Chester travel guide

Chester Tourism | Chester Guide

You're Going to Love Chester

With its quaint timber-framed buildings, intact medieval walls, and street plan that dates back to the Roman Empire, history is everywhere in Chester. In fact, you won't find many better preserved historical cities in the whole of Europe.

Take a step back in time, 500, 1,000 or even 2,000 years by walking the two miles of walls, spending some time absorbing the serenity of Chester Cathedral and seeing Roman tombstones at the Grosvenor Museum. Then, take a few moments to adjust and you'll discover a thriving modern city with everything tourists could need.

You'll find fine French and traditional British restaurants, lively pubs, theaters, music venues, race courses, and even boating along the River Dee. In other words, you'll discover one of England's finest vacation destinations.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Chester

1. Some of the Most Impressive Roman Remains in Europe

There aren't many better places to explore Roman history than Chester (Dewa or Deva in Latin). You can't miss the walls, which were set out in Roman times, but make time for the amphitheater, the Dewa Roman Experience, and guided tours with kilted legionaries too.

2. Its Gorgeous Medieval Center

The heart of Chester is a collection of picturesque black and white timber-framed stores and houses. Wandering around areas like the Rows is a magical experience, with houses that jut out above street level (to dispose of medieval household waste), and sights like St John the Baptist Church or the cathedral are also highlights.

3. Plenty of Engaging Museums

Chester will keep any museum fan occupied during their stay. The Grosvenor Museum is the place to start, with its Roman remains and reconstructed Georgian home, but the Cheshire Military Museum and the Dewa Roman Experience are fascinating as well.

4. Family Fun to Keep Kids Happy

Families will also adore Chester's range of attractions. There's Chester Zoo (the largest in England) and the Blue Planet Aquarium (also the largest in England), along with theme parks nearby like Gulliver's World and beautiful green spaces like Grosvenor Park - the ideal spot for a riverside picnic.

5. Entertainment to Suit Everyone's Tastes

Above all else, Chester is a fun-loving city. Its racecourse attracts thousands of people to its regular meets, while the city center probably has more nightclubs per square mile than any other English city. Art events like ARK and open air concerts at Bolesworth Castle round off a diverse selection of cultural attractions.

What to do in Chester

1. Chester City Walls: A Walk Down History Lane

The Chester City Walls are a must-see for any history buffs, dating back to 100 AD. Walk through the 2-mile stretch of relics from the Roman fortress that surrounded the central part of this former Roman commune. The structure includes four major gateways - Eastgate, Bridgegate, Northgate, and Watergate. Walk in the footsteps of medieval archers and Roman soldier patrols and take in amazing sites like the Chester race course, the Chester Cathedral, and the Roman Baths. While you're at it, capture lovely photos while marveling at the spectacular display of Chester City and River Dee at the end of the exploration.

2. Eastgate and Eastgate Clock: Chester's Timeless Landmark

This remarkable icon stands magnificently above what was originally the entrance to the Roman fortress Deva Victrix and later formed part of the ancient Chester City Walls. The clock was intricately designed and erected to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Stand at the wall just beneath the clock and enjoy a views of Foregate Streets and East Gate Street in all their splendor. Click away for photos with the country's second-most-photographed clock as the backdrop, and after that, refill at the Bella Italia with hearty fine Italian cuisine.

3. Chester Cathedral: The Art Sanctuary

This majestic cathedral dates back two thousand years and offers a rich and captivating representation of Chester's heritage, having been founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092. Walk into the magnificent cathedral up to the alluring stained-glass windows and unique painted ceilings. Stop by the ARK sculpture exhibition and revel in the curated modern art collection on display. Visit the expansive gift shop and later stop by the Refectory Café for a well-deserved coffee break, also conveniently located on the cathedral's grounds.

4. Chester Zoo: One Wild Adventure

Sitting on an expansive 125 acres, the Chester Zoo holds the title of UK's number-one wildlife attraction, and one of the largest zoos in Europe. Here, you'll get to see 15,000 wild animals and 500 different animal species. See elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and orangutans in action: a perfect set up for a family photo shoot. Ride the 1-mile-long Monorail connecting the two halves of the park and gawk at the monkeys and lions from above. Have a picnic in one of the well-maintained picnic spots and stop by the zoo's gift shops located at the main entrance for wonderful souvenirs.

