IF you're looking to get into the Christmas spirit in the coming weeks, here are a handful of festive features that you'll want to check out across Cheshire West.

With the big day just over five weeks away, restaurants, shops, cinemas and more will have plenty to entice visitors with including festive films, mouthwatering menus, and dazzling outdoor displays.

There's plenty to see and do across the region as we draw ever closer to December 25.

Chester and District Standard: Chester Christmas Market

Christmas food

One thing which many love about this time of year is the delicious, warming comfort food that is a staple of those long winter evenings.

But, if a roast dinner isn't your thing, there's still plenty of luxurious Christmas dishes to try at these restaurants.

The award-winning Botanist on St Werburgh Street is offering two and three course dining menus, with a glass of prosecco or non-alcoholic alternative for £27.95 or £34.95, respectively.

For those who enjoy a twist on a classic, they may wish to try the Turkey Kebab, but traditionalists can still enjoy orange and cranberry glazed turkey, ham, stuffing balls and pigs-in-blankets on a skewer, with traditional trimmings of roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts and glazed carrots, complete with a rich gravy to pour over.

Those looking for classic plates can enjoy starters such as chicken liver and brandy pate with spiced red onion marmalade or butternut squash soup with crispy sage and saffron aioli, both served with toasted sourdough.

Main courses include grilled seabass on a romesco sauce with roasted new potatoes, tomatoes and chicory leaves and ribeye steak with wild mushroom stroganoff sauce, watercress and chunky chips.

If you have a sweet tooth, you could also try the 'cookie dough pie' with Biscoff sauce and vanilla ice-cream. The Botanist will also have live music throughout the festive season to help get the party underway. More information, and the full menu is available on The Botanist's website.

Chester and District Standard: Upstairs at the Grill has plenty of Christmas dishes.Upstairs at the Grill has plenty of Christmas dishes. (Image: Upstairs at the Grill)

High-end steakhouse Uptairs at the Grill also has a host of special offerings on its limited time Christmas Lunch Menu.

Guests can dine in the warmth of the inviting dining room or on the terrace complete with an open fireplace and views over the city’s historic walls with groups of 7 - 8 able to enjoy the intimate setting of the private dining room.

Available from Monday, November 27 until Christmas Eve, the lunch menu will run Monday to Saturday 12pm - 5pm and is available as two courses (£32.50) or three courses (£37.50).

Starters feature cosy classics such as ‘the Grills’ signature French onion soup with Cheddar Gorge ‘cave-aged’ cheese & sourdough croutons alongside indulgent tempura oysters with Champagne vinegar & caviar espuma.

Main courses include the bird of the season in the form of a Roast Turkey Ballotine served with cranberry & fig stuffing, beef fat roast potatoes, Brussel sprouts with bacon jam, spiced red cabbage, Marmite glazed parsnips & red wine sauce.

A selection of premium steaks are available for a supplementary fee including the show stopping 10oz South American dry aged grain-fed ribeye served with American fries and pepper sauce.

Desserts feature the timeless winter warmer, homemade sticky toffee pudding with a Miso butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean ice cream.

For more on 'the Grills' menu you can visit the website, or call 01244 344883 to book.

Festive features

Ah the Christmas film, everyone has their favourite, from It's a Wonderful Life to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. One thing we can all agree on however, is that Die Hard is definitely a Christmas film.

And that is why it features in both the Storyhouse and the new Picturehouse cinema's festive schedules.

Chester and District Standard: You can see your favourite Christmas films at Storyhouse.You can see your favourite Christmas films at Storyhouse. (Image: Storyhouse.)

Storyhouse' Festive Film Favourites series will feature How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Polar Express and Arthur Christmas followed by free arts and crafts in Storyhouse library each weekend throughout December.

It's a Wonderful Life, Die Hard and Home Alone , will feature among the centre's Christmas Flicks series from December 17 to 19, and are accompanied by delectable festive food prepared by Storyhouse's talented chefs.

There is a host of activities and events in the Storyhouse calendar over Christmas, such as sing alongs, craft sessions and even a murder mystery night if the films don't take your fancy.

The newly opened Picturehouse cinema also has plenty of Christmas screenings coming up, including the likes of: The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Muppets Christmas Carol, Die Hard and Home Alone.

Head to the Picturehouse website for more information or to book your favourite.

Dazzling displays

One benefit of it being dark by around 5pm every evening is that it does mean that its much easier to appreciate the sparkling decorations and twinkling lights which are a mainstay of many a winter walk.

As we go about our days shopping for presents or simply striding out for some evening exercise, these ornate displays can help to make the evenings just a little less cold.

Hoole is set to switch on its Christmas lights from this evening (Saturday, November 18), with Ellesmere Port set to do likewise on December 1.

Chester and District Standard: The lanterns at Chester Zoo are always a firm favourite.The lanterns at Chester Zoo are always a firm favourite. (Image: Matthew Dougherty)

Chester's stunning Christmas Market will be open seven days a week throughout the festive period - Sunday to Wednesday 10.30am to 6.30pm and Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10.30am to 8pm.

A Lantern Parade will also take place from Town Hall Square on Thursday, November 30 at 7pm.

If you take a trip to Cheshire Oaks this winter, you'll also be able to enjoy the Winter Village. You can break up an afternoon of present-gathering by booking one of the picturesque Christmas huts. Traditional German bratwurst is available from the swing grill or grab a mulled wine and marvel at the tallest Christmas tree in Northern England.

There will also be the return of the popular Big Wheel and Santa in the Sky experiences, giving you and your children the chance to soar over a winter wonderland. More information on these events and booking options can be found on the Cheshire Oaks website.

An equally well-loved event which returns this winter is the Chester Zoo Lanterns and Light walk, with captivating light installations depicting a plethora of enchanting animals. From orangutans, lions dolphins and even woolly mammoths.

The trail takes visitors along a sparkling light trail through the grounds of the Zoo with illuminated versions of the favourite creatures, a tunnel of lights and the chance to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas in his sleigh. For further info visit the Chester Zoo website.

For information on these events and plenty more taking place across Cheshire West, you can take a look at our What's On page.