Regardless of the time of year or the weather, the city of Chester is an ideal destination for a break away.
In spring and summer, its greenspaces are idyllic for soaking up the rays, while its renowned covered shopping area, the Rows, and its cosy pubs are perfect for when the weather is wet or chilly in autumn and winter.
You may be travelling with friends to take in Chester’s pub scene, or to indulge in some retail therapy. For an outdoor adventure, Chester Zoo with the family may be on the agenda, or a visit to a famous landmark, such as Chester Castle. Whatever your aim, this northwest city has something for everyone.
In this blog, we’ll take an immersive journey into how to make the most out of 24 hours in Chester. When visiting cities, you might find you can experience the highlights in a morning, but Chester is no ordinary metropolis. Once within its ancient Roman walls, you’ll find you’re hard pressed to pack everything it offers in just 24 hours, and may consider extending your visit or booking a return trip as soon as possible.
Deciding on the right base for a Chester adventure
One of the best aspects of staying in Chester is the abundance of accommodation options on offer. Visitors to the city benefit by being able to find the perfect place that is ideally suited to their individual aims. So, whether you’re a privacy-seeking couple on a romantic getaway or travelling with your little ones, there are no shortage of choices.
Many people select their Chester HQ based on location. There are many hotels situated in easy reach of amenities and city attractions, including the esteemed Chester Grosvenor on Eastgate Street, and the Holiday Inn Express at Chester Racecourse. However, those seeking a tranquil place to rejuvenate beyond the walls will find options like the Grosvenor Pulford Spa and the Rowton Hall Hotel and Spa, both just minutes away from the city. Ideal for a rural tour of the Cheshire countryside, the Pheasant Inn is another favoured spot for a stay.
Dating back to the 11th century, Crabwall Manor is a popular destination for those seeking to get “far from the madding crowd”. In a picture-perfect pastoral setting, the hotel features stylish bedrooms uniquely designed for the ultimate in luxury and comfort. Fully equipped, it has a gym, jacuzzi, spa, indoor pool and a renowned restaurant and terrace bar.
Chester also allows guests to enjoy bespoke accommodation. RoomZZZ, for instance, provides aparthotel suites and apartments with or without service, which can include lounge and office areas, kitchen facilities and even penthouse views over the city skyline.
Many family-friendly hotels, guesthouses and motels in Chester will also provide you with cots and other items when you’re travelling with children. There’s also dog-friendly accommodation for bringing your four-legged family member along, such as Sykes Cottages and the Cottage at the Hare, to name but two.
Finally, as an inclusive city that extends a warm welcome to all, Chester has many hotels offering enhanced accessibility for those with mobility requirements, like Doubletree by Hilton Hotel and Spa and the Boathouse Inn & Riverside Rooms.
What kind of food and drink is offered in Chester?
Chester is a mecca for food lovers around the UK, with many restaurants staffed by passionate chefs dedicated to using sustainable and locally sourced produce from across the county. Each year, Chester plays a key role in the region’s famous food event, The Taste of Cheshire Food and Drink Festival. This year’s edition saw the finals held at the city’s revered Chester Racecourse, the oldest racecourse in the world still actively holding events during racing season.
With 24 hours to pass in Chester, you won’t run short of options. In fact, it’s more likely you’ll struggle to decide where to eat. Whatever hour you arrive in the city to begin your visit, you’ll find food to your liking served with your drink of choice. For morning arrivals seeking breakfast, there are plenty of places to choose from. You’ll find comfortable cafes on and around the Chester Rows, the city’s well-known black and white buildings on half-timbered galleries. In such places, you’ll find tea and coffees flowing alongside light bites to eat, but those seeking heartier fare won’t be disappointed by Chester either.
Many hotels and public houses like the Ship Inn offer traditional English breakfasts, home cooked onsite. Those seeking a taste of Europe for their sweet tooth can stop by Zuger’s of Chester. A Swiss-run business operating in the city for decades, it specialises in mouth-watering cakes served with freshly brewed coffee. However, for those looking for a healthy start to the day, it also offers glasses of fruit smoothies and bowls of Swiss muesli topped with strawberries and cherries.
