Exploring Chester, Cheshire
The Best Places to Visit and What to Do
It is such an interesting place and each time we go we find out a little more about Roman times. Chester has always been a hub right back in history making it an exciting place to explore and sightsee or go on a shopping spree (which we always find ourselves doing) and then take a spot for lunch or an evening meal.
That's why we enjoy Chester, it has something for everyone even FREE things to do. On a lovely day, we take a stroll in the famous Chester Cathedral, then take a look around the elegant shops of the Rows or down the Chester Canal.
Many of the big high street shops are here in the centre, like M&S, Primark, Boots etc.. If they are not in the centre, they will probably be situated in the out-of-town Chester Retail Park and Greyhound Retail Park. Here you can find Asda, Home Bargains, KFC, Oak Furnitureland, Dunelm, TK Maxx, McDonald's, Homebase, Halfords and the list goes on!
That's the wonderful thing we like about Chester, there is no shortage of things to do and explore. Whether you are visiting for the day or staying for a weekend, there is plenty to do in Chester, Cheshire. If the weather is fine, we enjoy a boat trip down the River Dee or a walk through the city’s historic walls, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Here on this website, you will find more suggestions from what we have discovered or are yet to embark on, plus a little of the background behind one of our favourite English Cities.
Chester (Home page)
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History of Chester
I learnt this in some of my school day history lessons, and it is always lovely to refresh the mind and remember just how important this place was to the Romans.
The City of Chester was established as a Roman fort in 79 AD. This was done with good reason as It was strategically located at the edge of the River Dee and soon became a vital trading post. As they say, nothing lasts forever and with the decline of the Roman Empire, the fort was abandoned and left to decay.
In the 11th century, the Normans arrived and rebuilt the structure and it became a prominent trading post once again. In the Middle Ages, Chester became a stronghold and was a key strategic position in the wars between the Welsh, Scots, and English. It is amazing to think of all that history that has gone before us as we often take a stroll along the city walls that still stand today.
The walls were built to defend the city against the threat of invasion. They are one of the largest and most intact city walls in the world. You can almost feel the long-forgotten voices seeping out of the stone walls. It always makes me think how the heck did they build such a structure all those years ago? Have a look around the Chester Roman Amphitheatre when you are in the City - It's Free
The City Walls
The City Walls in Chester are a must-see attraction. They are the most prominent feature of the city, and it would be almost impossible to miss them!
The walls were built in the Middle Ages to defend the city from attack. There are 17 towers and four main entrances to the city. The Eastgate, Watergate, and Bridge Street are the most popular entrances for visitors. We love walking the city walls which on a summer's day are also a beautiful place to walk and enjoy the views.
You can walk along the top of the wall and look out over the city and River Dee below. We like to take our time and go at our own pace, however, you can walk the walls as part of a guided tour. City Bus Tour is a great way to have a look around.
Another favourite of ours is taking a River Explorer boat tour along the river. We have it to be a great advantage point to get some excellent pictures. You’ll get a great view of the city from the water.
ou don't have to be religious to feel the incredible Arora of The Chester Cathedral which is one of the most stunning buildings in the city. It is one of the oldest and most impressive cathedrals in the United Kingdom.
The cathedral has a rich history dating back more than 1,000 years and is one of the most important religious sites in the region. The cathedral is a mixture of architectural styles, including Norman, and Early English. The most notable feature is the central spire, which rises to a staggering 98 meters. It is the second tallest spire in the country and is one of the most iconic landmarks of Chester.
The Chester Cathedral is open to visitors every day of the year. It is well worth a small admission fee. You can climb to the top of the spire to get a fantastic view of the city. Alternatively, you can walk through the cathedral and admire its beautiful architecture. The artistry of the stained glass windows never ceases to amaze us.
The Rows, or the rows of shops along the medieval streets below the city walls, are one of the most famous attractions in Chester. The rows are an architectural wonder, and they are unlike anything else in the world. The shops are built into the street level, with the upper floors rising above them like a balcony.
