Chester is a great destination for this winter if you’re interested in getting away from the big cities and big Christmas markets. The city is packed with Roman sights like the Roman Amphitheatre, City Walls, Corner Tower and the Roman Gardens. In the city centre is the Town Hall, which is the Chester Christmas Market location.
In this guide, I list all the information you need for planning your visit, including confirmed 2023 dates, opening times and local specialties.
Chester’s city centre is compact, walkable and surrounded by open green spaces. The Christmas market chalets are spread along Northgate Street, but the Christmas decorations continue throughout the city.
Chester Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Chester wraps itself around the Town Hall Square, brimming with roughly 70 chalets, all adorned with twinkling Christmas lights and baubles.
An eye-catching traditional Christmas tree stands proudly at the centre, contributing to the market’s enchanting atmosphere.
You’ll find diverse traders in the square around the Town Hall, the New Arcade and the Forum. Their offerings range from unique, locally made produce to handmade crafts and jewellery. Full details of what to buy are listed further below.
Dates and Location
Chester Christmas Market dates: 17th November to 21st December 2023.
Location: Town Hall Square and Northgate Street.
Opening times: Sunday to Wednesday: 10:30am to 6:30pm. Thursday to Saturday: 10:30am to 8pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 17th November 2023. Full details here.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Great for purchasing small handmade gifts and stocking fillers.
Recommended tour: City cruise on the River Dee.
Specialities: Mulled gin is unique to Chester but traditional mulled wine, spiced rum and hot chocolate are also available. Gingerbread, fudge, pies and cakes are always freshly prepared.
Where to stay: The Coach House Inn is located directly across from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Chester Christmas Market
Most visitors to Chester stay within the Roman City Walls, and I recommend this area for a short stay.
If you want to stay in this area and be near the Christmas market, I suggest staying at the Coach House Inn. From this small hotel, you step out directly at the Christmas markets and sights like Chester Cathedral.
Chester has many highly-rated places to stay. If you need help finding where to go, read my guide to hotels near Chester Christmas Market, designed to make your search easier.
Visit one of the best UK Christmas markets in addition to Chester. Discover where to go, things to do and the best ways to experience British food, history and culture.
Location of Chester Christmas Market
Christmas in Chester
Food at the Christmas Market
Roasted Chestnuts: Traditional to Christmas markets across the globe, roasted chestnuts are a comforting treat. Vendors roast these nuts over an open fire, infusing them with a smoky flavour that is perfect for the winter season.
Chester Pies: Chester is famous for its savoury pies. Vendors at the Christmas market usually have a variety of these pastry delights filled with meats, vegetables, and rich gravy.
Hot Mulled Wine: Ideal for a cold winter’s evening, hot mulled wine is a popular choice. This classic warming drink is a staple of Christmas markets, infused with festive spices like cinnamon, cloves, and orange.
Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: On the more contemporary side, some stalls offer gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Melted to perfection, these sandwiches combine a variety of cheeses with fresh, artisanal bread.
Welsh Rarebit: Given Chester’s close proximity to Wales, it’s not uncommon to find Welsh Rarebit on offer. This dish consists of a savoury cheese sauce, usually containing ale, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, served hot over toast.
Bratwurst Sausages: Reflecting the international flavour of Christmas markets, German-style bratwurst sausages are often available. These are typically served in a bun with a choice of toppings.
Churros with Chocolate Sauce: A sweet treat of Spanish origin, churros are deep-fried dough pastries, usually dusted with sugar and served with a warm chocolate sauce for dipping.
Toffee Apples: A classic treat for the Christmas season, toffee apples combine the crunch of a fresh apple with the sweetness of a hardened sugar coating.
Hot Chocolate: An absolute classic during the festive season, stalls serve mugs of rich hot chocolate. It’s often topped with whipped cream, marshmallows, or a dusting of cocoa for extra indulgence.
Pierogies: These are Polish dumplings that have made their way to many international Christmas markets. They can be stuffed with a variety of fillings, from savoury options like cheese and potatoes to sweet versions filled with fruit.
Chocolate-Dipped Fruit: Treat yourself to some healthier festive snacks. Fresh fruit, such as strawberries and bananas, are often dipped in a smooth, rich chocolate coating, providing a delicious combination of natural sweetness and indulgent chocolate.
Mince Pies: A classic British Christmas treat, these small pies are filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices. They’re typically dusted with icing sugar and often served warm.
Crepes: Originating from France, crepes are thin pancakes that can be filled with a wide range of sweet or savoury toppings. Popular fillings include Nutella, strawberry jam, and even savoury options like ham and cheese.
