Chester is an historic and romantic city. The surviving Roman streets are so compact that you can get around all the city’s landmarks on foot, feasting your eyes on an amazing architectural panorama of the past, or alternatively you can take a cruise along the picturesque River Dee. There is plenty more to this atmospheric English city and its surrounds too and the abundance of great shopping, activities, art and culture, and great food are sure means there is something to please everyone here – young and old alike.
Built almost 2,000 years ago, the Fortress Dewa now lies buried beneath Chester but thankfully visitors can experience this Roman archaeological treasure as if it were the present day at the Dewa Roman Experience which uses archaeological finds to bring the sights, smells and atmosphere of the period to life.
Take a stroll along over a mile of 2,000-year-old walls around the city at the Walls of Chester – it’s possible to make a near-complete high-level circuit, looking down on the heart of the old city. One of the highlights of the walk is an exceptional view of a recreated Roman garden, with paths and geometric beds of medicinal plants shaped like a serpent coiled around a staff of the Roman god of health.
Just outside of the city, the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port provides a fascinating insight into the Industrial Revolution. With its delightful waterside setting, flotillas of historic boats and fascinating displays housed in fine Victorian buildings, the museum is a great day out whatever the weather. Visitors can take a boat trip through an industrial landscape, visit the museum blacksmith and explore traditional narrow boats and homes through the ages, complete with cottage gardens.
The Grosvenor Museum houses collections exploring the history of Chester, its art and silver heritage, and its natural history. The focus at this small but well presented museum is on Roman history, but other highlights include a Georgian town house, a natural history section, and a silver collection, and there are some great interactive exhibits to intrigue young children.
Discover a fascinating history spanning a thousand years in the heart of the city at Chester Cathedral. With exceptional stained glass, Norman arches, Gothic flourishes, impressive woodcarving, cool cloisters, attractive gardens and the medieval shrine of St. Werburgh – this cathedral is one of Britain’s most magnificent.
Take a restful break and an alternative view of the city with a Chester Boat river cruise. A 30 minute tour provides an opportunity to view the fabulous houses, gardens and other buildings along the banks of the river at a tranquil pace and encourage the rowers as they speed on by.
Chester Zoo is the UK’s number one charity zoo, with over 11,000 animals and 400 different species, including some of the most endangered species on the planet. With 1.4 million visitors every year, the zoo is an all-year round full day visitor attraction for everyone.
The Watergate Street Gallery in Chester is a great place to see the work of local and international artists, as well as buy your very own piece of art. The gallery is home to the most extensive and inspiring collection of original artwork and signed limited edition prints in England’s North West, with over 1000 framed pictures on permanent display.
Shopping in Chester is a feast for the eyes as well as the wallet. The outstanding and rather charming two-tiered medieval shopping arcades of The Rows run the length of the streets at the city’s historic heart. Climb the winding staircases leading to the upper levels, where sloping wooden walkways are packed with independent retailers, up-scale boutiques, and a wealth of atmosphere.
For a more modern shopping experience, head over to The Grosvenor Shopping Centre which offers cosmopolitan style with shops selling everything from health and beauty products, fashion, homeware items, jewellery and food. Some major big name brands have stores here and there is something for everyone all under one roof. When you fancy a break, kick back and enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the complex.
If you don’t mind a short trip out of the city and you’re in the mood for some designer bargains, the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet is only a short jaunt away and as the UK’s largest outlet centre with 145 stores you are sure to find something to suit your style and your budget.