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All you need to know about Cheshire in Christmas 2023

Christmas Tree Festival at Chester Cathedral <i>(Image: Mark Carline/Visit Chester & Cheshire)</i>
Christmas Tree Festival at Chester Cathedral (Image: Mark Carline/Visit Chester & Cheshire)

Towns, villages, the city, and attractions across the county are putting on their festive finery. Cheshire Life presents a guide to all sorts of celebrations from shopping and carol-singing to Santa’s grottoes and light trails. Merry Christmas to all.

The best Christmas attractions in Cheshire in 2023

Cheshire has a wealth of world-class attractions from regal stately homes and unique heritage sites, to theme parks and amazing animal encounters and Christmas is an especially magical time as they deck their halls and present spectacular events and experiences.

Lyme

Christmas at Lyme promises to be a little quirky this year as the Animal Crackers Christmas comes to the 16th-century mansion house. This self-guided tour sees the traditional Christmas décor of the hall transformed by a host of mischievous animals. Guests are invited to collect mislaid eggs, relax with cows, and enjoy karaoke with badgers. Designed by the Strange Train Company, it's going to be a weird and wonderful family Christmas experience filled with colourful characters. The festivities at Lyme don’t end in the house as throughout the festive period guests can enjoy Christmas carols in the Timber Yard accompanied by winter warmers including hot chocolate and mulled wine, woodland winter walks with accessible paths for wheelchairs and pushchairs and sustainable Christmas gifts. You can find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme

Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey’s Christmas celebrations have become a staple of the Cheshire festive calendar. This storied estate with its Georgian house, gardens and deer park is transformed for the festive season with an immersive after-dark light trail. The iconic giant illuminated deer are welcoming guests to the estate again this year and the trail promises to be more spectacular than ever with all-new installations including colour-changing batons of light, Nova – a huge silver star shrouded in mist – and sparkling star-shaped arches. Christmas at Dunham Massey runs until December 31 and is always popular so pre-booking is advised. You can find out more at nationaltrust.org.uk/dunhammassey

Bolesworth

On the outskirts of Chester, Bolesworth Castle, which plays host to some of Cheshire’s most popular large-scale events, is once again inviting guests to a magical winter wonderland. There’s a dizzying array of festive experiences suitable for all ages. The main attraction of Bolesworth’s Christmas Village is the Christmas lights trail, taking guests on an enchanting journey through the grounds, which are lit with thousands of lights and effects, projections and interactive installations. Visitors are also invited to take a ride on the traditional festive fairground, dine on a wide variety of food and drink (including mulled wine), and meet real reindeer at Rudolph’s Rest. You can also add to your experience by taking a spin on the 240sqm ice skating rink, and book in for a visit with Father Christmas in his grotto. Find out more and book at bolesworth.com/christmas

Blakemere

Christmas at the Magical Woodland brings some real magic to the 15 acres of woods at Blakemere, with a host of light and sound displays. This year will see the return of crowd favourites such as the cathedral canopies of fairy lights, tunnels of Borealis-style lasers, floating umbrellas and clouds of flying lanterns. There are new interactive light and sound installations and Mr and Mrs Claus will be in residence until Christmas Eve. Entry to the Magical Woodland gives unlimited time to explore the forest and enjoy roasted marshmallows around the open fire. It’s a sure-fire way to get into the Christmas spirit and you can find out more at christmasmagicalwoodland.com

Walton Hall and Gardens

Walton Hall and Gardens is a must-visit year-round with its 19th-century hall, picturesque gardens and grounds, children’s zoo and adventure golf and the Warrington landmark is celebrating Christmas in style with special activities and events. The festivities include the return of Luminate – the spectacular illuminated trail that year promises to be even bigger and better with immersive sound and light displays. Warrington Disability Partnership brings Santa to town at Walton Hall with a fully accessible grotto experience on selected dates until December 21. It’s £9 per child to see the big man and the ticket includes a present and a reindeer puzzle trail. December 10 sees Father Christmases galore taking part in the annual Santa Dash. This 3k fun run is presented by Warrington Disability Partnership and entry is £10 including a five-piece Santa suit, with the proceeds going to this great cause. Find out more about all of these celebrations at waltonhallgardens.co.uk

