Chester

For other places with the same name, see Chester (disambiguation).
Shopping in Chester city centre

Chester is a very pretty and historic English city on the river Dee in the North-Western county of Cheshire. Although maybe not worth a whole holiday, it's well worth a day trip to see the Roman ruins. This fine city is also the gateway to North Wales, standing as it does directly on the border with the Principality. It is the nearest city of any size for a sizeble population in North Wales.

Understand

Chester originated in the Romano-British period at the latest, when it formed the settlement known as Deva or Castra Devana, the fortress city of the 20th Legion (Legio XX Valeria Victrix). As a result some parts of Chester are around two thousand years old. It was a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War in the 1640s, and along the walls one can see the tower from which King Charles I watched his troops do battle.

A native of Chester is called a 'Cestrian'; though as is the case that Cockneys must be born within earshot of the Bow Bells to be classed a 'true' Cockney, to be strictly deemed a 'Cestrian' the person must have been born within the boundaries of the city's Roman walls. However, the last maternity ward within those defined limits was relocated to its current site a couple of miles outside the City Walls in the early 1970's.

Get in

By train

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.

By car

Chester is situated near the eastern end of the A55, which becomes the M53, which crosses the M56. London is approximately 170 miles by road, Birmingham approximately 90 miles, Manchester approximately 40 miles, Liverpool approximately 15 miles.

By coach

Most national coaches stop in Chester. Chester coach station in the city centre has now been closed. The coaches stop at a bus stop on Vicars Lane, opposite the Visitor Centre near the Roman Amphitheatre.

Get around

The city centre itself is relatively small with everything within walking distance. During the day, there are regular buses, or one can take a taxi.

See

The interior of Chester's imposing cathedral, which was left untouched by Henry VIII during his dissolution of all the monasteries because he rather liked it!

Roman Chester

Chester (or "Deva" in Latin) was one of the great military bases in Roman England, and as such, has its fair share of Roman ruins. Historians have even speculated that had the Roman departure not happened, Chester would have become the Roman Capital of England.

Do

The Groves is one of Chester’s premier open spaces, running along the city bank of the River Dee. It became a promenade in the early 1700s and is now part of a longer Riverside Promenade.
In 1726, the area was leased to Charles Croughton who secured the river bank and planted an avenue of trees. By the late 18th century it had become known as The Groves. The City Walls also became a fashionable place and during the 18th century, the circuit was modified and the Groves and the walls were connected through the construction of Recorder’s Steps. In Roman times, this section of riverside was a series of quarries where stone was extracted for building the fortress. In Saxon times, The Groves was probably the main port area and may have had a concentration of leatherworking.
The Groves is also the best place to go to take a trip down the river itself through all manner of vessels from motorised tour-boats to row boats and, in warm weather, even pedaloes.
Grosvenor Park was one of the first public parks in Britain outside of the big industrial cities and was given to the city of Chester in 1867 by Richard Grosvenor, the Second Marquess of Westminster.
The River Dee, which runs through Chester

Buy

Chester has fantastic shopping for its size. All the major stores are based in one of the most attractive city centres in the country. Traditional black and white Tudor buildings and The Rows (an historic two-tiered shopping gallery, the only one of its kind in the world!) coupled with good shops and great places to eat, such as The Watergates Wine Bar, are sure to make this a pleasant shopping trip.

Chester's attractive shops draw shoppers from far and wide

If that doesn't satisfy your consumerist needs, Cheshire Oaks is a designer outlet 10 miles away by bus or car.

Also Chester has a traditional indoor Market located behind the town hall.

Eat

Good choices for food are:

Drink

Chester has plenty of historic, old-fashioned English pubs, with beer at around £2.50-£3 a pint. However, most places will stop serving at around 23:30, and even a little earlier on Sundays. The only true exception being Watergates which trades until 02:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bars

Clubs

There are only a handful of night clubs and late bars to choose from. The latest any club will stay open in Chester is 03:00.

Sleep

There are many good hotels in and around the city. Contact the tourist office for details.

Budget

Mid-range

Most B&Bs are clustered to the East of the City in Hoole. This has its own centre, with good local pubs, some restaurants and shops. Its about a mile into the city centre and not a very attractive walk, but is convenient for the train station.

Splurge

Stay safe

Chester is not an especially dangerous city, with no particular reputation for crime. The general rule is the nearer the racecourse (thus more expensive), the safer the area. However, the usual UK rules apply. Be aware that, between midnight and 03:00 or so, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, there will be plenty of drunken people about, so stick to well-lit areas and main roads. If you are one of these people and don't know the city well, consider taking a cab home. Some parts of the city, especially Blacon and The Lache should be strongly avoided if you don't know the area, as they are considered unsafe.

Go next

Wales - Chester is on the border with Wales, and the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno is just 50 miles away.

Liverpool - vibrant city, European Capital of Culture 2008.

Manchester - vibrant city.


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, December 13, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.