Lunchtime will also present plenty of choices. High-quality fast-food favourites like burgers and pizza are served in multiple restaurants in Chester, elevating them to a gourmet experience with Stile Napoletano, Brewhouse Kitchen and Oak & Smoke Pizza all popular options. The classic pub lunch is also easy to come by at The Chester Fields Country Pub & Restaurant, and The Henry Potts among other venues.
For those seeking something more exotic in the afternoon, Pars Kahve serves lunchtime treats from its Turkish Kitchen, and Veeno on Northgate Street is renowned for its Italian inspired share platters loaded with breads, cheeses, meats and other anti-pasta.
Evening dining in Chester is also a delight. With the city lit up at night, you’ll find endless restaurants and eateries serving late dinners to hungry visitors. While homegrown traditional English dishes are always available, those seeking to eat around the world for their final meal of the day can enjoy Mediterranean, Japanese, Asian, Thai and Italian cuisine arriving on their plate.
Chester is also home to the largest ice cream parlour in the world. Just 20 minutes’ drive from the city, The Ice Cream Farm serves up 50 different flavours of ice cream, along with sorbets for those with an aversion to dairy.
Visitors to Chester will find that many restaurants cater for different diets, with menus including gluten-free and vegetarian options. However, Chester also has options like Shrub, which specialise in creating plant-based delights.
Every manner of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink can be found served before, after and with meals around Chester. So, whether you’re seeking fine wines and spirits, craft beers and real ales, classic or creative cocktails, or simply a soft drink, you’ll be well catered for.
Adventures for all tastes in Cheshire
With just 24 hours in Chester, you’ll have to be selective, and hand pick a personal itinerary that suits your taste. Whether you’re a fan of history or not, a walk around Chester’s Roman Walls is a must. It only takes an hour to tour the walls that encircle Chester, but at any time of the day they offer impressive views across the cityscape. However, if you do love learning about the past, Chester is renowned for its history. You can take a tour led by an expert guide dressed as a roman soldier, or visit sites that date back to the Medieval era.
Chester is also ideal for those who like getting active. Chester Parkrun offers a social experience combined with exercise, while fans of water sports can make the most of the River Dee flowing through the city. Kayaking, canoeing and white-water rafting are all possible in and around Chester, from companies like Chester Kayak Hire and Dee River Kayaking.
Unusual activities in the city also allow you to play games as part of a team. Escapism Chester and Breakout Chester are both popular options, where you can crack clues with your friends and family to escape from themed rooms within the time limit. Treasure Hunt Chester, on the other hand, takes you on a tour of the city to help you find its hidden gems.
Chester city and its surrounding areas also have many world-class attractions. Chester Zoo is a leading conservationist just beyond the walls, and home to more than 500 species, from big cats like tigers, to red pandas and rhinoceroses. It can take a full day to see everything the zoo has to offer, so it might be worth saving it for a longer visit.
Other attractions are specifically designed for families with younger children. For instance, the Ice Cream Farm has a wide range of record-breaking indoor and outdoor play areas, while BeWILDerwood offers adventures based on best-selling children’s books.
The city also has key landmarks, including the grade listed Chester Cathedral and the Eastgate Clock, which are among the most visited sites in the city. ChesterBoat river cruises can be an ideal way to sightsee for those with mobility issues, and included informative commentary and refreshments are served on board.
Your 24 hours in Chester awaits
As you’ve read, Chester is one of the most versatile cities in the UK to visit. With a vast selection of accommodation options that match different tastes and budgets, you can be sure to find your ideal home-from-home with excellent hospitality. When it comes to food and drink, all diets are catered for, with dishes served around the city suited to all ages and inclinations.
All of this will be welcome news, because with the multitude of attractions and activities waiting to be experienced around Chester, you’ll need plenty of sustenance to ensure you’ve got the energy you need, and a place to relax and rest after a fun-filled day in the city.
When you’re mapping out your next expedition to Chester, try out some of our suggestions to optimise enjoyment on your city adventure.