Chester is a city in the northwest of the UK and a great location for a special weekend away. Chester is a vibrant, modern city that’s recently been heavily invested in as part of an ongoing regeneration plan. With new restaurants, bars and cafes providing an abundance of exciting fresh places to try, you will need some serious dedication if you’re going to attempt to try them all! But despite this new ‘up and coming’ vibe, Chester’s rich heritage has not been lost. The city is famous for the extensive Roman history on which it was founded, and there are plenty of archaeological treasures to discover. Visitors to the city are able to experience a perfect balance between the old and new.
So, what’s on in Chester? I’ve put together a list of eight must-see things – and I challenge you to tick as many off your list as possible when you next visit!
1. Discover the rich history of Chester
The history of Chester seems the most appropriate place to begin. As you walk around Chester on foot, you will notice evidence of the impact the Romans had at every turn. Here are just a couple of the cultural sites I would recommend trying to fit in:
- The Rows – a unique feature of Chester providing covered walkways to entrances of first floor shops along the main streets in the city centre. Architecturally they are stunning, and a good excuse to do some shopping!
- Ancient City Walls – the city walls stretch for 2 miles in total and provide a circular route around the city. It’s a lovely relaxing walk with spectacular views of Chester, including the river and gardens.
- Chester Roman Amphitheatre– the Amphitheatre can also be seen from the walls, and is the largest so far uncovered in Britain.
- Eastgate Clock – it is said to be the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben, and is easy to see why. Make sure you’re one of the people with that photo!
2. Indulge with a quirky afternoon tea
After all the walking around, no doubt you will be feeling peckish. What better way to revive your energy than with a typical English tradition – the afternoon tea. Mad Hatters Tearoom is my favourite place to enjoy some tea, sandwiches and cake with friends. Tucked away on the rows on Bridge Street, it offers the traditional English tearoom experience with a touch of Mad Hatter’s tea party from Alice in Wonderland. Tea is served in mis-matched, quirky crockery and the delicate cupcakes are truly scrumptious!
3. Try your luck at a day at the races
Chester Races is a local favourite and is a great day out if you fancy getting glammed up, having a few glasses of Champagne or Pimms and putting on a few bets (optional!). The atmosphere is electric and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and drama of the day.You can get all the information you need on the Chester Races homepage.
4. Chill out in Grosvenor Park
If it’s a more chilled out atmosphere you are looking for, and the weather is on your side, Grosvenor Park offers complete tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s also close to the Roman Gardens and the River Dee, so there is plenty going on if you have a couple of hours to spare. Some of the more cultural of what’s on in Chester happens here too – it’s home to various local events, including the Summer Music Festival, ‘Art In The Park’, and the annual prize-giving show for ‘Chester In Bloom’.
5. Walk along the River Dee
The River Dee is another peaceful part of the city. Take a walk along the river front and instantly feel relaxed with the calming flow of the water. There’s some small cafes along the river serving breakfasts, snacks and drinks. The Moorings does an incredible breakfast! There’s also plenty of benches available along the front if you prefer to sit with a book or people watch with an ice cream.
6. Experience live theatre at Storyhouse
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a live show, and becoming immersed in a story being told through the passion actors have for the characters they are depicting. Storyhouse only opened this past year and has already established itself as the ‘go-to’ arts venue within Chester. So whether your performance of choice is a comedy, opera, musical or Shakespeare, you will be sure to find something on to enjoy. During the summer months, some of the shows are also performed outside in the Open Air Theatre. I’ve seen Shakespeare’s ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ and ‘As You Like It’ in recent years, and both performances were exceptional. You’re also allowed to take a picnic, including alcohol, to enjoy – listen out for all the Prosecco corks popping before the show begins! Get all the show times at their website here.
7. Enjoy an evening cocktail at a secret bar…
…as long as you can find it! I’d heard rumours about a secret bar in Chester and decided to try and find it. With trepidation, I walked up to what looked like a normal door to a flat. There was a bell on the door, which I pressed, and then another door to the side opened up and I was invited in to an 1920s style bar/living room. The drink menus were delivered within old literary classics, such as David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, which was a nice touch. To keep the intrigue and mystery, all I’ll say is that the bar can be found at the bottom of Watergate Street, and the cocktails are not to be missed!
8. Indulge in Chester’s finest wine tasting
If you enjoy a glass of wine or two, this one is for you! Corks Out offers a unique opportunity where you can sample a variety of red and white wines, both new world and old world, by helping yourself from wine cabinets. Simply top up a Corks Out card with money, slot it into a wine cabinet and then choose whether you want a small sample, large sample or glass. All prices are shown individually and the amount will be deducted from your card. Easy! You can get all the details at the Corks Out website.
As you can see there is plenty going on in Chester, both historical and contemporary, and you’ll probably want to come back again soon to fit everything in!