You know how good things come in small packages? Well Chester’s a bit like that – this city might be on the small side in comparison to others but the place is packed full of charm, history, stunning sights and awesome eats.
Find our 24 hour guide to Chester, here. And then extend your trip into the ultimate weekend break by taking a peek below…
Grab and go brekkie
Yesterday was pretty fast paced so make it a leisurely morning at Roomzzz Chester City by mooching down to the lounge to get yourself some breakfast. The fresh pastries, fruit and yogurts are on us (and between us, they’re best enjoyed in bed!).
Check out Chester Cathedral
Get your tourist on and head over to the cathedral for the morning – you’d be mad to miss this major attraction while you’re in town. Check out the main church with its colossal sandstone columns, gothic arches and towering, vaulted ceiling. Ogle the incredibly detailed stained glass windows in the cloisters that depict saints, kings and patrons. And enjoy a quiet moment in the garth garden, where the monks would have grown herbs and vegetables.
Chester Cathedral was originally built as a Benedictine monastery in 1092 but the site has been a place of faith for much longer than that, around 2000 years ago there was a Roman temple where the cathedral now sits. And if history’s your thing you can hop on a free guided tour to find out more. You’ll look closer at the detail of the intricately carved solid oak Medieval Quire Stalls, see an unbelievable 200 year old cobweb painting (yes, that’s a thing), and come face to face with the infamous Chester Imp.
Fuel up at The Flower Cup
We bet you’ve never been to a botanical coffee shop before! The Flower Cup is totally unique and really popular with the local cool cats. It’s all about all day brunch at this garden inspired cafe. We recommend trying one of their dishes with a twist, like sweet potato cakes with tender ham hock. All of the ingredients are locally sourced, the menu changes seasonally and there are plenty of vegan and gluten free options. They hand craft a mean speciality coffee too.
But it’s not just the food that we’re obsessed with, the interior is seriously Instagram friendly! Pose in a high backed wicker peacock chair or order a flowering tea to use as a prop. There’s plants all about, sprouting from pots, creeping along shelves and hanging from the ceilings. Oh and there’s a few neon signs thrown in for good measure as well.
Spend the afternoon on the river side
Time for some fresh air – get yourself down to the River Dee. The river front is the place to be as soon as the sun comes out. Grab an ice cream from one of the cute, cylindrical red and white ice cream huts, then watch the river rushing by from a bench. Or take a stroll to see Old Dee Bridge, the fancy, wrought iron bandstand and the skeletal Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge.
This is the place to jump on a boat tour. And while we’re on the subject of boats…you can have a pint in Chester’s only (surprise, surprise!) floating beer garden at The Boathouse pub. It’s built on top of the base of a boat and the ship’s wheel has even been left intact on the deck, amongst the tables and chairs. Top that of with strings of lights and bunting and we’re taken! Pass a bowl of chunky chips!
Get to grips with the history
Channel your inner nerd with a trip to Chester’s top museum, the Grosvenor Museum. This place is a complete A to Z of the city’s heritage. In the Roman galleries find out about everyday life in Roman Chester, the history of the city walls and the iconic amphitheatre. See artefacts like ceramics, coins and even skeletons, up close. And build your own Roman arch.
There’s an art gallery full of oil paintings of the local area, famous horses that have raced on Chester racecourse and portraits of significant people from the area. The richly toned oil of canvas depicting the ruins of Beeston Castle is especially awe-inspiring. If taxidermy doesn’t make your toes curl then head into the natural history gallery to find out about wildlife in the River Dee. Or delve into the history of Chester silver in the silver gallery.
But before you step inside, be sure to marvel at the beautiful brick and sandstone, Victorian building that houses the museum. There’s a fabulous turret on the left side of the building and the front is covered with intricate sandstone carvings of peacocks, women in Grecian gowns and more.
Hit up Hypha for the evening
Hypha is possibly the coolest bar in Chester and very new on the independent scene in the city. Stepping inside this place is like walking into a pinterest board. The bar has a polished concrete top and is covered in THOSE antique star tiles (you know the ones), rusty chains create an entrance space and there’s plants and industrial touches here, there and everywhere.
Sustainability is at the fore here so we’re talking plant based food and fermented craft cocktails. Tuck into hot and cold small plates that change through the seasons to suit produce availability. The menu is one of the most exciting and imaginative that we’ve seen with options like veg carpaccio and 24 hour fermented focaccia.
And the cocktails are nothing short of amazing. We’ve never tasted anything like it before, the kombucha fermented base provides a whole new world of flavour – it’s bitter but sweet with a salty edge. Ever experienced the taste of geranium paint before? Well you can here. And if you can’t find something you fancy on the menu, the staff will be more than happy to mix you up a custom cocktail. We’re seriously impressed.
Raring to visit Chester now that you’ve found out all of the local hotspots? Check availability at the Chester aparthotel, here.