Packed with incredible history, amazing places to visit, cool attractions, and fun-filled pubs, Chester, England is no doubt one of my favorite English cities! If you’re planning a visit to this ancient Roman town, I’ve got just the list for you. Here’s the best attractions, places to visit, and things to do in Chester, UK! And stick around for the end, where I’ll show you the best places to stay in Chester.
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After spending nearly 5 months collectively near the city of Chester, I’ve had a blast exploring its Roman walls, strolling through its cobblestone roads, admiring its picturesque two-story rows, and — of course — taste-testing many pints in its fun pubs and clubs.
Throughout this time, Chester has become one of my all-time favorite cities in England.
Here are just a few things which make Chester absolutely awesome:
✓ Its ancient and captivating Roman history.
✓ How freakin’ old some of the pubs are (seriously — older than the United States itself!).
✓ The beautiful River Dee running right through it.
✓ One word: Chester Rows — found only in one place throughout the world: Chester.
✓ Its unbelievably magnificent cathedral.
✓ Super duper old Roman walls which completely encircle Chester’s town centre.
✓ It’s incredibly cute and totally perfect for photos.
Seriously, this little city has it all! I’m so lucky I get to spend most of my time here when Dan and I are with his family in Wales. It’s such a perfect place to wander about. Days out in Chester are the best days!
Anyways, after spending so much time here, I’ve nailed down the best places to visit and how to make the most of your time in the city, so you never ever have to wonder what to do in Chester again!
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Things to Do in Chester, England
- 1.1 Walk the Chester City Walls
- 1.2 Visit the Chester Cathedral
- 1.3 View the Roman Amphitheater
- 1.4 Admire the Eastgate and Eastgate Clock
- 1.5 Shop Around and Walk Through the Chester Rows
- 1.6 Stroll Through Grosvenor Park
- 1.7 Walk About the Chester Roman Gardens
- 1.8 Check Out the Coffin in the Wall
- 1.9 Meander Along the River Dee (Old Dee Bridge)
- 1.10 View the Chester Racecourse
- 1.11 Have a Drink at the Oldest Pub in Chester
- 1.12 Check Out the Grosvenor Museum
- 2 Chester Tourist Map
- 3 Places to Stay in Chester
Best Things to Do in Chester, England
Walk the Chester City Walls
First and foremost, when coming into the city you’ll notice tall, ancient walls completely surround the city center. Those happen to be the ancient Roman Walls, built over 2000 years old. Cool, right?
In fact, Chester is the only remaining city in Britain who’s walls are still completely intact! And almost as a rite of passage, you must walk the walls! No doubt, this is a must-do thing in Chester.
About 2 miles of path, walking the walls gives you great views of the city below, as you walk right on top of the wall itself. Additionally, you’ll get some great insight into Chester’s past. Throughout the stroll, helpful plaques and signs display fascinating information about the city.
Definitely don’t miss out on the Chester City Walls! They’re one of my absolute favorite places to visit in Chester.
Visit the Chester Cathedral
Boasting beautiful architecture, magnificent stained-glass windows, awe-worthy archaeological artifacts, and adorned with breathtaking towers, spectacular spires, and sky-reaching ceilings, the Chester Cathedral is no doubt impressive.
Founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092, it was original built in the Romanesque or Norman style, which can still be seen today in parts of the cathedral.
Although, in 1250 the Chester Cathedral was rebuilt in the Gothic style. A process that took nearly 250 years and resulted in the spectacular structure we see today!
As a prominent icon, the Chester Cathedral is no doubt one the bucket list things to do around Chester.
Interested in learning about the full history of Chester? Book a sightseeing Chester heritage tour!
View the Roman Amphitheater
An incredible site managed by the English Heritage group, the Chester Roman Amphitheater is the largest in Britain.
Dating back to 86 AD, the amphitheater was discovered by the archaeologist W. J. Walrus Williams when a hole was dug for the grounds of the Ursuline Convent to install a heating system.