The Ice Cream Farm

The team at the world’s largest ice cream parlour are celebrating Christmas with delectable frozen treats. They’re bringing Santa Claus back to town with Santa’s grotto and elves’ workshop, where families are invited to meet Santa and his elves, choose a gift from the elves’ emporium, take part in a range of Christmas activities including making reindeer food and enjoy a scoop or two of the farm’s signature ice cream. Other festivities this year include bottomless brunch with Santa in the Sticky Paws restaurant and cookie-making with Mrs Claus. Find out more at theicecreamfarm.co.uk/christmas

BeWILDerwood

The wild woods of Whitchurch are coming alive for the festive season. On selected dates from December 2 to 23 BeWILDerwood guests can enjoy a sparkly light and panto trails. On the sparkly light trail, visitors can explore new areas of the park and enjoy all kinds of twinkling light installations and festive displays such as the giant Christmas pudding. There is also a new mini pantomime for the whole family to enjoy. Presented by BeWILDerwood’s talented and quirky team, this festive show brings the beloved characters of Tom Blofeld’s books to life as they try to save Christmas in a unique spin on a Christmas tradition. Find out more and book at bewilderwood.co.uk

There’s much more going on this festive season wherever you are in Cheshire including Christmas markets, festive food and drink, and winter getaways. For more inspiration for your December and beyond in Cheshire see visitcheshire.com/christmas

Christmas 2023 in Chester

 

Chester’s Christmas lights switch on will ignite the festivities in the city on Thursday, November 23. The fun starts at the Christmas Tree in Town Hall Square at around 7pm and the revelry will spread through city centre streets with a spectacular 12 Days of Christmas Parade of music, lights, and seasonal characters.

The walled city is a must-visit destination for many people at Christmas. The historic Rows – the 700-year-old two-tier gallery frontages – provide a shopping experience unlike any other all year round and the lights, parades and street traders at Christmas add extra spice.

Chester’s Christmas markets are a favourite festive fixture for shoppers, bringing an opportunity to buy seasonal goods and unique gifts. There will be craft and jewellery makers and a chance to sample festive food and drink from independent traders.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is promising to have Christmas all wrapped up, with more than 70 traders pitching their stalls in the heart of the city centre.

There’s a chance to visit a Santa’s grotto with a difference at the Grosvenor Shopping Centre as Alice in Wonderland characters join Father Christmas between November 24 and Christmas Eve in an event organised by Chester BID. With Santa lost in Wonderland, children are challenged to rescue him with the help of magical characters including the Mad Hatter and, most fittingly, the Cheshire Cat.

Chester Cathedral, the seat of the Bishops of Chester since the 16th century, is once again hosting its Christmas Tree festival. This year there will be 75 decorated trees, complementing the two spectacular 14-ft trees, standing strong outside the front of the cathedral. The cathedral hosts many events throughout the Christmas period, from brunch with Santa to a variety of candlelight concerts to suit all tastes.

The annual Chester Cathedral Christmas Carol Concert takes place on Saturday, December 9, starting at 7.30pm. Mince pies and mulled wine will be available prior to the concert. As with many Christmas events at the cathedral, it is a ticketed event.

The Chester Music Society Christmas Crackers Concert is held at the cathedral on Monday, December 18, featuring the Chester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cathedral Saturday Singing Club.

There’s a chance to get into the spirit of Christmas with carols in the courtyard at Chester Castle on Saturday, December 2. Father Christmas will make a visit and visitors can explore the historic landmark, including the Agricola Tower and the medieval chapel. Dogs are welcome.

Chester Zoo is promising a Christmas like no other at its lantern festival, which has become a much-loved festive tradition. This year the zoo has partnered with Sony Music to provide the world premiere of Wild Worlds, an innovative lantern and lights extravaganza.

Zoo animals, and even a woolly mammoth, will appear to spring to life in a series of light installations and there’s a host of new features for 2023 including festive fairground rides, marshmallow toasting, a larger-than-life pea-lit stag, 3D projections and the towering winter cathedral. Running from November 17 to December 31.

Nearby Cheshire Oaks promises a 'never before seen Santa in the Sky experience' and a winter village to keep younger members entertained during a Christmas shopping trip to one of the North West’s premier retail outlets.

