CROWDS packed Chester city centre last night to see the Christmas lights being switched on.

The popular ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’-themed parade once again delighted children and adults alike, with Santa and four elves taking to the city’s streets.

The festive event is organised by Chester’s Business Improvement District, CH1ChesterBID, in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC).

Starring a range of community groups and local artists, the parade started on Princess Street before heading past the Town Hall towards St Werburgh Street, Chester Cathedral and down to Eastgate Street, Bridge Street and around the city centre.

Chester’s much-loved brass band led the procession, performing a selection of Christmas classics while Chester’s Christmas elves ChELFie and ELFie spread festive cheer and helped children spot Santa’s sleigh, which was hiding on rooftops throughout the event.

The city also welcomed back the festive ‘CheSTAR’, a giant sparkling Christmas star, which made its debut in the city centre last year.

The 25ft star stands in the grounds of Chester Cathedral on St Werburgh Street and is made up of almost 19,000 twinkling lights.

Judy Tagell, marketing manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “The annual Christmas parade is a highly-anticipated event in the Christmas calendar for many local residents and visitors to the city.

“It signals the start of the holiday season and it’s the perfect opportunity to get some Christmas shopping underway nice and early with stores across the city centre open until 8pm.”

Cllr Louise Gittins, CWaC deputy leader and cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, added: “Christmas in Chester certainly is magical.

“The beauty and history of the city effortlessly lends it to the festive decorations and truly makes it feel like a winter wonderland.

”The parade is only the beginning of an entire calendar of festive activities taking place in the city centre this year and for us, really does kick start the most wonderful time of the year.”

Chester's Christmas Market is now open from 11am at the Town Hall Square until December 20.

It will be open 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday, with late night shopping on Thursdays until 8pm and until 7pm on Friday and Saturday.

For more information about all the events and activities taking place this Christmas, visit or follow @CH1Chester on Twitter.

Pictures by Simon Warburton