Do we even need to tell you why Chester should be on your travel list? This picture-perfect city is always topping the polls when it comes to Britain’s best city break destinations.
Soak up stunning views, get to grips with the history and taste some of the city’s top nosh with our 24 hour guide. Before you set out, be sure to drop your bags at Roomzzz Chester City (and yes, before check in time is absolutely fine!).
Get brunch at the Jaunty Goat
Yep, you guessed it from the name, The Jaunty Goat is a lively and quirky little spot to grab some brunch. A definite local favourite and fiercely independent (even down to the playlist which is curated by the owner)! They’ve got trendy decor down to a tee with an exposed original stone wall, industrial details and potted plants dotted about all over the place. We appreciate the wicker goat’s head wall hanger, keeping the goat theme going too.
Hit up this environmentally conscious cafe for great coffee and Instagrammable food. All ingredients are locally sourced, their coffee is fairly traded and they’re on a mission to eliminate unsustainable palm oil from their menu. We recommend the smashed avocado on sourdough with toasted seeds and grains. And to drink? It’s got to be the guest filter coffee which is switched up regularly. At the moment it’s an intriguing Kenyan coffee that smells like tomato soup.
Spend the evening at Storyhouse
This imaginative place is like no other. Catch a stage show or a film, while away an evening reading in the late opening library (seriously, it’s open until 11pm every day) or just wander and explore the extraordinary building. Storyhouse is Chester’s unique cultural hub.
Storyhouse sits in a converted and extended Art deco style building, once home to a single screen Odeon cinema. Original features, like the striped wooden panelling in the lobby and the unusual curved and ribbed ceilings, have been saved and sympathetically restored, and striking new features have been added (hello angular red walk ways and gigantic rainbow light box).
Be sure to book in advance if you’re keen to see a touring West End show or one of their nationally-acclaimed ‘Made in Storyhouse’ productions, in the state-of-the-art transforming auditorium (it can switch between proscenium arch and thrust staging!). Or if film is more your thing, head to the cosy, 100 seat cinema to see a snapshot from one of their mini seasons or the latest box office smash. Honestly, we could bang on about this place all day long but go check it out for yourself!
A bite to eat at Atina Kitchen
Crossing the threshold to Atina Kitchen feels like stepping into someone’s home. In the entrance there’s an antique wooden dresser with a silver drinks tray sat on top, holding glasses and a decanter. There’s coat hooks on the wall, and old black and white photographs in frames. Then step through the big, theatrical curtains and suddenly you’re in a restaurant.
This family run eatery is all about Italian food with modern British twists, to be enjoyed over great conversation. The varied menu changes regularly with the seasons and the focus is on top quality, local ingredients. Tuck into traditional pasta dishes, burgers, daily specials and shareable small plates. We sampled a garden-fresh salad with tender earthy beetroot, halloumi, punchy roquito peppers and harissa yogurt dressing. They’re also a bit gin obsessed, which we love.
Check in to your home from home
Roomzzz Chester City is only a five minute walk away so nip back and get checked in. It’s so much easier to explore when you’ve got the whole city on your door step! You’ve had a jam-packed day so help yourself to a free hot drink and take time to relax any way you like because there’s plenty of room in your apartment.
Amble along the city walls
It’d be a crime to come to Chester without walking the walls. They’re the most complete in Britain, you know. Jump on the red sandstone Roman defences just over the road from the aparthotel (we know, we’ve thought of everything!).
Take a left and you’ll pass the oldest racecourse in the country. Going this way you’re heading round to the River Dee, and you’ll spot Chester Castle as you go. Or take a right and make your way over Watergate Bridge, past two historic towers, and towards gorgeous cathedral views.
You might have gathered by now that strolling the two mile circuit is the best way to take in the sights of the city, but you’ll also get a taste of the history along the way with information panels placed at interesting points.
Shop ‘til you drop on the Rows
Whether you’re a shopaholic or an architecture addict, the Rows are probably one of the reasons you’ve set your sights on visiting Chester. Well it’s finally time to see those stunning, black and white Tudor-style buildings for real. You’re going to need to hone the skill of watching where you’re going and gazing up at the striking two-storey shops, with their unique balconies, very quickly. And don’t worry about your neck, our super comfy beds will sort that out later, just take it all in!
You’ll find all of the usual high street stores, like Jigsaw, Office, New Look and Space NK, along with some standout independents too. These are our favourites:
- The Violet Palm: a really cool plant shop bursting with on-trend greenery. Be warned, it’s going to be hard to leave without buying something! Will it be a heart shaped succulent in a pot or an air plant in a light bulb hanger? And if you’re not so green fingered there are botanical prints, ceramics and macramé by local independent makers. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
- Lily Vintage: pretty much your standard vintage shop full of pre-loved treasures. They sell men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, and stock up according to current trends. There always seems to be a sale on if you enjoy a bit of bargain hunting. Oh and don’t forget to say hi to the stuffed parrot in its cage, just casually hanging out near the doorway.
- Mollie’s Traditional Sweet Shop: you’ve come to a city steeped in history so why not top off the experience with a trip to this charming old fashioned sweet shop? Choose from tubs of pick ‘n’ mix, boiled sweets in big screw top jars, and Mollie’s own brand chocolate bars with flavours like peach bellini.
Make time for the Eastgate Clock
You’re just a stone’s throw away so it’s time for some Eastgate Clock appreciation (see what we did there?). Built in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, this is the jewel in the crown when it comes to Chester’s landmarks. You really have to get an eyeful of its filigree style wrought iron structure to understand what all the fuss is about.
Head up on to the wall to walk right beneath the world-famous clock and don’t forget to grab a selfie while you’re there, for some serious social media points. Fun fact: You’re stood right over where the entrance to the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix once was. You’ll get a great view of the historic Rows from this spot too.