Christmas 2023 in Wilmslow, Prestbury and Alderley Edge

Shopping in Wilmslow is hitting the heights, according to Wilmslow’s Way Better co-ordinator Lisa Russett, and the town’s independent shop owners and hospitality venues are gearing up for its biggest Christmas programme in recent years. 'We’ll be running a festive programme featuring an ice rink and Christmas market stalls,' says Lisa, 'and we’ll be getting Wilmslow’s wonderful hospitality venues involved.

'It would be easy to bring in outside stallholders, but we don’t want to do that. We have some of the North-West’s best food and drink outlets in our town and they will be central to our Christmas offer.

Festivities began with the town council-organised Christmas lights switch-on in mid-November. Then, from Friday, December 8 to Sunday, December 10, Wilmslow’s Way Better stages a Winter Wonderland event featuring Santa’s grotto, stalls, an ice rink and street entertainment including performances from local choirs.

Wilmslow’s Way Better, one of a network of Business Improvement Districts across English town centres, launched last November Lisa says: 'Christmas last year was very much a dress rehearsal for this year’s full experience. These are exciting times in Wilmslow as we’re bucking the trend when it comes to town centres. There are very few empty properties and half of those are undergoing renovation, ready to come back to life. We have independent businesses, supplemented by national offerings who are attracted to Wilmslow because we have a city centre offering in a suburban town setting.'

Cheshire runners and joggers will be out in force for the Wilmslow Festive 10k on Sunday, November 26. Run North West’s Christmas curtain-raiser promises to be a fantastic spectacle as runners, many in Christmas fancy dress, take on a one-lap course, starting on Alderley Road and wending its way through the Cheshire countryside before finishing on Mobberley Road with the award of sparkly, festive-themed medals.

The village of Styal is a short drive or a bracing winter walk, via the Carrs' parkland and neighbouring country park. Styal is dominated by Quarry Bank Mill, where the National Trust is planning a range of Christmas treats such as treasure hunt with a difference, running from Friday, December 1 to Sunday, January 7. Children and adults can enjoy a walk around the mill and grounds, ticking off the 12 Days of Quarry Bank Christmas clues to create a festive song sheet.

Father Christmas visits Quarry Bank between Saturday, December 2 and Saturday, December 23. Parents can contact the venue to book places for a 30-minute Christmas crafts session, including a chance for families to meet Santa Claus and deliver their Christmas list.

Special sessions where neuro-diverse children can meet Santa, while enjoying festive crafts and fun, in a relaxed, calm setting take place between December 21 and December 23. Booking is essential for any children wishing to receive a present from Santa.

Other events at Quarry Bank include theatre performances of The Snow Queen, on Saturday, December 9, at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

Christmas starts early in Alderley Edge, with the village’s main street bedecked with lights from November 18 when London Road will be closed for three hours to accommodate 60 festive stalls and entertainers, leading up to the switch on at 7pm.

The parish council in Prestbury has organised a Christmas Fair and artisan market for Sunday, December 10. The village has Christmas lights and Prestbury’s pubs will join in the festive fun.

Christmas 2023 in Knutsford

With its narrow historic streets, wide range of gifts shops and array of pubs and bars, Knutsford offers something for all tastes during December.

The festivities begin with a weekend of events on Saturday. December 2 and Sunday, December 3. The fun starts on Saturday lunchtime with street performers, musicians, choirs, and dance troupes, prior to the Santa Parade through the town. Knutsford Town Council recommends watching the parade in King Street and Minshull Street, with Father Christmas arriving in Canute Square in time for the lights switch on at 6pm.

The weekend of December 2 and 3 sees Knutsford’s Christmas markets with more than 120 traders each day selling the finest foods, drinks, crafts and gifts.

Stalls are set up across Princess Street, Silk Mill Street and Canute Place for the two-day festive street market; there’s Santa’s Grotto, hot food and drink, live entertainment, and a funfair.

Christmas at Tatton Park is always special and this year is no exception. The entire park, including the elegant mansion and gardens, the rare breeds farm, stableyards, and the more than 1,000 acres of parkland are playing host to festivities this year.

