Countdown to Christmas: full list of festive events

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Chester’s Christmas Market opens on Friday 18 November. The ever-popular market will be back in Town Hall Square and to ensure a festive feel, the Christmas lights will be on across the city centre. 

The Christmas Market will be open Sunday to Wednesday 10.30am to 6.30pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10.30am to 8pm.

Chester’s new indoor Market is now open and another new attraction this year is a weekend Makers Market being held in the new Exchange Square at Northgate from 19 November until 18 December. Exchange Square is expected to be the number one selfie spot, with a new Christmas decoration bringing a sparkle to the square.

Also new this year is the Rows Christmas Bazaar running on Thursday’s and weekends during November and December. There is a programme of activities, part of the Heritage Action Zone Project, supported by Visit Chester and Cheshire. The activities will include Christmas carols, crafts, face painting and storytelling.

In the lead up to Christmas there will be a host of parades and activities:

The key dates for the diary        

  • Christmas Market – Friday 18 November to Wednesday 22 December
  • Makers Market – each weekend from 19 November to 18 December
  • The Rows Christmas Bazaar – from 19 November to 18 December
  • Twelve Days of Christmas Parade – Thursday 24 November at 7pm
  • Santa’s Grotto – 25 November until 24 December
  • Christmas Past at Chester Castle – 26 November 11am to 4pm and 5pm to 7pm
  • Lantern Parade – Wednesday 30 November at 7pm
  • Winter Watch Parade – Thursday 8 December at 7pm
  • Saturnalia Parade plus Second Winter Watch Parade – Thursday 15 December 6.30pm

The Twelve Days of Christmas parade on Thursday 24 November starts on Bridge Street at 7pm. Organised by Cheshire West and Chester Council the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ is the first of four parades to return this year.

Community groups and local artists will parade through the city centre from Bridge Street, travelling towards the Cross, Eastgate Street, St Werburgh Street, past the Town Hall and ending in Watergate Street.

Father Christmas will greet the parade with pyrotechnics at key locations, at the Cross, Eastgate Clock, Chester Cathedral, and the Town Hall.

Don’t worry if you only catch a brief glimpse of Father Christmas during the Christmas parade, he is returning to his own grotto in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre from 25 November until 24 December (details on the Chester BID website).

Chester Park and Ride is running late night services over Christmas, the last bus from Foregate Street will be 9pm on Thursdays from 17 November and then each night during Christmas week 19 to 23 December up to 9pm, the last Park and Ride bus on 24 December is 6pm.

For details about Christmas events in Chester visit: https://www.visitcheshire.com/chester/christmas/christmas-in-chester

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