Guides

What do See and Do in Chester - From Roman Theaters to Tudor Shops

Hotel search

History and heritage fans will love what Chester has to offer - but there’s also plenty to keep families entertained and shopaholics satisfied. Tours by foot, bus, or boat give a guided introduction to the city’s landmarks in an hour or so, leaving time to relax by the picturesque river before a night out.

Roman Chester

 

You can’t get away from the Romans in Chester - even the main streets of the city center follow routes laid down 2 millennia ago. Just outside the city walls is the largest Roman amphitheater in Britain, where 7,000 spectators once watched gladiators and military parades. In the pretty Roman Gardens there’s a reconstructed hypocaust (under-floor heating system), while the remains of an original hypocaust lurk in the basement of Spudulike restaurant on Bridge Street. The public are welcome to investigate.

 

  • Roman Gardens, Pepper Street, Chester CH1 1QQ; Tel: +44 1244 402260; Website: Roman Gardens
  •  

  • Spudulike, 39 Bridge Street, Chester CH1 1NG; Tel: +44 1244 311798; Website: Spudulike

Chester Cathedral

 

Chester Cathedral was founded as a Benedictine monastery nearly 1,000 years ago. Inside, there are curious medieval carvings on the choir stalls; these shiny wooden figures veer between mythical, comical, and grotesque. Also, try to spot the Chester Imp, a stone-carved devil perched high up on a nave window. The Cathedral at Height experience is an exciting tour up the tower, while the Refectory restaurant serves excellent food in a 13th-century monks’ dining hall.

 

  • Chester Cathedral, St. Werburgh Street, Chester CH1 2HU; Tel: +44 1244 324756; Website: Chester Cathedral

 

Exploring the Rows

 

These 2-level half-timbered shopping galleries, dating from medieval times, are magnificent to see and delightful to browse. Clustered on the streets fanning out from the central cross of the city, the crooked black-and-white buildings are a Tudor and Victorian mix. The longest row is on Eastgate Street, while Upper Bridge Street is attractively flanked on both sides. One of the oldest shop fronts in England, Three Old Arches, is found at 48 Bridge Street. Below street level are some crypt-like stone "undercrofts" converted to bars, wine cellars, and restaurants.

 

Parks and museums

 

The riverside Groves has been the place to promenade since the 1700s, and is handily connected to the city walls by the Recorder’s Steps. Adjacent Grosvenor Park is a Victorian-style garden with tree-lined avenues, flower displays, and great views over the River Dee. Chester also has 2 small museums, with regularly changing events. The Grosvenor Museum explains the town’s Roman history, while a military museum is housed in the castle.

 

  • Grosvenor Museum, 27 Grosvenor Street, Chester CH1 2DD; Tel: +44 1244 972197; Website: Grosvenor Museum
  •  

  • The Cheshire Military Museum, The Castle, Chester CH1 2DN; Tel: +44 1244 327617; Website: The Cheshire Military Museum

 

Bus and ghost tours

 

To get your bearings, take one of the hop-on, hop-off bus tours - you can even ride an open-top Edwardian omnibus. Bus tickets can be combined with a river cruise that sails for 30 minutes from the Queen's Park suspension bridge, or for 2 hours all the way to the iron bridge. Later, spook yourself with a nighttime ghost tour - locals say that many of Chester’s ancient streets are haunted.

 

  • Chesterboat, The Boating Station, Souters Lane, The Groves, Chester CH1 1SD; Tel: +44 1244 325394; Website: Chesterboat
  •  

  • Chester Ghost Tours, Outside the Town Hall, Visitor Information Centre, Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HJ; Tel: +44 1244 405635; Website: Chester Ghost Tours