Tatton Park transforms into a winter wonderland from late November. The historic hall’s gardens will host a spectacular illuminated trail, telling a magical story where winter witch goddesses have captured the moon and sun and shapeshifting snow hares play tricks on visitors. The creative minds behind the Just So Festival have devised the wondrous winter walk among the 50-acre gardens, combining folklore and nature with all kinds of Christmas entertainment. Guests are invited to gather around the fire pit for festive folk stories and music and wander around the glittering light trail of spectacular installations, interactive light effects, illuminated puppets and costumed characters bringing the winter stories to life. Running until December 23, Yuletide promises to be a new family-friendly festive tradition.

There’s a chance to pick up that unusual present at the Tatton Christmas Gift Fair on the first weekend of December, Father Christmas takes up residence at the park’s farm until Christmas Eve and you can join the Northern Chamber Orchestra for their annual Christmas Concert, featuring the Choir of St Nicholas Catholic High School, Northwich, in the grand Tenants’ Hall, on Friday, December 8. There are two presentations, at 3.30pm and 7pm. Meanwhile, the ever-popular Carols in the Stableyard, which is free to attend, takes place on Sunday, December 17 (3-4pm).

The National Trust’s premier Tatton event combines the wonders of Christmas with the magical world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The Wonderland Christmas Mansion event runs on selected dates between late November and New Year’s Eve. Visitors are invited to view a series of charming displays in the 10-th century hall, following in Alice’s footsteps through the Duchess’s Garden, the Queen of Hearts’ Grand Palace and on through the amazing Magic Forest, to marvel at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, before entering the Queen of Hearts’ kitchen to pick up a tasty festive treat.

Christmas 2023 in Nantwich

Nantwich town centre is steeped in history and its shops have much to offer to visitors all year round. There’s a packed programme of festive delights, from the Christmas lights switch-on, taking place on Friday, November 17, through to Christmas Day. The launch event has a fireworks display and the town’s stores will be all dressed up for Christmas for a late-night shopping evening on Thursday, November 30.

In a first for 2023, St Mary’s Church in the centre of the town partners with St Luke’s Hospice to host a Christmas Tree Festival. The Cheshire hospice has asked companies and individuals to sponsor and decorate trees, making for a unique display during the festival.

Visitors can rent headphones and listen to Christmas music or an audio history ofthe church as they view the trees. The festival also includes the chance to catch festive-themed films, The Polar Express and It’s A Wonderful Life. Tickets for the cinema experience must be bought in advance.

St Mary’s is home to a variety of festive events, as well as its Christmas services. These include Christmas crafts and the Nantwich Choral Society’s family carol concert.

Look out for the Nantwich Tree of Light, recently unveiled in a ceremony led by the Revd. Dr Mark Hart and the Mayor of Nantwich Stephanie Wedgwood. Residents were invited by Nantwich Town Council to add a bauble to the tree in memory of a loved one or a special cause, in return for a donation of £5. The cost of the tree has been covered by Nantwich Town Council and donations will be divided between the Mayor of Nantwich’s charities, the Nantwich Food Bank, Mid Cheshire Hospitals Charity, Cheshire Dogs Home, and St Mary’s Church.

Teams from Nantwich Rotary and Crewe and Nantwich Round Table will be touring the area with Father Christmas to raise money for good causes.

Nantwich Civic Hall has a packed programme of shows throughout the year and this year’s Christmas offering is Santa’s Sparkly Surprise, a production from Imagine Theatre in association with Belgrade Theatre. The show promises lots of audience participation and children get to meet Father Christmas. Santa’s Sparkly Surprise is on from Sunday, December 3 to Wednesday, December 6. Tickets from the Civic Hall.

Reaseheath College is offering families the chance to enjoy festive fun with a difference by visiting its zoo for the three weekends before Christmas.

Winter wallabies, festive foxes, merry meerkats, seasonal snakes, gracious goats and dashing donkeys are just some of the animals preparing for Christmas. Reaseheath’s keepers will be on hand to talk about which present each animal would like best from Santa.

The zoo will be open each Saturday and Sunday from 10am and a festive trail will lead visitors around the animal enclosures.

Christmas 2023 in Sandbach and Middlewich

Sandbach proudly presents one of Cheshire’s most enchanting Christmas markets, promising more than 100 stalls in the Market Square, stretching up the High Street, filling the Market Hall, and expanding over Little Common. Taking place on December 1 from 3-8pm, the town will be aglow as shops open up for late-night gift buying, and The Olive and Stitch Market will host even more stalls within the Town Hall. Whatever the weather the town will have choirs singing carols around the Christmas tree, Santa in his grotto, brass bands playing, lights twinkling, chestnuts roasting and the aroma of mulled wine.

