A Local’s Guide to Chester

Chester High Cross

Chester High Cross ©pandrcutts/Flickr

The city of Chester, located in the county of Cheshire in the North West of England, is a city filled with beauty and history. Established as a Roman fort, or castrum, in the year 79, a city has sat here along the banks of the Dee River ever since. Only about an hours’ drive from both Manchester and Liverpool, and mere miles from the border of Wales, Chester makes a great centre from which to explore the northern parts of both England and Wales.

What to See

Chester’s long history makes it an ideal holiday destination for history hounds. The cities Roman past is hard to miss, the mainly pedestriansed centre is surrounded by ancient Roman Walls – the most complete in Britain as a matter of fact. You can take a lovely stroll along the top of the walls, a route which will take you no longer than an hour including stops to read the historical interpretation provided along the way. There is really no better way to see the city.

Chester High Cross

Chester High Cross ©pandrcutts/Flickr

Along the city wall walk you will come up a number of other great Chester sights, including the beautiful River Dee where you can take a boat ride, Chester Castle, and the Dee Racecourse. The Roman Amphitheatre is not to be missed; it’s the largest to be found in Britain, and hosts and number of events in the summer.

If you’re looking for something a little more modern you can visit the grand Chester Cathedral, which really is at the heart of the community. You can take an audio tour through the cathedral and central gardens and then finish in the lovely Rectory Cafe with a coffee and scone.

The city has also been a market centre for centuries, a tradition which continues today. All along the picturesque ‘Rows’ you’ll find a variety of local and high street shops selling everything from clothing, shoes, and jewellery, to perfume, skateboards, and spirits. It really is a shoppers dream.

Where to Eat

No matter what your taste of budget you’ll find something to suit in Chester. The city is filled with quaint cafes and sandwich shops from which you can grab a snack to enjoy in the Grosvenor Park or along the banks of the River Dee.

Chester Clock

Chester Clock ©wjmarnoch/Flickr

For a picturesque dinner spot along the banks of the river head to Hickory’s Smokehouse and enjoy their authentic American barbeque – you can smell the smoke in the air before you even see the restaurant. Another popular riverside restaurant is The Red House. Located just outside of the city centre this restaurant has one of the best patio areas in the city and offers unparalleled views across the river and city.

If you’re looking for some lighter fare for lunch there are two great cafes loved by local’s right in the city centre. The Rows Cafe is set above bustling Northgate Street and serves a delicious selection of sandwiches and jacket potatoes, along with scrumptious scones and desserts. The Gallery Cafe is a second option, offering freshly made food and excellent coffee in a relaxed, family friendly atmosphere.

Where to Stay

There are no shortage of accommodation options in the city of Chester and the surrounding area. For a little bit of luxury you could consider staying at the Grosvenor Hotel, by far the most elegant hotel in the city. It has hosted royalty and celebrities since its opening in 1929, and today this city centre hotel is the ultimate in holiday indulgence.

Chester Cathedral

Chester Cathedral ©Friar's Balsam/Flickr

If you’re looking for something a little less expensive you might enjoy staying in a Chester self catering holiday cottage. The holiday cottage option is great for families, giving you a lot more space than a hotel room, and offering you the opportunity to prepare your own meals. Whether you would prefer to stay right in the city centre or in one of the quaint villages that surround Chester there is sure to be a cottage to suit you.

A trip to Chester is great whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway for two or a family summer holiday. The city centre is compact and virtually car free so it’s easy to get around. Rent a car and take a day trip further afield and explore the beauty of North Wales or hop on the train and in 45 minutes you’ll be in Liverpool! There’s a little something for everyone in Chester.

 

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