If you’re looking for things to do in Chester, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve lived in the suburbs of Chester for most of my life, so here are some of my favorites!
Chester is one of the most important heritage cities in the country and, in my opinion, also one of the most underrated cities in the UK. Chester is so beautiful and there are so many things to do on a day trip or weekend getaway.
Chester is a city that is a perfect blend of old and new. Founded by the Romans some 2,000 years ago, the city center is still dotted with ruins, as well as meticulously preserved Tudor and Victorian buildings doing. There are gorgeous black and white buildings, Chester’s famous ‘columns’, the River Dee and a fantastic choice of traditional pubs, stylish bars, friendly cafes and excellent restaurants.
One of the best things about Chester is its good-sized city centre. This means you can walk everywhere and see everything in a day or two, making it the perfect place for a weekend getaway!
This is my list of things to do in Chester city center, but if you’re looking for things to do across the city you should check out my post: 100 things to do in Chester.
If you’d like to see a bit more of the area, we have a great post on how to spend a weekend in Chester and North Wales.
Where to stay in Chester?
if you’re looking to stay for a few nights, there are plenty of holiday rental options in Chester. There are many hotels, apartments, houses, apartments, hostels, guesthouses and unusual places to stay. I highly recommend checking out cozycozy cozycozy is an accommodation search engine that brings together all accommodation types in one search, making it super easy to narrow down your search and find the best deals.
Looking for things to do in Chester city centre? Here are some suggested places to check out on your city break to Chester.
1. Visit Grosvenor Park (and check for Open Air Theatre tickets!)
Grosvenor Park is a beautiful square dating back to Victorian times, and in 2014 the park received multi-million dollar funding to restore it to its former glory. Situated right next to the River Dee, it’s the perfect place to walk, relax or take the kids to make the most of the sunny days in Chester city centre.
Grosvenor Park also has plenty of other activities and community-led classes, including miniature trains (my kids love this!), craft workshops, poetry classes, and tai chi. Every summer, from July to August, Grosvenor Park hosts his 500-seat open-air theater. Works include Shakespeare’s plays, children’s book adaptations and fairy tales.
Take a boat trip up the River Dee
After a leisurely stroll through Grosvenor Park, take a boat trip up the River Dee. The river flows through the city center of Chester and is actually 110 miles long, crossing the Welsh border.
You can take an informative boat cruise along the River Dee with a guide, or rent a rowboat or rowboat and cruise on your own!
Don’t forget to check out Chester Canal, on the other side of Chester city centre. This is also a great place for a quiet stroll in the city. Despite being such a busy city, Chester still has plenty of quiet places to relax.
Walk along the Chester City Walls
A methodical way to walk through the city of Chester is to follow the remaining Chester Walls around the original city centre. Chester City Walls were first built by the Romans around 70-80 AD as a defensive structure made of wood, earth and grass. The city walls of Chester were improved and strengthened over the years, first with sandstone, and after the invasion of the Normans he completed the circumnavigation of the walls in the 12th century.
Although parts of the wall are now missing or unsafe to walk on, it is still one of Chester’s most popular activities, offering views of Chester from a high vantage point and a glimpse of the city’s original form. It’s fascinating to see how they’ve grown beyond size. You don’t have to walk all the way around. You can always climb up if you want to see Chester from a different perspective.
Roman Tours of Chester: If you’re a self-confessed history geek, book a Roman Tour of Chester. Your informative guide will take you through all of Chester’s historic sites in gladiator costume. It sounds cheesy, but these tours have been running for years and there are no better and more popular walking he tours in Chester. If you have kids, they’ll love them and you’ll get a chance to dress them up too!
Check out the Eastgate Clock and the historic Chester Rows
Every city has its own high street or major shopping precinct, but we can confidently say that few are as beautiful and historic as Chester’s. Eastgate Clock in Chester city center is of course the most photographed clock in Britain, second only to Big He Ben. The castle is located at the original entrance to the Roman fortress and, like the walls of Chester, has undergone many renovations over the years. Most impressively, a clock was added to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 60th anniversary on the throne.
Chester Row refers to two storey Victorian roofed shops in Chester’s main shopping area. These are completely unique to Chester, so no one knows why they were built this way. High street shopping might not be a ‘cultural’ experience in other cities, but it definitely is in Chester!
Visit the impressive Chester Cathedral and Castle
Two of Chester’s most important and historic buildings are the cathedral and castle. If you haven’t finished learning about Chester city center’s past yet, you should visit the cathedral and castle.
Chester Cathedral was first built in 1092 and then rebuilt in the Gothic style we see today in 1250, taking 275 years to complete. I think everyone should visit just to see what they were able to accomplish in that amount of time.
Chester Castle is less impressive, but still worth a visit. It dates back to the same time as William the Conqueror and was rebuilt in the 12th century.
Story House is an old movie theater converted into a theatre, cinema, library, restaurant, bar and general cultural space. It’s a great place to relax after a lot of walking around the city, and there are often great activities scheduled. There is also a hidden space near the cafe with dress-up boxes and toys, so it’s also recommended for families with children.
If you’re planning a future trip, keep an eye out for the new Chester Market project opening in summer 2022. It would be a great indoor market space and a modern take on a traditional market. I can’t wait to open it.
But for now there is an indoor market on Princes Street and a Sunday market near the station. The best way to find these events is often through Facebook events.
Watch outdoor cinema in the Roman Gardens
If Grosvenor Park’s outdoor cinemas aren’t your thing, why not try the Roman Gardens’ outdoor cinemas? Moonlight Flicks screens classic and popular films throughout the summer. All you need to do is bring your own deck chair and snacks!
Join in Chester’s fabulous afternoon tea scene
It is said that there are so many saunas that everyone living in Helsinki could be in one at the same time. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if the same was true for Chester and Afternoon Tea. There are so many great places to enjoy afternoon tea in Chester!
Among the best are Mad Hatter’s Unique Afternoon Tea at the Oddfellows Hotel for a quirky and fun option, or the traditional Grosvenor Afternoon Tea at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel for a more classic and luxurious afternoon tea. For those who prefer savory to sweet, we also offer a “gentleman’s version.
Spend a day at the Chester Racecourse
Chester Racecourse is the oldest working racecourse and probably the smallest in the country. The main racing season runs from June to September and there are lots of themed days such as Family Fun Day and Ladies & Gentlemen’s Evening.
If you love watching races, be sure to book your tickets to an event at Chester Racecourse. Don’t forget your stiletto heels and fascinator on race day!
Here’s my guide to what to do in Chester city center. Have you ever visited Chester?