Bookings have opened for almost 100 free events at the first Chester Festival of Ideas.

The event, set to be a four-day summer highlight, is organised by the University of Chester and its partners.

It will be held from July 4 to July 7 in and around Chester, involving a diverse, inclusive and accessible programme of events.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, an actress, presenter, broadcaster, writer, campaigner and parliamentarian, will be among the guests presenting free public talks.

Katherine Wilson, associate professor of Later Medieval European History at the University of Chester, who is leading the festival preparations, said: “From insights shared by well-known figures nationally to events looking at animal psychology, to tips on upcycling and exploring the fascination with ghosts, to opportunities for play and family activities, there are options for all at the first-ever Festival of Ideas.

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“We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and input we’ve received for the Festival - thank you to all who are part of the programme and its planning, and we look forward to welcoming everyone in July.”

Various activities are set to take place, including discussion panels, theatre, pop-up exhibitions, interactive activities, music, readings, guided walks and more.

Historian, writer, broadcaster, presenter and filmmaker, Professor David Olusoga, and GP and menopause specialist, Dr Louise Newson, will also feature among the speakers.

Dr Gyles Brandreth, chancellor of the University of Chester, will speak on the topic of 'The Idea of Happiness - And How to Achieve It'.

Pulitzer-nominated journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who exposed the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, will focus on ‘AI and Democracy’.

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A variety of other educational sessions are set to be held at Chester Cathedral, Grosvenor Museum and other venues around the city, with Chester Town Hall primarily serving as the hub for the festival.

Councillor Lisa Denson of Cheshire West and Chester Council, and Cabinet Member for A Fairer Future, said: "The Chester Festival of Ideas is being held over four packed days meaning yet again our city will be the centre of attention.

"Celebrating the rich history and heritage, the Council is delighted to join forces with the University welcoming festival visitors to Chester Town Hall, the Grosvenor Museum, City Walls and Chester itself."

To book places, fill in the RSVP boxes at the end of the chosen event web pages.

For more information, go to