Nowadays, the amphitheater can be walked around and explored. Visitors can see ruins of the rooms where fighters would wait, the block which would hold and anchor animals (such as bulls or lions), and a large painted mural depicting what the amphitheater would have looked like in the past.
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Admire the Eastgate and Eastgate Clock
One of the more iconic things to see in Chester, the Eastgate and Eastgate Clock stands tall near the luxurious Grosvenor Hotel. Built in 1899, it’s positioned at the original entrance to the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix.
Although the Eastgate dates back to the 2nd century, it was replaced in the 14th century by a stone tower. The present gateway dates back to 1768; in 1899 the clock was added to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria two years earlier.
But even more important… it’s also said to be the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben! Safe to say, it’s definitely one of the more popular Chester tourist attractions. Don’t miss out!
Visiting London while in England? Here’s the muggle’s handbook to visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour!
Shop Around and Walk Through the Chester Rows
Have you ever heard of the Chester Rows? If you’ve never heard of Chester, probably not!
This is because the Chester Rows are a unique design and style for the Tudor buildings in Chester… and, as it happens, the style isn’t found anywhere else in the world!
Dating back to medieval times, the first floor (in America, this is the second floor) of the Chester Rows consists of shops with a covered walkway. The ground floor of shops, often entered by going down a couple stairs, are below the upper row of shops.
Now I know what you may be thinking… this Chester attraction doesn’t sound very interesting. But what makes them cool is that the Chester Rows are completely unique to the city, some of the shops are literally older than the United States itself, and the Tudor design is completely adorable.
Definitely do not skip checking out the Chester Rows!
Psst, want to stay at the best cheap hotels in Chester’s city center? Take a look at this post!
Stroll Through Grosvenor Park
After visiting a good amount of places to visit near Chester, you might want a little break away from the crowds! The Grosvenor Park is the perfect place to do it.
Even though it’s situated right in the middle of the city, the park doesn’t feel like it. Lush with gorgeous greenery like flourishing trees, beautiful bushes, and stunning flowers, it’s a great place for a stroll. You’ll also find an array of ducks and birds making a home throughout the park!
And if you want to relax and take a seat, the park is filled with benches. So, sit back, get comfortable, and do some people or bird watching!
Walk About the Chester Roman Gardens
Many a times, the Chester Roman Gardens are not on the “to-do” list of things to do in Chester… but they should be!
Even though it’s a rather small garden that’ll take you about 20 minutes to walk through (and that’s if you take your time), it’s interesting to see the artifacts, pieces from military buildings, the main baths, relics, and other items collected and excavated from the ancient Roman fortress of Deva.
Even better, the Roman Gardens are situated very close to the amphitheater. Thus, the two Chester tourist attractions can easily be combined.
Check Out the Coffin in the Wall
Now you might have read that and went “whaaaat…?”
But, yes! Right in Chester’s city center in the ruined part of St. John’s the Baptist church, the most fascinating (and creepy) medieval wooden coffin can be found within one of the few standing walls of the former section of the church. Cool, right?
In fact, according to Atlas Obscura, it’s actually called the “Medieval Coffin of St. John’s” and the churchyard claims it to be from the 11th century.
But what’s even creepier about it is that there are actually scratches within the coffin… as if someone was totally buried alive.
Love to see creepy, yet cool things? Check out this abandoned waterpark in Vietnam for inspiration or this bone church in Prague!
Meander Along the River Dee (Old Dee Bridge)
Who doesn’t love taking a leisurely stroll down a beautiful, flowing river? The River Dee flows right through the city and taking in the views whilst walking along it is one of my favorite free things to do in Chester.
Along the banks of the River Dee, you’ll find a beautiful promenade, relaxing views, and restaurants and cafes to grab a bite to eat at. If you want to get out on the river, you can rent yourself a motorboat, rowing boat, or a pedalo to get a different view of Chester from the water.
Additionally, don’t miss out on the Old Dee Bridge when walking along the banks. It’s the oldest bridge in Chester and was originally built in the Roman era. Nowadays, the bridge which can be seen is from a reconstruction in 1387.
