During our stay in Chester we spent some time at the gloriously festive Christmas Market! Chester Chistmas Market is free to enter and is on until 22nd December – so make sure you pop down there soon! It has over 60 traditional wooden chalets in the heart of the city centre right next to the cathedral.
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The stalls sell a variety of unique, locally made produce, handmade crafts, Christmas decorations, jewellery, accessories and stocking fillers. It’s the perfect place to do a little bit of Christmas shopping, or just treat yourself! There’s also plenty of hot food and drink to sample, including tasty mulled wine, spiced cider and hot chocolate – the perfect way to keep warm whilst enjoying the market.
There was plenty of choice of food stalls including sausage, burgers, crepes, cakes, cheese, pies, and much more. On our first afternoon we visited the market at lunch time and I had a stilton beef burger and Gavin had a sausage hot dog – both were cooked fresh so that they were piping hot to warm us up!
It was a very chilly November afternoon when we visited so some hot food was very welcome! We also ordered some spiced cider and mulled wine which really put us in the festive spirit and warmed us up. We sat on a nearby bench and took in the sights of the bustling market, but you can also go and sit inside the bar for some shelter.
We also revisited the market later on in the evening and it looked beautiful all lit up with Christmas lights! We decided to try a crepe from the pancake stall and I ordered a unicorn crepe! It came stuffed full of marshmallows and my choice of chocolate, plenty of squirty cream and topped off with rainbow sprinkles!
It was so yummy – although a little bit messy to eat! I ended up with cream all over my nose! We stopped at the Gin & Ale Bar to eat our crepes inside, and the bar has over 40 gins, prosecco cocktails and local real ales, so is the perfect place to stop for a festive tipple.
As we were so chilly we decided to order a luxury hot chocolate from one of the other stalls. I went for a salted caramel flavour hot chocolate, and Gavin opted for hazelnut! We both had them topped with (yet more!) cream and marshmallows. What a treat.. they were so good! All of the stall holders were so friendly too, they really made us feel welcome.
We had a lovely time visiting the Christmas Market but there’s plenty of other things to see and do nearby too. We visited the Chester Cathedral which is free (donations welcome) and well worth dropping by. It was really interesting to see inside the cathedral and I love how they had decorated the corridors with rows of Christmas trees with twinkly lights which are to be decorated by local schools and businesses.
The Cathedral is a magnificent structure with stunning stained glass windows and dates back to 1092 when it was originally founded. They also have a model version of Chester Cathedral on display which is currently being recreated, brick-by-brick, using LEGO pieces! You can get involved too, as for every £1 donation, you can add one brick to the cathedral and raise money for the Chester Cathedral Education Trust Fund.
Of course, there’s also the beautiful city centre to wander around with plenty to see – Chester really is a city full of historic treasures! You can take a 2 mile walk around the city walls which were built 2000 years ago to protect the city during Roman times. Take the walk and admire the beautiful heritage of Chester.
There’s lots to love about Chester but my favourite thing was probably ‘The Rows’. The Rows combine an eclectic mixture of Medieval, Georgian and Victorian architecture and are truly unique to Chester. They are half-timbered galleries, reached by steps, which form a second row of shops above those at street level.
It’s well worth exploring up the stairs which lead to lots of lovely little shops and bars. Along the nearby streets are also plenty of independent and high street names so that you can enjoy a bit of retail therapy. From the street you can also see The Eastgate Clock – built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and stands proudly in the Chester city centre.
Chester’s mix of heritage, shopping and restaurants make the city the perfect place to visit all year round, but is especially magical at Christmas time! There’s so much to see and I’m very keen to return again soon to see more of the city – two days wasn’t quite enough!
Chester Christmas Market is open seven days a week and is located in the city’s Town Hall Square opposite Chester Cathedral. It’s open from 10am-6pm Monday-Wednesday, 10am-8pm on Thursday-Saturday and 10am-6pm on Sundays.