Gingerbread Cookies: Another favourite, gingerbread cookies are a staple at Christmas markets. They’re often intricately decorated and come in various festive shapes like hearts, stars and the classic gingerbread man.
Christmas Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Handmade Crafts: Talented local artisans populate Chester Christmas Market, presenting an array of handmade crafts. Delve into the stalls, and you’ll find everything from beautiful pottery to bespoke glassware, providing nice presents and pieces of the area’s vibrant craft culture.
Locally Made Produce: Chester region is known for its quality local produce, and its Christmas Market is no exception. Be sure to explore stalls selling artisanal cheese, homemade chutneys and small-batch jams, making your Christmas feast a celebration of local flavours.
Unique Jewellery: Uncover a treasure trove of jewellery stalls, each showcasing an assortment of unique pieces. Whether you’re seeking a delicate silver necklace or a bold statement ring, Chester Christmas Market is the place to find that special accessory.
Chester-Themed Souvenirs: For a truly Chester-specific gift, look out for stalls selling Chester-themed souvenirs. You can expect items like mugs, coasters and calendars featuring the city’s distinctive architecture and landmarks.
Festive Decorations: It’s not Christmas without some festive sparkle. At the Christmas markets, you’ll find stalls laden with an array of traditional Christmas decorations, from twinkling fairy lights to handmade wreaths.
Luxury Skincare Products: A number of stalls at the Chester markets specialise in luxury skincare products. Discover beautifully packaged, natural soaps, balms and bath bombs, which make thoughtful gifts for those who enjoy a pampering session.
Local Artwork: Chester’s vibrant art scene is on full display at the Christmas market. Expect to find a range of artwork from local artists, capturing the city’s charm in various styles and mediums. These unique pieces make ideal gifts for art enthusiasts or as keepsakes of your Chester visit.
Handcrafted Keychains: Look for stalls that feature charming, handcrafted keychains, typically made from a range of materials, including leather and metal. These make for lovely little presents that carry a personal touch.
Artisanal Soap Bars: Small, beautifully scented, artisanal soap bars are popular. They’re not only practical but also often made with natural ingredients and come in a variety of delightful scents.
Decorative Baubles: Ornamental baubles make for perfect festive stocking fillers. These come in a plethora of colours and designs; some even hand-painted with picturesque scenes of Chester.
Miniature Candles: You’ll likely find stalls selling miniature scented candles. Often handmade, these offer a cosy, festive scent that can fill a room, making them a delightful little gift.
Handmade Brooches: Unique, handmade brooches are another excellent stocking filler. With a variety of designs, materials and colours on offer, you’re sure to find one that suits the recipient’s style.
Locally Produced Honey: Small jars of locally produced honey could be a sweet surprise. Besides being delicious, these often come in lovely packaging, adding to their charm.
Chester-Themed Magnets: Magnets featuring Chester’s distinctive landmarks can be a great keepsake and a perfect stocking filler. These items allow you to take a piece of Chester’s charm home with you.
Festive Pins and Badges: Pins and badges with a festive theme are a fun, cheerful stocking filler. These small items can be worn on a coat or bag to add a little Christmas cheer throughout the season.
Visit Cheshire is the region’s official website, where you’ll find information regarding events and the best ways to experience Chester this Christmas. It’s a particularly useful resource for discovering the highlights of the city and region
Sustainable Travel Tips
The choices we make have an environmental and social impact on the places we visit. Try to implement these responsible travel measures when visiting the Christmas markets.
- Shop mindfully. Only purchase what you really need.
- Walk, cycle and use public transport to get around.
- Stay in a sustainable hotel powered by renewable energy.
- Avoid using plastic or buying items made or packaged with plastic.
- Try to eat locally sourced organic food where possible.
- Limit your consumption of meat and dairy.
- Explore more than just the main tourist areas.
- Support the arts and attend local events.
Chester Christmas Market 2023 dates start on 17th November and end on 21st December 2023.
The Christmas markets in Chester are held at Town Hall Square and Northgate Street.
The Christmas markets open at 10:30am daily. Sunday to Wednesday: 10:30am to 6:30pm. Thursday to Saturday: 10:30am to 8pm.
The Christmas markets close at 6:30pm except for Thursdays to Saturdays, when they closes at 8pm. Sunday to Wednesday: 10:30am to 6:30pm. Thursday to Saturday: 10:30am to 8pm.
If you want to leave a review of Chester Xmas Market, feel free to comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Chester, UK. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.