View the Chester Racecourse
Known as the Roodee, the Chester Racecourse is the oldest racecourse still in use in England — dating back to the early 16th century!
Now, see, I said “view the Chester Racecourse”… because as a vegan traveler, I do not support horse racing whatsoever. (You can find out why here and here). Thus, I’m not going to tell you to go to a horse racing event at the Chester Racecourse.
Although, even if you don’t go a horse racing event, it’s still cool to checkout the Chester Racecourse from afar! You might even be able to explore the grounds if lucky.
Have a Drink at the Oldest Pub in Chester
Ready to cheers a few beers with a couple of ghosts? Have a drink at the oldest pub in Chester for a super unique experience!
One of the coolest things to do in Chester at night (or in the day depending on your bedtime), the The Pied Bull is the oldest pub in Chester, dating back to the 11th century.
Although, there are few pubs in Chester claiming they’re the oldest… but who knows, right?
Here are a few other pubs worth getting a pint at, where you also might find a couple lost souls wandering the dark halls:
- The Falcon.
- Bear and Billet.
- Blue Bell (neighbor to The Pied Bull).
- The Old Queen’s Head.
- Ye Old Custom House.
Ready to be a more eco-friendly traveler? Here’s 8 super duper easy plastic-free travel tips!
Check Out the Grosvenor Museum
Step back in time and admire some of the Roman artifacts and relics housed in the Grosvenor Museum. One of the best things to do in Chester with kids, this museum covers numerous educational and interesting topics!
For example, visitors learn about habitats, transportation methods, the history of Cheshire, portraits, and even the Vikings. Whilst walking about, follow the a timeline of the history of Chester, going back nearly 2,000 years.
If you’ve done everything else on this list and anything else you want to do in Chester, the Grosvenor Museum is a good place to spend a couple hours learning about the Romans, Chester itself, and a few other bits and pieces of history.
Chester Tourist Map
If you’re wanting to look at a map of the Chester attractions and things to do listed above, here’s a handy dandy Google map!
Places to Stay in Chester
If you’re wondering where to stay in Chester, here’s a few recommendations. Throughout the list, you’ll find something for every budget!
Chester has numerous hotels, bed and breakfasts, AirBnBs, and a few hostels. Whichever you prefer, it’ll likely be right in or very near the center of Chester, as the city isn’t very big!
Recommended Hotels in Chester
If you’re looking to splurge while in Chester, the Chester Grosvenor Hotel is the place to do it. With incredible reviews, smack dab in the center of the city, and surrounded by all the top Chester attractions, this hotel can’t be beat.
Also situated right in the Chester city centre, The Coach House Inn is a 19th century coaching house. Even better? The Chester Cathedral is right across the road! The Coach House Inn also has raving reviews which say it has super duper comfy beds.
The Bull & Stirrup Hotel Wetherspoon is a more affordable option compared to the Chester Grosvenor, yet it still has awesome reviews and is rather close to the city center. The building architecture is also beautiful!
Recommended Bed and Breakfasts in Chester
The Stone Villa Chester is one of the best bed and breakfasts in Chester! Exceptional reviews — of both the hotels itself and the included breakfast — and located near the heart of the city, it’s a great option for those who want a more homey experience.
Recommended Hostels in Chester
The Bunkroom in Chester is right outside the main center of the city, is right next to the Chester train station, and is very affordable. Throughout the reviews, people rave the rooms are clean, comfortable, and not crowded — which is great for a hostel!
More Chester Accommodations
Click here to view my post on the best cheap hotels in Chester, England!
It includes various sections on the best regular hotels, B&Bs, and even haunted pubs where you can stay (and maybe make a few ghost friends!
If you’re planning a trip to Chester, this list gives you the best things to do, top attractions, and cool places to visit, as well as the best accommodations in Chester! And, if you’re like me, you’ll absolutely fall head over heels for this beautiful city.
With its picturesque Chester Rows, breathtaking cathedral, incredible Roman walls, and amazing ancient history, it’s a city worth visiting no doubt.
Tell me, have you ever visit Chester? Or have you ever heard of this little city in northwest England? Let me know in the comments!
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