Event Info

The Chester Raft Race is on Sunday July 3rd starting at 10am with music at the Groves (Map) and rafts launching from 10:30am at the Meadows (Map).

Our event is a prestigious charity event that has been at the heart of Chester since the 1970’s. The event has raised over £500,000 for local causes during this time and this year we will be supporting the Countess Of Chester Hospital Blue Skies Balcony Appeal.

Thank you to our Event Sponsor Salt Town Contractors Ltd, your support has enabled us to bring this event back from it’s Covid enforced hiatus.

The theme for the rafts this year is 100 Years of British Television.


A Great Day Out!

There’s loads going on across two sites, starting at 10am.

At The Groves

Viewing from the riverside

  • Bandstand
  • Choir
  • Permanent Seating
  • Public Toilets
  • Food Stalls available
  • Race Commentary
  • Suspension Bridge
  • PA Commentary

At the Meadows

Parking, race start, activities throughout the day

  • Parking
  • Hospitality Tents
  • Raft Launch & Return
  • Family Entertainments
  • Face painting
  • Cocktail Bar
  • Ale & Cider Bar
  • Food Outlets
  • Ice Cream Van
  • First Aid
  • Toilets

Countdown to the race!








What’s On


All times subject to change, keep an ear out for announcements on the day!

9am: Car Park Opens / Event Tent Opens

Rafts need to be at the meadows before 10am ready for scrutineering at the race start. There is limited parking available in the Meadows (donations to charity on the gate)

More about Parking & Travel Arrangements

10am: Choir at the Chester Bandstand

Entertainment at the Bandstand on the Groves from 10am.

10.30am: Race Starts!

The first rafts will launch from the Meadows and make their way towards the finish line near the Bandstand. Competitors will launch in waves and make their timed runs.

12.30pm: Raft Race Finishes

By 12.30 the final raft should have made it to the finish line and we’ll know who our champions will be…

1pm: Raft Race Trophy Presentations

The Trophy Presentation will take place at: TBC

1.30pm: After Party on the Meadows

The stands and attractions at the Meadows, including family entertainments, face painting, cocktail bar, ale & cider bar, food outlets and ice creams, will stay open after the race has finished, so come over and check it out.

4pm: Meadows to Close

We have to completely vacate the Meadows by 4pm.

Getting Here

Wherever possible, we advise travelling by public transport – car parking on site is limited, and the surrounding roads are likely to be busy.

Arriving by Car

We recommend arriving from the south of the City via Wrexham Road from the A483 or the A55 if heading to the Meadows or alternatively from the East of the City on the A51 or the A5115.

Rafts need to be at the meadows before 10am ready for scrutineering at the race start.


We have limited Parking on the meadows in lieu of a donation at entry. The entrance to the Meadows parking can be found on the gated corner of Lower Park Road, Chester, CH4 7BB and Elizabeth Crescent, Chester, CH4 7AZ. This entrance is on the Handbridge side of the river, please be respectful of the local residents when passing through or parking here. Due to parking on even terrain it is regrettably not possible to guarantee the site is blue badge friendly.


There is is limited parking at the Groves with a small blue badge parking area. Other nearby car parks can be found here – Nearby Car Parks

City Centre

We advise participants and spectators to leave with plenty of time as traffic can be very busy in the city centre

Arriving by Public Transport

Chester Park & Ride

There are 3 P&R routes currently running around Chester with Upton (PR3) in the North, Boughton Heath (PR2) to the East and Wrexham Road (PR1) to the South. PR1 stops at Pepper Street (4 minute walk to the Groves) and PR2&3 both stop at Foregate Street ( 7 minute walk). The P&R Buses run every 15 minutes in the city. Prices are £2 return for adults and an adult can take up to 3 children with them for FREE! All details can be found on the CWaC website


There are several buses that can be taken to the Chester City Centre, we advise any that stop on Pepper Street or St Georges Crescent in Handbridge. See the CWaC website for more details.


Trains run regularly to Chester Station which is about 15 minutes walk from the Groves. See the Trainline website for more details




Support Chester Raft Race

The Blue Skies Balcony appeal is to build an outdoor garden balcony on our Intensive Care Unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital, so that poorly patients can benefit from the outdoors in a safe and infection-controlled environment. Chester Round Table are proud to support this great cause through the Chester Raft Race.