We have been using St Mary’s for years now - it is perfect for our needs and the nearby parking is so convenient on performance nights. David Woods, Chairman - Chester Music Society
  • Stacks Image 7232
  • Stacks Image 7234
  • Stacks Image 7236
  • Stacks Image 7239
  • Stacks Image 7241
  • Stacks Image 7243

The Venue

As a former church, St Mary’s “on the hill” is not only a beautiful building on the outside, its equally stunning and impressively spacious interior also offers an extraordinarily atmospheric creative environment, whether for large dynamic groups, or the smaller ensembles who enjoy the focus of its quieter corners. The marvellous acoustic is well-suited to musical and theatrical performances.
  • Stacks Image 7249
  • Stacks Image 7251
  • Stacks Image 7253
  • Stacks Image 7256
  • Stacks Image 7258
  • Stacks Image 7260
  • Stacks Image 7262
  • Stacks Image 7264

Frequently Asked Questions - visitors

A decommissioned church building, St Mary’s (also known as St Mary’s within the walls) is a vibrant community venue with a wide ranging and entertaining mix of arts and cultural events.
St Mary’s is at the top of St Mary’s Hill next to the Cheshire Regiment’s museum and just behind Castle Square (where the Castle, Crown Court and University of Chester’s Riverside building are situated). A former church, it has a distinctive tower
St Mary’s is on the edge of Chester city centre so most car parks are possible. The nearest car parks are Castle Square (only available for public parking in the evening, Monday to Friday, and all weekend) and Little Roodee. Castle Square is free after 3pm and £5 during the day on Saturday and Sunday; Little Roodee is pay and display.
The venue is accessible for wheelchair users and there is a disabled toilet. There is no induction loop.
There is a bar for most performances selling a limited range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks before the show and in the interval. Tea and coffee are often available. You may want to check if there will be a bar when you book tickets. There are a wide range of bars and restaurants in the city centre with those on Bridge Street, Lower Bridge Street, Grosvenor Street and Pepper Street being particularly close.
We are developing a volunteering programme – everything from helping out at performances to gardening. To get involved just sign up here.
For information about events, check out Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Visit Chester website.
If you have any other queries about the building or facilities, just get in touch via our Contact Us page.

History

St Mary
The present church building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, but a previous church on the site was built by the Normans and served Chester castle. Built around 1443, the south chapel was originally owned by the Earl of Shrewsbury, and was damaged in 1645 during the civil war, collapsing in 1661 and being rebuilt in 1693. Later, in order to provide a clear line of fire during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, the upper stage of the tower was demolished by Lord Cholmondeley. In 1861-62 the church was restored by James Harrison, and again by J.P. Seddon in 1890-92, when the north porch was rebuilt in memory of Randle Holme III. In 1930 the aisle roofs were rebuilt. The church was decommissioned in 1972.

For a fuller history, see the original Wikipedia entry HERE.

Or, for a fascinatingly historical description of St Mary’s download this excerpt from Bertram C A Windle’s superb book of 1903 - Chester, A Historical and Topological Account of the City - HERE.
St Marys Chester Exterior Scenes
St Mary’s really is something of a gem, and its precious setting certainly helps it shine. Tucked away in a charming and unexpected area of the city that even many locals have not discovered, walking into St Mary’s Hill is like stepping back a few decades.
Parking Map
Google Maps
Click on our location map to get directions by road, public transport or foot.

This will open the Google Maps app on your mobile device, if installed, or a new browser window.
Getting Here by Road or on Foot
Entering Chester from any direction, look for the brown signs to Chester Castle or the Grosvenor Museum and use our map to locate St Mary’s. The palisade at the University of Chester and Crown Court building entrance and the circular HQ building opposite are distinctive landmarks which should help you find us.
St Mary’s
CH1 2DW
Crown Court
CH1 1SF
Little Roodee
CH1 1SL
Parking
There is ample parking in the large Castle Square car park in front of the Crown Court building Mon to Fri after 3pm; Sat and Sun £5 to park until 3pm, free after 3pm. Alternatively, the Pay & Display at Little Roodee is the closest option (£1.50 after 5pm, £4-5 other times). Once parked, just follow the path through the gap to the left of the Crown Court building and you will see St Mary’s on your right.
Coming by Train
Chester Station is 1 mile away, so around 20 minutes on foot or 9 minutes by bus (every 8 mins using services 1, 3, 3A, 4, X44 or X55 from stop S9).

About Chester

Chester is one of Britain's most historic and visually appealing cities with its famous black and white timbered buildings, winding streets and alleys. The ancient boundary walls, pretty river and esplanade of this compact former market town of Cheshire is brimming with historic sights and excellent shopping. Two thousand year-old Roman artefacts, medieval galleried Rows, Georgian terraces and Victorian splendour are all part of Chester’s charm. A fantastic choice of restaurants, and some fine bars and pubs, offer tempting options for pre- and post-performance food and drink – and there are plenty of hotels, to suit all pockets, for the occasional stop-over or special weekend!
Chester Montage
Introductions