Before that, on November 25, there’s the big Sandbach Christmas lights switch-on. Running from 2pm to 5pm on the cobbles, there will be performances by Jon Stevens, Frantic Fridays, Strum and Bass and Foden’s Youth Band, plus stalls from Sandbach Animal Rescue Society, Age UK Cheshire, The Salvation Army and Sandbach Art Room.

There’s also a Breakfast with Santa on December 2, with a chance to meet the big man and take part in craft activities, and an adults’ Christmas party night on December 9, both at Sandbach Town Hall.

On December 7, the poignant tree of light will be lit up by the mayor in Sandbach cemetery. Families have been posting stars in post boxes around the town in memory of loved ones for weeks, and on the day, children’s choirs will perform at the lighting-up ceremony.

On December 14, Symphony Catering will provide a free lunch to older people across the town, with volunteer drivers shuttling hot food to where it’s needed throughout the day.

Enjoy the sound of a traditional brass band as the Roberts Bakery Band play Christmas carols on the cobbles on December 21. Bring the family and sing along.

This will be followed by the return of the town’s popular Christmas pantomime, which this year is Scarlett Entertainment Theatre’s retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. There are two shows, taking place at 1pm and 4pm on December 28 in Sandbach Town Hall.

Middlewich also has its big Christmas lights switch-on taking place on November 25, from 3-7pm.

There’s also a fabulous range of activities around the town, such as the festive glass workshops at The Silver Zebra studio in Wimboldsley on November 26 and December 10. Learn the art of fused and stained glass while creating your own Christmas decorations with a glass of prosecco and a brandy mince pie. Some projects will be completed on the day while others are fired and ready for collection in time for December 25.

Christmas 2023 in Altrincham and Sale

The festive fun begins in Altrincham with the Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday, November 25. It’s the start of a busy month, with plenty to see and do. Tucked away in Stamford Park, A Bloc Cafe will be hosting a wreath-making masterclass on the evenings of November 30 and December 1. Join organisers Green and Grounded and create your own luxury Christmas decoration. All the materials are provided, with tuition to make a fresh, long-lasting wreath, using all-natural decorations. Tickets include a glass of fizz and plenty of festive spirit.

One of Altrincham’s annual Christmas highlights takes place at St George’s Church on December 3 at 9.30am. The gift service sees families from across the town partner with the Hope Centre to collect gifts for children who might not otherwise receive any this year. Please bring new, unwrapped gifts for children from birth to age 18.

On December 7, there’s the church’s traditional carol service for Altrincham – an opportunity for the different communities of the town to gather during this season of love and sharing, in a church bedecked with candles.

Over at The Garrick Theatre, from December 8, there’s a fairy-tale world of magical castles, bewitched spinning wheels and an enchanted sleep that only true love’s kiss can break, in Sleeping Beauty. It’s packed with magic, songs, comedy, dance and special effects, suitable for the whole family.

Meet Santa and his elves on skates at PlanetIce, where the big man in red will be surprisingly light on his feet as he tells a Christmas story and meets young fans. Sessions, which include a public skate and skate hire, run every weekend in December from 11am to 4pm, and daily from Thursday, December 21 until Christmas Eve, when Santa and his team really do need to get their skates on.

Dance through the decades at Altrincham FC’s Christmas party on December 16. Journey through the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s in a nostalgic night of music and food, with chicken in a basket included, plus a DJ and music quiz.

Down the road in Sale, there’s plenty happening too, with the return of the Christmas Tree Festival at St Martin’s Church from November 30 to December 3, with free entry and seasonal refreshments available.

The popular Christmas Lantern Parade is back in Stanley Square and at Waterside on December 2. Festivities start from 2.30pm, including lantern workshops from Our Kids Social. The parade itself is set to start at 4.30pm.

The Bridge Inn has its Christmas Market on December 7 from 5pm, and Brooklands Health Club on December 10. There will be stalls, live music and a chance to meet Santa, all on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal.

