Chester’s Winter Watch Parades return on Thursday, December 7 and 14 starting from Chester Town Hall Square at 7pm.

The Winter Watch parade is inspired by ‘Setting the Watch’ a ceremony held at Christmas in the 1400’s when Chester’s early police force ‘the City Watch’ were handed the keys of the city after processing around Chester to ensure it was secure. This was followed by a banquet and celebration of Christmas by the city leaders.

Today’s version brings back the City Watch, joined by a cast of angels, devils, fire skeletons, dragons and cooks with their Victorian Christmas dinner.

The light-hearted parades led by Karamba Samba as the ‘ghost band’ take over the city streets with sword fights and music.

The parade starts at the Christmas Market in Town Hall Square, passes Chester Cathedral on St Werburgh Street, turns right into Eastgate Street, Bridge Street, then returns to the Cross and back to the Town Hall Square via Northgate Street.

Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: “Chester’s popular parades are steeped in history and unique to our city, taking elements of the city’s past, starting with the Romans (Saturnalia) and jumping forward to the 1400’s (Midsummer Watch and Winter Watch).

“The Winter Watch includes some characters from the Midsummer Watch parade who are joined by magical and festive characters including Ice Queens and Jack Frost.”

There is a second opportunity to watch the parade as it returns on December 14 to present a double bill with Chester’s Roman Legion for their torch lit Saturnalia parade.

Park and Ride buses are running up to 9pm on every late night shopping Thursday, with the last bus at around 9pm instead of 7pm. For the whole of the last shopping week before Christmas, Monday, December 18, until Friday, December 22, the last bus will also be approximately 9pm.