Located in the Northwest of England, the old city of Chester sits on the border of Wales, the most common connection point that people go through to get there. Once voted into the top 10 most romantic cities in the world, its old English charm regularly awes its visitors. With picturesque buildings dating back to the 1600s, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time. While you can tour the cobblestone streets and see the beautiful architecture, not to mention the famous Chester Cathedral, you’re never too far from the ancient castles that dot the country.
Read on to find out about the best things to do in Chester, UK.
1. Chester Cathedral
The largest Gothic Cathedral in England, this beautiful structure was rebuilt around 1250 and took nearly 275 years to finish. A mixture of Norman, Roman and Georgian style architecture, this place is a glimpse into the past. Although entry is free, the cathedral is run entirely on donations, so expect to be set back a few dollars per person.
One of the most famous landmarks in the northwest of England, it also host various events that will suit anyone’s interests. Whether you want to hear the sound of a beautiful choir, gaze at beautiful works of art, or have a fun day with the children learning about falconry in the cathedral gardens, this place never runs short of unique visits.
Address: St Werburgh St, Chester CH1 2DY, UK
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-6pm Sunday: 11am-4pm
Phone: +44 1244324756
Website: Chester Cathedral
2. Chester City Walls
Another amazing piece of history, the Chester City Walls is the oldest part of the city, dating back all the way to 70 AD, the City Walls are the most complete and well preserved Roman defense walls in Britain. They are so old, they have been a constant thread through the history of Chester, playing a part in fighting numerous wars in the last 1,000 years.
By the 18th-century, it had finally outlived its military purposes and was opened up as a walkway to the public. This 2 mile (3.2 km) circular walk is completely free to enter and is open 24 hours a day all year. If it’s your first time to Chester, this is a great place to start (without getting lost) as it will also lead you to all the other must-see attractions that Chester has to offer.
Chester City Walls
Address: 13 Bridgegate, Chester CH1 1SA, UK
Website: Chester City Walls
3. Eastgate Clock
The Eastgate Clock is the second most photographed clock in the world (Big Ben coming first), and has become an iconic centerpiece of Chester since it was first installed in 1899, marking Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Although the clock is over 120 years old, the original gateway was built in the Roman era, another ancient remnant of Chester’s past.
Sitting in the middle of a bustling city centre, you don’t have to go out of your way to see this gem, surrounded by shops and restaurants, you can take your own iconic photo of this masterpiece as you enjoy Chester’s cobbled high street!
Address: 41-45 Eastgate St, Chester CH1 1LE, UK
Website: Eastgate Clock
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4. Beeston Castle
Approximately 11 miles (18 km) outside of the city centre, lies the stunning ruins of Beeston Castle. Only a short 20 minute drive away, this place is more difficult to get to by public transport, but the amazing views you get from the top of Beeston Castle are well worth the effort! Lying in the middle of the English countryside, you can see for miles on a clear day. It’s a great place to bring the kids and even the dog to burn off their energy as it is a short uphill hike to get to the main castle.
Surrounded by beautiful woods, and ancient caves dating back to the Iron Age, this will set you back 18.30 GPB (23.40 USD) for 2 adults and 3 children. Although one of the most expensive landmarks on this list, you can easily spend a few hours here exploring the land, gazing at the views and having a picnic as you take it all in! Just make sure you’re not afraid of heights as you can go right up to the edge of this place, the walls bordering the mountain it sits on.
Address: Chapel Lane, Beeston, Cheshire, CW6 9TX, UK
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-6pm 1st April - 30th September (See more available times on English Heritage website)
Website: Beeston Castle
5. Wales Coast Path
Another place that sits a little outside the city centre and stretches all the way along the Welsh Coastline, this is a perfect place to go to get away from the bustling city streets. A highly rated walking holiday, the Wales Coast Path starts at the beautiful River Dee and goes down to Queensferry. Entry is completely free, and there are many sections that are wheelchair accessible. Getting here only takes 15 minutes by car, or 30 minutes on the bus from the Chester Railway Station.
