Chester Festival of Romance

The Chester Festival of Romance ran for two years 2004-2005 from the 4th – 14th February until funding from the NWDA dried up. It included St Valentine’s Day on the 14th and extended the ‘celebrations’ to ten days. It was held at an off peak season bringing together accommodation operators, restaurateurs, retailers and suppliers in and around Chester and the region.


The Festival celebrated all that is great about love with a host of events that makes Chester the most romantic city to be in February in particular.


Highlights of over 80 events which took place included cinema nights, canal cruises, Roman-tic Walks round the City Walls in aid of the British Heart Foundation, speed dating, Romance Tours, supermarket singles nights, The Shell Valentine Card Exhibition, competitions for the whole family and the opportunity to renew wedding vows at a unique blessing in Chester Cathedral, one of the largest wedding blessing service in the World. These special events and much more were coupled with Festival hotel, restaurant and venue packages throughout the City.


All events and activities were publicised by the Festival organisers (Marketing PRojects and White Events) in a brochure, flyers, radio and local press adverts and with TV, radio and press coverage.


Objectives for the Festival were:

  • To provide off peak tourism business in and around Chester. Philip Martin of the Green Bough Hotel, Hoole Road. “We definitely got more business through the doors.”
  • To build on Chester’s distinctive features to position the area as a fun and romantic place to visit. Part of an article read, “Cheshire’s reputation as the country’s wedding capital has been boosted by the Chester Festival of Romance…” a clear indication that a Festival of this sort serves to increase the attitude towards Chester and Cheshire being a romantic place to visit. Cheshire Life compared Chester favourably with Paris.


Articles in Hotline magazine, Private Eye and coverage by both TV channels centred on Chester’s claim (fuelled by the organisers) to be becoming the most romantic City in England, rivalling Paris and Venice. This claim was explored and looked upon positively in all mentions, as not unreasonable.


Facts & figures:                                                        2005                               2004

No. Events initiated for the Festival:                  8                                      9

Press cuttings:                                                         71                                      35

No. events:                                                              82                                    87

No. businesses contacted:                        2,600                                         1,800

No. participants at events:                      3,800                                         3,500

No. observing events:                             10,000                                         9,000

No. aware of the Festival:                       335,000*                                 167,000

* this equates to 5% of the N West’s 6.7 million people.


The Festival also cements Chester’s reputation as City of events and festivals. Combined with other events in the City’s calendar, the Festival of Romance filled a vital void in the year’s event programme.