will feature dancers, lantern helpers from local schools, Santa Claus on his sleigh with several Winter Wonderland characters, plus a specially lit Mini from Grosvenor Shopping Centre.

Dancing on Ice champion, Olympic medallist and gymnastics legend Beth Tweddle MBE will be officially opening the ice rink at Winter Wonderland at Chester Racecourse and will switch-on the 24 feet high Christmas tree with the Lord Mayor of Chester Jill Houlbrook at 7pm.

The audience can enjoy a performance by skaters from Deeside Ice Skating Group, followed by a choral performance and a taster of Theatre in the Quarter’s production of The Snow Queen to be staged at St Mary’s Centre in December.

Popular Chester-based girl band Indigo City, who performed at Chester Rocks in 2012, will also be performing live at the Winter Wonderland as part of the grand finale.

The Christmas Market with Champagne Lanson in the Town Hall Square features a host of traditional wooden chalets offering fabulous food and drink as well as a huge variety of gift ideas that cannot be found on the high street.

Nearby Chester Cathedral will be staging Christmas carol concerts, services and from November 29 a new Christmas tree festival featuring 40 delightfully decorated Christmas Trees in its 1,000 year old cloisters.

Just outside the city, the enchanting Lantern Magic is returning to Chester Zoo from December 12-15 and 19-23, where families can share in an unforgettable evening journey, meeting a colourful collection of animal characters en route and listening to the nocturnal sounds of the zoo.

Perennial favourites return too including the traditional Roman Saturnalia torch light parade where Chester's Roman Legionaries reclaim the city as they parade through the streets with flaming torches, and the ancient Winter Watch Parade complete with dance performances, fire-breathers and sword fighting in the shopping streets of the history city centre.

Full details about the Christmas in Chester festive events programme are featured in a special guide available throughout the city and on christmasinchester.com

The City of Chester Male Voice Choir will be singing carols on Bridge Street Row from 5.30pm on November 21 in support of the city’s Christmas Lights Switch-On celebrations.

Timetable of events

All day: Christmas Market in the Town Hall Square

5.30pm-5.55pm City of Chester training band, Town Hall Square

6pm Official opening of Christmas Market by the Lord Mayor of Chester followed by a performance of ‘Keep the Light Shining’, a song by local composer Luke Moore, performed by the University of Chester Popular Music degree course choir

6.30pm Parade of Light

Route- St Werburgh Street, Eastgate Street, Chester Cross, Watergate Street, Lower Watergate Street, Chester Racecourse and the Winter Wonderland.

7pm-10pm Winter Wonderland at Chester Racecourse

6pm onwards - choirs performing in various locations around the city

Town Hall: Popular music degree course choir: University of Chester

West Door: Nave Cathedral choir (from 6.15)

Eastgate St: A Handbag of Harmonies

Bridge St Row: City of Chester Male Voice Choir

Grosvenor Steps, Bridge St: Phoenix Singers Adult Education Choir from Sir John Deane's College, Northwich and Tarporley Primary School Choir

Late night shopping Thursdays up to Christmas will also include a Lantern Parade which will include the lighting of the Christmas tree at The Cross (Nov 28), Winter Watch Parade (Dec 5 and 12) and Saturnalia parade (19 Dec).

There will also be free Park and Ride after 2pm on Thursdays from November 21 until December 19 for late night Christmas shopping in the city.

Here is a map of Christmas events and Santa visits happening in our area.

 

If you would like to add your event to the map, fill in the form below

We're testing a new site: This content is coming soon