CHESTER city centre is expected to be busy in the build-up to the festive season, with the Christmas Market making its return tonight (Thursday, November 18).

To the relief of motorists, ongoing works around Clockwise Chester have reached a point where Nicholas Street is two lanes on the way towards the junction with Barlounge and Watergate Street again.

It follows recent days where work to replace the central reservation and traffic lighting at that junction forced northbound traffic into just one lane, causing huge congestion stretching back over Grosvenor Bridge and to Overleigh Roundabout and beyond.

But, as of the afternoon of Thursday, November 18, traffic is flowing much more freely in the city centre, although Thursday evenings are expected to get busier in the build-up to Christmas thanks to a host of seasonal events.

Next Thursday sees the return of the Twelve Days of Christmas parade on Thursday, November 25, starting at 7pm.

Organised by Cheshire West and Chester Council in partnership with the Chester BID and Destination Chester, the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ is the first of four parades to return this year.

The parade including community groups and local artists starts from a new location this year on 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 as it passes the Cross, Eastgate Clock, Chester Cathedral and the Town Hall.

During the parade, the Roving Moon, a new installation created by Wild Rumpus, will be unveiled in its first secret location. Following its reveal, the moon-shaped sculpture made from recycled metal and fabric, will move across the city to a different location each week.

Councillor Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The Twelve Days of Christmas is one of the many highlights for this year’s celebrations that started with the opening of the fabulous Christmas Market in Town Hall Square, it will be followed by hundreds of local school children carrying their Lanterns (2 December), The Winter Watch Parade (9 December) and the Roman Saturnalia Parade plus Winter Watch (16 December).

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the parades and activities including the University of Chester, we’ll have over 70 students helping as marshals at the Twelve Days of Christmas and other parades.”

Father Christmas has his own grotto this year in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre.

Chester’s Christmas Market is open until December 22. The Market will be open Sunday to Wednesday, 10.30am-6.30pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10.30am-8pm.

Although not compulsory, in the interests of Covid safety anyone attending Christmas events is encouraged to take a rapid lateral flow test beforehand, wear a face covering – particularly if it is crowded, wash hands regularly and social distance where possible.

Around one in three people have Covid-19 without any symptoms. A lateral flow test is designed to identify these cases and prevent anyone from spreading the virus unknowingly. For information about lateral flow tests and how to access them, visit