Chester, UK
England United Kingdom

England: Things to do in Chester

Chester, UK

Once you’ve exhausted the bright lights of London, you’ll probably be looking for somewhere which can offer you the best of both worlds; big city excitement with much-needed relaxation. If that’s the case, look no further than Chester, a small but perfectly formed city in the north west of England often overshadowed by nearby Liverpool and just a two hour train journey from London. My guide to this charming city showcases the best Chester has to offer for those looking to enjoy a weekend getaway.

A day at the races
Chester is synonymous with horse racing. The course, known as The Roodee, is just a stone’s throw from the city centre and is the oldest and shortest race course still in use in the United Kingdom today. Chester is also said to be responsible for giving horse racing the nickname, ‘the gee gees’, as the then mayor, Sir Henry Gee outlawed the violent version of football played on the Roodee in 1539. Fast forward several centuries and this Roman city still comes alive on race day with hundreds of people flocking to the city dressed up in their finery to watch the Chester Races. For a more budget-friendly affair, head to the open course where you’re permitted to take your own food and drink or simply watch for free from the Roman wall which overlooks the course. Races take place throughout the summer and promise a carnival atmosphere throughout the city.

Chester races

History galore

Walking through Chester’s charming city centre is a little bit like living in a history lesson with centuries of history visible at every turn. The city rose to prominence during Roman times when the city housed two legions within the walls which still encircle the city. Take the leisurely two mile stroll around the walls to get your bearings and enjoy views across to the North Wales mountain range of Snowdonia on a clear day. Look out for the Eastgate Clock, erected to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, which is today the second most photographed clock in the UK behind London’s Big Ben. The history continues as you indulge in a spot of retail therapy. The city’s iconic black and white half-timbered buildings with shops at ground and first floor level, known as the Rows, are unique the world over. Any shopping trip which can be justified on the grounds of local history sounds pretty good to me!

Chester Cathedral, UK

Space to relax
If you’re travelling long term, slowing down can be the perfect antidote to travel burn out and as far as I’m concerned that means relaxing and enjoying a slower pace of life – living like a local. Chester is a great place to relax thanks to its small town vibe, friendly locals and plentiful green spaces. Even in the heart of the city you’re never too far away from a park where you can relax with a picnic and a spot of sunbathing in the summer. The Roman Gardens are a great choice for watching a film under stars during the summer months while the Meadows just across the River Dee are popular with families come the weekend.

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