Things to do in Chester
Located on near the border between England and north Wales, Chester is a city steeped in history, and whose Roman and Medieval roots remain visible today. It’s also an extremely attractive place in its own right, with a wide selection of shops and plenty of things to see and do. Last updated: May 2014.
Five special things to do in Chester
1. Walk the walls
Originally built by the Romans, the walls encircling the town have been in use ever since. You can walk almost a full circuit, with a range of start and end points (the easiest access to find is via the steps underneath the town’s clock tower). There are also guided wall walks to make sure that you don’t miss any of the historic architecture (click here for details).
2. Loaf by the river
A summer’s day in Chester is beautiful if you spend it by the river.Start off from the Little Roodee car park or walk through Grosvenor Park, and you’ll find a riverside walk, lots of benches and plenty of ducks.
3. Explore the Rows
Originally Medieval but rebuilt in many places by the Victorians, the Rows are timbered galleries in the heart of the town.They form a second level of shops and restaurants above the street, and are where you’ll find some of the city’s most interesting independent shops.
4. Go back to Roman times
Explore the city’s Roman origins with a guided tour of all the main Roman sites.Ideal for families, the tour is lead by a centurion and gives you plenty of facts and figures about Chester’s Roman heritage. Click here to find out more.
5. Have a day at the races
Chester Racecourse is one of England’s oldest horse racing circuits, but remains popular today. There is a selection of restaurants and, of course, the chance to get dressed up on Ladies’ Day.
Recommended restaurants, cafes and pubs in Chester
Duttons has a great location in Godstall Lane, an attractive passageway that runs from the Cathedral to Eastgate Street. There are outside tables for when the weather is nice, and a relaxed, classic ambience inside. The menu offers a wide range of affordable, modern British food and is a great location for lunch.
Oddfellows is an eclectic, upmarket restaurant, hotel and bar. The décor is elegant yet quirky, the cocktails and food are great and it’s definitely a place in which to be seen. We like the Secret Garden, an outside space for drinks or dinner which is (mostly) protected from the weather and magical in the evenings.
The Boot Inn is a Samuel Smiths pub located in the Rows. A small space closely associated with the brewery, it has plenty of character and is a good place to go for a great pint.
The Lock Keeper pub is down by the canal and has a fabulous, large outdoor terrace for sunny afternoons and summer nights. We also like the Old Harkers Arms, further down the towpath, although it can be hard to find a seat there at busy periods.
The Rows Café is an open-air space (with a few interior seats) that’s perfect for watching the hustle and bustle on the street below. It’s a great place for a quick, simple lunch or breakfast. The menu includes a good selection of coffee and proper mugs of tea.
The Mad Hatters Tearoom is open all day but is a particularly an appealing place for afternoon tea. In addition to the homemade cake, the tearooms also hosts events such as knitting circles and poetry groups.
Recommended Chester hotels
The Chester Grosvenor is Chester’s best-known, most classic hotel. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed, with plenty of amenities. Staying there feels quite special.
Oddfellows (mentioned above) is the funky young alternative to the Grosvenor, who recently bought the property. The stylish rooms have been recently refurbished, complete with Nespresso machines and Roberts radios.It’s our favourite place to stay in Chester.
The Commercial Hotel is located in a quiet courtyard in the centre of the Rows. While essentially you’re staying in a pub, it has boutique-style accommodation and a well-decorated series of rooms in the bar downstairs. The hotel also has an interesting selection of continental beer.