Christmas events in Chester for 2021
- Credit: Visit Chester & Cheshire
Christmas is back in full force in Chester with plenty going on to inspire the festive spirit in and around Chester, from returning favourites to exciting new experiences.
Christmas in Chester is a true highlight of the year for locals and visitors alike and is a real chance to get together, reconnect and experience our much-loved city in a whole new light.
Chester does Christmas exceptionally well, and the city’s community of residents and businesses come together to bring you a magical festive experience.
So wrap up in your best winter warmers, grab a mug of mulled wine and get ready to experience Christmas in Chester.
Christmas at historic Chester Cathedral
There’s not much more magical than experiencing some festive cheer among the medieval majesty of the city’s cathedral. This year the much-loved Christmas Tree festival is back until January 4.
The cathedral cloisters are lined with more than 50 sparkling Christmas trees designed by local organisations, schools and charities. The magnificent 13th-century refectory is serving Sunday brunch with a special guest until Christmas Eve.
Families can enjoy a delicious brunch from the refectory café joined by Santa himself, and the team at the cathedral is bringing the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol to life with a wonderfully traditional production adapted for stage by Laura Turner, complete with beautiful period costume, song, dance, and a magnificent original musical score on December 8.
And one of the nation’s favourite Christmas characters will make a welcome return as The Snowman Tour arrives at the cathedral on December 18. This special screening of the family favourite, accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra is a guaranteed way to get into the festive spirit. chestercathedral.com/events/category/christmas/list/
Spot the Roving Moon and new pop-up events
A new and exciting festive feature debuts in Chester this year.
The team at Destination Chester is inviting visitors to look up at Chester experiencing the city from a whole new, enchanting perspective with the Roving Moon.
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This shining festive beacon will be in select locations high up around the city, and it’s your task to locate and spot it. Part of a new series of events and activities entitled Chester Designed by Nature, the Roving Moon is an innovative initiative to inspire visitors to explore the city to find the majestic moon-shaped light display and really get into the festive spirit.
Visitors are encouraged to get involved by snapping pictures of the moon and sharing them on social media with the hashtag #chestermoon.
Also, as part of the Chester Designed by Nature programme, there are some exciting new popup events for the whole family to enjoy. On December 4 there will be an afternoon of storytelling and walkabout theatre in the open air at the City Forest Garden (aka Chester Supertrees).
Everyone can enjoy some magical stories performed by award-winning storyteller Ursula Holden Gill and watch the mesmerising Eye of The Newt Theatre Company as they perform The Hare and The Moon – a gentle and warm-hearted walkabout show inspired by the mythology of the moon gazing hare.
And join visual artist Jo Gomez and take part in a lantern-making workshop using recyclable materials (storyhouse.com/event/open-air-storytelling)
Then on December 17, there will be an outdoor event alongside the water edge of the canal at the Grassed Amphitheatre – an amphitheatre that has been created from the natural earth to create steps down to the canal.
This will include Canal Street Day Care Centre choir performing some music and songs inspired by the moon. So wrap up warm, enjoy a hot chocolate, take part in some singing and be enchanted by the Hare and the Moonwalking theatre show performed by Eye of the Newt Theatre.
There will be more to come, so make sure to keep up to date with the Roving Moon and Chester Designed by Nature at visitchester.com/moon
Embrace the Call of the Wild with the Lanterns at Chester Zoo
There’s reason to celebrate this year at Chester Zoo. The beloved Christmas Lanterns are making their welcome return for their 10th year (to December 23), coinciding with the zoo’s 90th anniversary.
Visitors to the lanterns can experience the zoo after hours on a set trail in the dark – taking them through spectacular illuminations and colourful lanterns, encountering enchanting, costumed characters along the way.
This year’s festivities see brand new illuminated characters that shine a light on species that are threatened with extinction such as orangutans, butterflies, caterpillars and wolves.