5. Roman Amphitheatre: Reviving History

Located close to Chester Shopping Center, these ruins of a former 1st-century arena are the largest of their kind in the country. Historians suspect the structure was used for military drills and even gladiator fights. Awe at the optical-illusion mural and imagine what the Roman Amphitheater would have looked like in Roman times. Also worth visiting near the Amphitheater is the Grosvenor Park, Chester Roman Gardens, as well as the Wesley Church.

Chester City WallsChester City Walls
Eastgate and Eastgate ClockEastgate and Eastgate Clock
Chester CathedralChester Cathedral
Roman AmphitheatreRoman Amphitheatre

1. Chester City Walls: A Walk Down History Lane

The Chester City Walls are a must-see for any history buffs, dating back to 100 AD. Walk through the 2-mile stretch of relics from the Roman fortress that surrounded the central part of this former Roman commune. The structure includes four major gateways - Eastgate, Bridgegate, Northgate, and Watergate. Walk in the footsteps of medieval archers and Roman soldier patrols and take in amazing sites like the Chester race course, the Chester Cathedral, and the Roman Baths. While you're at it, capture lovely photos while marveling at the spectacular display of Chester City and River Dee at the end of the exploration.

2. Eastgate and Eastgate Clock: Chester's Timeless Landmark

This remarkable icon stands magnificently above what was originally the entrance to the Roman fortress Deva Victrix and later formed part of the ancient Chester City Walls. The clock was intricately designed and erected to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Stand at the wall just beneath the clock and enjoy a views of Foregate Streets and East Gate Street in all their splendor. Click away for photos with the country's second-most-photographed clock as the backdrop, and after that, refill at the Bella Italia with hearty fine Italian cuisine.

3. Chester Cathedral: The Art Sanctuary

This majestic cathedral dates back two thousand years and offers a rich and captivating representation of Chester's heritage, having been founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092. Walk into the magnificent cathedral up to the alluring stained-glass windows and unique painted ceilings. Stop by the ARK sculpture exhibition and revel in the curated modern art collection on display. Visit the expansive gift shop and later stop by the Refectory Café for a well-deserved coffee break, also conveniently located on the cathedral's grounds.

4. Chester Zoo: One Wild Adventure

Sitting on an expansive 125 acres, the Chester Zoo holds the title of UK's number-one wildlife attraction, and one of the largest zoos in Europe. Here, you'll get to see 15,000 wild animals and 500 different animal species. See elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and orangutans in action: a perfect set up for a family photo shoot. Ride the 1-mile-long Monorail connecting the two halves of the park and gawk at the monkeys and lions from above. Have a picnic in one of the well-maintained picnic spots and stop by the zoo's gift shops located at the main entrance for wonderful souvenirs.

5. Roman Amphitheatre: Reviving History

Located close to Chester Shopping Center, these ruins of a former 1st-century arena are the largest of their kind in the country. Historians suspect the structure was used for military drills and even gladiator fights. Awe at the optical-illusion mural and imagine what the Roman Amphitheater would have looked like in Roman times. Also worth visiting near the Amphitheater is the Grosvenor Park, Chester Roman Gardens, as well as the Wesley Church.

Chester City WallsChester City Walls
Eastgate and Eastgate ClockEastgate and Eastgate Clock
Chester CathedralChester Cathedral
Roman AmphitheatreRoman Amphitheatre

Where to Eat in Chester

Dining out is always a pleasure in Chester, where you'll find gastropubs like the Ship Inn and the Albion Inn, French brasseries like Chez Jules, great Italian places like Piccolino and La Fattoria, and even Texan BBQ at Hickory's Smokehouse. Expect mains to range from £8 to £30, depending on where you eat.

When to visit Chester

Chester in February
Estimated hotel price
$59
1 night at 3-star hotel
Chester in February
Estimated hotel price
$59
1 night at 3-star hotel

Summer is a wonderful time to visit Chester, with the prospect of lazily boating on the Dee, walking in Grosvenor Park, and ranging along the city walls, but it can be very busy. Try May or October for mild weather and thinner crowds. With students in town during these months, the nightlife picks up as well.