Christmas 2023 in Congleton

Look out for Congleton’s beautifully dressed windows as Christmas draws near. Every year, shops and businesses go to town with their impressive displays. Judging takes place in December. Before that, the crowds will be out in the town centre on Friday, November 24, for the lights switch-on. The fun begins at 4 pm. The evening will be packed full of free entertainment for the whole family. Highlights include community stalls, Cairngorm reindeer, more than 40 craft stalls inside the town hall and the pedestrian area and Santa’s grotto, which can be found inside the Cygnet Club.

Watch the traditional lantern parade, taking a new route this year, leaving from the bottom of Mill Street at 5.30pm to arrive at the Christmas tree for the switchon at 6pm. Entertainment on the main stage – next to the big Christmas tree – includes Rode Hall Silver Band and tribute acts. The community stage, next to the Our Elizabeth statue, will feature performances from local schools, clubs and groups. Discover the special Beartown Christmas Market at Congleton’s new Market Quarter, Princess Street.

Congleton’s Candlelit Community Carol Service will take place in the town’s Georgian church, St Peter’s in Chapel Street, on Thursday, December 14. Enjoy well-loved carols in the company of the Beartown Singers and seasonal refreshments after the service. As well as the usual road closure on High Street, Mill Street and Swan Bank will also be closed to traffic this year to extend the festivities. The new zone will have a party atmosphere with a DJ, food stalls and seating.

Daneside Theatre on Park Road will host a line-up of feelgood festive favourites including the Rotary Christmas Concert on December 10. Tickets from the Congleton Information Centre.

To make it easier for shoppers to stay longer and enjoy Congleton this Christmas, Congleton Town Council will use its four ‘free’ parking days on Saturday, December 2, 9, 16 and 23. Park for free after 10am in Princess Street car park, Back Street car park and Fairground car park. The Fairground car park still has a three-hour upper limit for parking. Back Park Street car park remains free every day after 3pm.

Down the road at Clonter Opera Theatre, there’s plenty of festive fun too, starting with gospel from the London Adventist Chorale on Saturday, December 2. Hailed as one of the world’s greatest choirs, and conducted by Ken Burton, they return by popular request to perform their annual Christmas special. Guests aged 26 years old and under go free.

There’s also a Tea With... Christmas Special on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 6, with an hour of music, followed by traditional afternoon tea. The Christmas-themed musical entertainment is presented by two singers and a pianist, under the swagged red organza and brass chandelier in the intimacy of the Ramsey Room.

Finally, the Lock In Christmas Carol on Saturday, December 16, sees the Breaking Tradition Dance Company return to Clonter with live music from The Demon Barbers bringing some of the UK’s oldest forms of dance up to date with some of the youngest, in a high-energy celebration of dance culture. A pre-performance supper is available to pre-book (or bring your own festive picnic).

Christmas 2023 in Northwich

There’s a month-long countdown in Northwich, beginning with a fun-filled day across the town centre on November 25, offering free activities and culminating in the Lantern Parade and lights switch-on. The daytime fun will begin at 11am. On High Street, just outside Barclays, you’ll find nine holes of free Christmas Crazy Golf. Booking is not required.

Starting outside Santander there are more than 15 different stalls in the Christmas Market, with gifts, sweet treats, clothing and jewellery.

Shardlands Funfairs will have rides to enjoy and there’ll be snow whirling around inside the snow globe, making for the perfect festive selfie.

Christmas crafting sessions will run throughout the day, and at the top of Witton Street you’ll see a whirling snowstorm every 10 minutes. Chuck Santa Down the Chimney, take part in Elf on the Shelf Knockdown, Snowball Splat and Chuck a Pudding games, all free to play.

Santa will be parking his sleigh at the top of Witton Street, where there is also a candy cane bridge and a family of penguins. The synthetic ice rink returns for 2023, inside a clear marquee, and Santa will be meeting young fans to receive wishes.

Starting at Waitrose at around 5pm, a Lantern Parade will set off and make its way to Barons Square outside Asda. The Northwich Christmas lights will be switched on at around 5.30pm and a spectacular firework show will take place around 6pm.

From December 2, Santa will take to the river, with a band of helpers, his storybook, some new songs and gifts for younger sailors in a 45-minute cruise from the Anderson Boat Lift.