There will also be a 90th birthday light show, taking visitors on a journey through time as they explore the zoo’s history. The event will support the zoo’s crucial work as a wildlife conservation charity and will help with its recovery following the impacts of the pandemic. chesterzoo.org/events/the-lanterns-at-chester-zoo/
An especially festive production at Storyhouse
The cultural champions at Storyhouse are set to bring audiences a real festive treat with this year’s Christmas production – Oliver Twist! from December 4 to January 16. There promises to be a stage packed with kids, dogs and feelgood songs at this year’s production as audiences experience the tale of the lovable but unfortunate Oliver and the cast of London urchins he finds.
It promises to be a hit, with the show being produced by the team behind last year’s smash A Christmas Carol, which thrived in spite of the pandemic and was unfortunately cut short. It’s definitely high time to experience some heart-warming festive theatre from the team at Storyhouse.
Find Santa in his Enchanted Grotto
This year, up until Christmas Eve, children can embark on a magical journey through a wintry woodland, follow the path to discover Santa’s Grotto and meet with the man himself.
Shop local with the Chester Christmas Market
Making its long-awaited return after last year’s cancellation, Chester Christmas Market is the centrepiece of Chester’s festive calendar.
Visitors can expect some returning favourites as well as exciting new stallholders providing exceptional homemade and artisanal food, drinks, crafts, gifts and much more.
More than half of all stallholders this year are from right here in Cheshire or nearby North Wales, making the market even more exciting with the opportunity to truly shop local. There are many artisans from across Cheshire and the region, such as Josh Johnson Ceramics, who designs and sells pottery, and Roberts Country Fayre, which makes award-winning layered pies.
Other traders include Cheshire-based Dipple Tipple, which sources the best of Britain’s spirits and liqueurs, such as the local Forest Gin from Macclesfield, and the Cheshire Candle Company, selling handmade fragrant candles. Open daily from 10:30am and open late Thursday-Saturday to December 22, this year’s market promises to be extra special in many ways.
Get into the spirit with a festive parade
The festive landscape in Chester is made all the more special with a parade. Chester is renowned for its parades and this year will see the return of some of the very best. December 9 and 16 are the dates for the Winter Watch parade. This historic tradition dates back to the 1400s and is now a spectacle of lights and colourful characters.
On December 16, the Winter Watch parade will coincide with Saturnalia, the celebration that sees Roman soldiers light up the city. Expect weird and wonderful characters, fire-breathing, rambunctious Romans and a lot of lights. Be sure to get your spot to witness these magnificent festive traditions in Chester this year.
Chester, renowned for its exceptional restaurants, is made all the more special with festive menus.
At the elegant La Brasserie at The Chester Grosvenor guests can indulge in a three-course festive dinner menu from their award-winning chefs to December 23. What’s more, there’s extra luxury on offer with sparkling festive afternoon tea served in the stylish Arkle Bar & Lounge throughout December.
The Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa are bringing festive twists to their menus at both Palm Court and Nelson’s Bar, alongside their ever-popular festive afternoon teas.
And at 1539 at the historic Roodee racecourse, the festive season is getting into full swing with a carefully-curated festive menu as well as a superb selection of festive winter cocktails – what could be better than festive dining with panoramic views of the oldest functioning racecourse in the world?
We’ve barely scratched the surface here, so be sure to go to visitchester.com/food-drink to explore more dining in Chester this festive season.
Book your Christmas Staycation
With all the festive action, you may want somewhere for a little rest and relaxation. Many of Chester’s world-class hotels have great deals and packages for the festive season.
The grand Rowton Hall Hotel has a Festive Bed & Breakfast Escape which offers guests an overnight stay, full country-house breakfast as well as mulled wine and festive treats from £99 per room.
For a staycation in the city, ABode, located next to the historic racecourse are offers the Winter in the City package, where guests will receive an overnight stay in the stylish ABode, dinner in Brasserie ABode and a full breakfast, from £129 per room.
And for a great family stay, the new Leonardo Hotel, right in the heart of the city has bed and breakfast for £59 per night Sunday-Thursday – a good option for some Christmas shopping, exploring the city and experiencing Christmas in Chester.
Fo ideas see visitchester.com/stay
With the festive season back in full force in Chester, make sure to book your tickets and get ready for the magical Christmas dreams are made of.
For all the latest Christmas goings-on in Chester go to visitchester.com/christmas