Chester, a historic city in northwest England, is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, Roman walls, and charming riverside setting. It is also the capital city of Cheshire, the county my husband was born in so it seems daft I have never visited before! We went recently as guests of the Hotel Indigo Chester and so I finally had the opportunity to explore. Various school trips over the years all came flooding back to Bruce who was the perfect tour guide.
So here are thirteen things you can do in Chester, whether you are there for the day, a weekend or even longer.
This stunning Gothic cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in Chester. You can It took almost 300 years to build so its well worth wandering around outside it to truly take it all in before heading inside. If you feel up to doing the 213 steps up and down you can climb the tower and take in the stunning views across the city. Its also possible to do a guided tour of the cathedral, or wander around at your own pace. As with all things, it is best to book beforehand.
Explore The Rows
These are a unique feature of Chester, with two levels of shops, galleries, and restaurants. They provide a distinctive shopping experience in a historic setting, they’re the perfect place to wander, mooch in the independent shops and stop for a coffee. It is pedestrianised too so it lends itself to slowing down for an hour and just taking it easy (something we could probably do with a bit more).
Discover Roman Chester
Chester boasts some of the best-preserved evidence of Roman Britain. Head to the Eastgate Clock, you cant miss it, and then wander along the Roman Walls which will take you up to the Roman Gardens. All of which are must dos when you are in the city.
There’s a small staircase at the base of the Clock that leads up to the walk way above and from there follow your nose, you can’t really get lost! After Big Ben the Eastgate Clock is the most photographed clock in Britain so it’s an unwritten law that you cannot come to Chester without taking your own photograph. You should also stroll down to the Roman Amphitheatre, the largest in Britain.
Take a River Cruise
Enjoy a leisurely cruise along the River Dee, where you can relax and take in the scenic views of the city and surrounding countryside. Chester Boat operate half hour cruises, or longer two hour cruises Iron Bridge cruises operate over the summer.
Visit Grosvenor Museum
This museum offers a fascinating look into the history of Chester, including Roman artifacts, fine art, and local history exhibitions.
This beautiful Victorian park offers a tranquil escape from the city with well-maintained gardens, a river, and a miniature railway.
Shopping and Dining
Beyond the Rows Chester offers a wide range of shops, from high-street brands to independent boutiques. The city also has a vibrant dining scene, with many restaurants and cafes offering a variety of cuisines. We had a magnificent dinner at the Forge which is attached to the Hotel Indigo Chester where we were staying but there are lots of other wonderful restaurants to visit too, including a great little Italian called Piccolino. Which incidentally was the first place in Chester to have a Prosecco bar.
If you’re interested in a bit of spooky history, consider taking a guided ghost tour of the city. It’s a fun way to learn about Chester’s darker past given that there are almost 2000 years of history. It does without saying that there might be the odd ghost floating about!
Cheshire Military Museum
Located within the historic castle, this museum delves into the military history of Cheshire, showcasing artifacts and exhibits from various conflicts.
If you’re interested in horse racing, Chester Racecourse is one of the oldest in the world and hosts various race meetings throughout the year so is well worth a visit if a day at the races is your thing!
Visit Chester Zoo
Just outside the city centre is Chester Zoo, one of the largest and most popular zoos in the UK, . It is home to a wide variety of animals from around the world sitting in 128 acres. They are also a conservation and education charity committed to preventing extinction so your visit will directly aid that really important work.