Christmas at the Magical Woodland runs at Blakemere Village from November 24 to December 24, with dazzling cathedral canopies of fairy lights, interactive light features, tunnels of Borealis-style lasers, floating umbrellas, and clouds of flying lanterns.

On December 3, Small Street Markets hosts an event at Blakemere, packed with independent local businesses selling food, fashion and Christmas decorations. There’ll be homemade crafts and local delicacies, at a fun family-friendly day.

Christmas 2023 in Macclesfield

The wonderful Treacle Market takes place on the last Sunday of each month, apart from December when it always falls on a Sunday before Christmas – so this year on November 26 and Christmas Eve. The market started in 2010 and each month sees the handsome cobbled Marketplace, Old Butter Market, St Michael’s churchyard and surrounding streets filled with visitors. It promises 160 stalls of unique crafts, exceptional lovingly produced food, drink and vintage finds. Many local shops, galleries and eateries will open on the day too.

Over at Silklife Church on December 1, Saltmine Theatre Company perform Red Riding Hood, presenting a modern-day twist on this classic tale, as we come face to face with the big bad wolf and find out what it really means to belong.

Macclesfield Comedy Club has a Christmas Special at Cinemac Cinema, with a pop-up bar from RedWillow Brewery and acts including Lou Sanders, Harriet Dyer, Bethany Black and Jonathan Mayor.

The Silk Museum has a series of seasonal events throughout December, with lots of festive family fun sessions, and grown-up sessions including a Christmas origami decorations workshop on December 14, teaching the nimble-fingered how to make an assortment of hanging festive decorations using paper, and a chance to work with Macclesfield artist Hannah Wooll on December 16 to make vintage, folk art-inspired metal decorations.

Capesthorne Hall hosts wreath-making workshops with Silk & Wild, cheese and wine evenings, offering expertise from Knowles Green, and a series of candle-making events with Ma Lumière. There are also afternoon teas and a corporate party night. Enjoy exclusive access into the hall, which will be dressed for Christmas.

Around Cheshire in Christmas 2023

The Arley Hall Shopping Spectacular is back from November 21 to 23, which brings together a fabulous array of 75 hand-picked stalls offering food, gifts and treats for all, from stocking fillers to that extra-special present.

Light Up Bramhall takes place in the village on Sunday, November 26, with a seasonal market, grotto, vinyl fair, fairground, and choir, plus some guest appearances from panto favourites.

Disley Parish Council’s Christmas Extravaganza is on December 1, with trees and lights over the shops and the well-loved super-sized Christmas presents displayed all around the village. The Ram Green will be buzzing from 5.30pm with Cheshire’s Silk FM providing the music, Santa greeting his visitors in the grotto and Disley Girl Guiding providing free face painting. Musical entertainment is by Disley Primary School Choir.

Over in Malpas, there’ll be a festive open day at family-run glassblowing business E&M Glass on December 2, with demonstrations, local exhibiting artists, Christmas gift shop and refreshments.

On Saturday, December 2, Parkgate and Neston Christmas Market promises plenty of high-quality, handmade products from 10am-3pm in Moorside Lane. Entry and parking is free and there’s a chance to relax in the Crafters’ Café too.

Down the road in Ellesmere Port, sing-a-long a canal with the National Waterways Museum’s Festive Boat Trip followed by a trip to Santa’s grotto and a gift for every child, running on December 2, from 10am to 3pm.

The following day, there’s an LGBTQ+ Christmas market at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall, with stalls, face-painting and entertainment.

Join the animals for Christmas at the Children’s Zoo at Walton Hall Gardens in Warrington on December 3, 10 and 24, where there’ll be a chance to meet the animals and hear all about them, plus a chance to design a cardboard bauble which will be placed on the zoo’s Christmas tree.

Take your partners by the hand as Mobberley Pre-school welcomes dancers for a fundraising Christmas Ceilidh at the Victory Hall on Saturday, December 9. No experience is necessary and all the family is welcome.

Santa will be saddling up and making his way to Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre in Tarporley on December 9, 10, 16 and 17. Grotto visits include a gift for each child as well as admission to the farm, with free return visits for a month. Claremont Farm in Wirral will be toasting the return of its Christmas Acoustic evenings on December 15 and 16, with music from four acoustic acts in the beautifully decorated Hardy’s teepees..



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