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Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
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How to Get to Chester

Plane

The closest airport to Chester is Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL), which is just 25 miles away and has regular connections to North American cities. The best way to get to Chester other than renting a car is to take the AirLink Bus 501 (£2.50) to Liverpool South Parkway station, then the train to Chester (£4.70), which takes around an hour in total. Expect a taxi to cost £40.

Train

Chester is a major train station on the route between London and Liverpool, with hourly services throughout the week, and if you fly into Heathrow or Gatwick, you can get to Chester within 90 minutes.

Car

If you are driving from London, take the M1 motorway, then the M6 towards Manchester before changing to the A54 (Junction 18) towards Chester. The best route from Liverpool is probably to take the M62 and switch to the M6 at Junction 21A.

Bus

Chester has excellent bus connections to London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and North Wales, and is served by companies like National Express and Megabus. Buses stop on Vicars Lane, not far from the center of town.

Airports near Chester

Airlines serving Chester

United Airlines
Good (2,839 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,152 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,377 reviews)
KLM
Good (348 reviews)
Air France
Good (399 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,414 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,047 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,324 reviews)
SWISS
Good (454 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,208 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (958 reviews)
Iberia
Good (915 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,413 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (278 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (308 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (320 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (538 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (100 reviews)
Finnair
Good (694 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (777 reviews)
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Where to stay in Chester

The Medieval Center - enclosed by two miles of city walls, Chester's city center is a bewitching place. Much of it seems to have remained the same for hundreds of years, but beneath the Tudor facades, you'll find dazzling boutiques, pubs, and restaurants aplenty.

Popular Neighborhoods in Chester

Riverside - Chester was once a major port, and although the River Dee doesn't have sea access any more, it is still at the heart of the city. You can rent boats to row along its peaceful banks and enjoy the views in Grosvenor Park or head to Chester Racecourse, which is tucked into a bend in the river.

Handbridge - located south of the River Dee, Handbridge has a distinct feel. It's a more workaday place, with bustling pubs and excellent restaurants like the Ship Inn. Just to the east, Handbridge is also home to Chester Meadows, a lovely place to walk and relax with great views of the cathedral across the water.

Where to stay in popular areas of Chester

Most booked hotels in Chester

Holiday Inn Ellesmere Port - Cheshire Oaks
Excellent (8.7, 1967 reviews)
$81+
Woodcote Hotel
Excellent (8.4, 459 reviews)
$69+
Holiday Inn Express Chester - Racecourse
Excellent (8.3, 4641 reviews)
$71+
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Chester
Excellent (8.3, 3704 reviews)
$87+
Crowne Plaza Chester
Excellent (8.2, 5541 reviews)
$93+
Mill Hotel & Spa
Excellent (8.1, 9988 reviews)
$85+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Chester

Public Transportation

Although Chester is small enough to walk around easily, the Arriva bus service is often a handy way to get around. It's also very cheap if you purchase a PlusBus ticket, which gives you unlimited bus transport for a day for £2.50.

Taxi

Taxis in Chester are easy to book and plentiful, but they aren't cheap. Expect to pay a meter drop of £1.50, then at least £4 per mile after that, with higher rates applying in the evenings and at weekends.

Car

Chester is at the heart of some great sightseeing country, and both Liverpool and Manchester are less than an hour away (traffic permitting) so having your own car makes perfect sense. Car rental companies in town include Enterprise, Thrifty, and Europcar and rates can be as low as £12 per day in some cases.

The Cost of Living in Chester

Shopping Streets

You'll be surprised by how much world-class shopping can be packed into a city center as compact as Chester's. The place to start is the Rows, with its Tudor architecture, which hosts perfumers like Penhaligon's, family-run jewelers like Chique, and apparel stores like Jigsaw. Then, move onto the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, a more conventional mall with international chains.

Groceries and Other

You won't be short of places to buy groceries during a stay in Chester. Supermarkets like Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, and Sainsbury's will have whatever you need at reasonable prices. Expect to pay just over £3 for a gallon of milk and £1.90 for 12 eggs.

Cheap meal
$15.01
A pair of jeans
$58.36
Single public transport ticket
$3.75
Cappuccino
$3.22