Chester

Chester is a fine city and one that you should allow time to visit. Layers of history surface as you walk around the intimate and characterful streets, Roman walls jostling with internet cafés. We have two cathedrals (although the second is little known), a race-course just minutes from the city centre, unique shopping galleries and a beautiful riverside.

Chester is a surprisingly compact city – it’s easy to get around, and the traffic is much lighter than many visitors expect. There is an excellent park-and-ride service from several points around the city, but if you want to take your car into the centre it’s not too difficult if you choose your time – parking is free after 3pm in many city-centre car-parks.

The city’s Roman history is all around you. The walls are still intact and make an excellent circular walk around the city, taking around an hour or so. You’ll be treated in turn to views of Telford’s canal, the Welsh hills, the bustling city streets and the river. And the recently-excavated amphitheatre is proving to be one of the biggest in the Empire – work is in hand to put right the ravages of past times, when part of the amphitheatre was built over by Victorian developers. The centre of the city is still very much on the Roman town plan, with grids of streets running up and down.

The riverside is striking. A new riverside walk makes for a relaxing promenade, allowing you to admire the many fine merchants’ houses on the tops of the river cliffs. The more energetic can hire a rowing boat to show off their skills – but make sure you don’t stray too near the miller’s weir! Although the mill is long gone, the weir still makes an impressive site, striking diagonally across the river just above Handbridge. This bridge is a mediaeval construction, being just wide enough for one cart and still boasting the refuges for pedestrians.

Further downriver is Harrison’s Grosvenor Bridge (which Telford was adamant would fall down, but which seems to be proving him wrong so far), which provides excellent views of Chester race-course.