Considered to be one of the most tranquil places in Chester, this long walk is incredibly peaceful and is an 8 mile (13 km) round trip, so make sure to pack a lunch!
Wales Coast Path
Address: River Dee, Chester, UK
Website: Wales Coast Path
6. Ness Botanic Gardens
Owned by the University of Liverpool, the Ness Botanic Gardens was first created by Liverpool cotton merchant, Arthur Kilpin Bulley in 1898. His deep fascination with tree and plants led him to introduce hundreds of new plants to Britain, many of them coming from the far East, specifically the Himalayan and Chinese Mountains.
Since then it has grown into a beautiful place that is perfect for hyper children to explore, with fantastic views of the River Dee; the land is dotted with many picnic tables allowing you to relax and enjoy the scenery. The Ness Botanic Gardens also host events if you’re looking for something in particular, with photography competitions and the Anniversary Garden Party! This place will set you back 7.50 GPB (9.60 USD) for adults and 3.50 GPB (4.50 USD) for kids, but it does provide a student discount!
Ness Botanic Gardens
Address: Neston Rd, Little Neston, Ness CH64 4AY, UK
Opening Hours: 1st March-31st October: 9:30am-5pm, 1st November-28th: February 10am-4:30pm
Website: Ness Botanic Gardens
7. Grosvenor Museum
Another hot spot for families is the Grosvenor Museum! Built in 1886, you don’t have to go far to visit this place. Situated right in the centre of Chester, you can come here to marvel at the Roman artifacts, the Chester silver trade and the display of work from local artists! More than just an educational trip, the Grosvenor Museum also hosts family activities and open art exhibitions where people can enter there work into a competition. Some of the family activities include jewelry making and watercolors!
Address: Grosvenor Museum, 27 Grosvenor St, Chester CH1 2DD, UK
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10:30am-5pm, Sunday 1pm-4pm
Website: Grosvenor Museum
8. Chester Roman Amphitheatre
The largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain, it was mainly used for entertainment and military training during the Roman era. Situated right in the city centre of Chester, this ancient arena was not discovered until the 1950s! Open 24 hours a day, you can come here to have a picnic with your friends and family and read the various information posters showing you what this place would have looked like hundreds of years ago!
Chester Roman Amphitheatre
Address: Little St John Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 1RE, UK
Opening Hours: 24 hours, daily
Website: Chester Roman Amphitheatre
9. Peckforton Castle
The most prestigious landmark on this list is Peckforton Castle. Built by John Tallemach in 1851, this hidden gem took nearly 10 years to finish! Although it is one of the youngest landmarks on this list, it still has a very rich history, such as being used as a hostel for disabled children in WW2.
Since 2006, it has been transformed into a 4-star hotel, but that does not mean that you can’t take advantage of the many activities this place has to offer. If you are a person who loves outdoor activities, or have children who want to experience a fairytale place, you can sign up for activities such as treasure hunting, archery, falconry, mountain biking and more! After a fun-filled day of this, you can have a delicious English meal in their 1851-style restaurant, and discover their hidden wine cellar!
Being the most expensive, this place will easily set you back 30-80 GPB (40-100 USD) depending on the activity, but if you’re looking for a blow-out, this is the place to go!
Address: Stone House Ln, Peckforton, Tarporley CW6 9TN, UK
Website: Peckforton Castle
10. Chester Rows
One of Chester’s most distinguishable features is The Rows, which are the 4 original streets paved from the Roman era. The most notable buildings on this street date back to the 1600s such as Tudor House and Leche House, but some date back as far as the 13th-century. These beautiful walkways all meet at the High Cross, (and feature the Eastgate Clock). They are now packed with various shops and restaurants that you can browse to your hearts content, while marveling at the picturesque buildings. It is this part of Chester that helped make it to the top ten most romantic cities in the world!
Address: Chester CH1 1NG, UK
Explore, learn and have fun!
Walking through Chester City is like stepping into a different century, whether you love art, history or the beautiful outdoors, this place really has it all! If you’re going all out or on a tight budget, Chester accommodates for all, so add your memories to this ancient city.
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