This unusual design was implemented to create more floor space for shops. The rows are one of the best examples of medieval architecture in the world. They are a stunning example of the English architectural style dating back to the 13th century. The rows were added to the UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011, and they are one of the top attractions in Chester.
Chester Market is a traditional English market that has been operating since the 10th century. It is one of the most popular attractions in Chester and is a great place to explore and shop.
The market is open every day of the year and is a hub of activity in the city. You’ll find a great selection of food and drink stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to craft beer and traditional cider. The market also features stalls selling souvenirs and gifts. You can find almost anything at Chester Christmas Market, and it is a great place to shop.
The market is also a great architectural wonder. The building is surrounded by historic city walls and is a great place to experience the medieval architecture of the city.
Grosvenor Park is a beautiful park in Chester that is full of rich history. At the northwest end you will find the Chester Roman Amphitheatre often featured on many TV shows. Nearby at the west side of the park, just across Souter's Lane, there are the Roman Gardens Chester.
The current Grosvenor Park is an architectural wonder. It is a mixture of neoclassical and Victorian architecture, and it is an excellent example of the architecture from these eras. It is also a great place to walk your dog. If you are looking for a relaxing saunter and somewhere to eat that packed lunch as we do, then Grosvenor Park is the perfect place to visit. It's right next to the Chester Roman Amphitheatre.
Chester Zoo is one of the largest zoo's in Europe and It is one of the most popular attractions in the city. It is a great place to visit with the family especially when there are kids involved.
The zoo is home to many different species of animals, and it is a great place to see them in their natural habitat. I have written a page about the UK Biggest Zoo at Chester
The zoo features many interactive and educational activities so popular with school day trips. You can participate in feeding or touching animals, or you can take part in special events and shows that happen throughout the year.
If you are travelling with younger children, then the zoo is the perfect place to go.
River Dee Boat Trips
The River Dee is one of the most iconic landmarks of Chester. If you want to see the river up close, then a boat trip is the perfect way to do it.
There are a number of companies offering a range of different boat trips along the river. You can choose from a relaxing river cruise or a more adventurous trip, such as hiring a paddle boat. The river is a great place to visit any time of year, but it is especially beautiful in the autumn.
You can enjoy the changing colours of the trees reflected in the river below. The river is also a great place to spot wildlife, such as swans, kingfishers, and herons.
Chester Races is a well-known racecourse near the city centre. With gorgeous surroundings, nestled on the side of the city walls, it is one of the biggest attractions in the summer.
If you have never been or simply want to find out the latest dates for the next meetings, take a look at our introductory page.
We recommend you make it a day out by having a meal nearby (there are plenty to choose from) and then wander over to the racecourse to catch the excitement of a race day. Out in the fresh Cheshire air, catching the atmosphere, and admiring the outfits of the spectators, it is something we love doing. Go to our Chester Races page
Shopping and Dining
Chester has a wide selection of shops and eateries to suit any taste. The Rows are a great place to explore, and you’ll find shops selling everything from souvenirs to designer fashion.
One of the highlights of visiting Chester is going around all the shops in the city centre. I have to make sure my wallet is ready and it is a great place to get clothes and jewellery. The city has plenty of shopping malls offering the latest fashions and top-brand stores.
If you are looking for great food, then Chester is perfect and you won't go hungry! I have posted an article 'Places to Eat Chester' all about some of our favourites and some tasty hidden delights we have found plus some of our favourite Chester Pubs.
The city is packed with restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines. You can dine in the traditional English style, or you can sample food from around the world.
Chester is a lovely city that is packed with both history and culture. Whether you want to shop or dine in modern style as we do or explore the city’s past, there is plenty to do.
From the amazing city walls to the Chester Cathedral, there are many attractions to explore. If you are visiting for the day, then a boat trip down the River Dee and a walk along the city walls are a must. If you are staying for a weekend, then there is plenty more to discover.
We love Chester and always enjoy our trips when we can drive over by car. The railway is easily connected to the Chester Train Station if you are thinking of coming by train. Pop it into your diary, you won't be disappointed!