Newest Review: ... other city centre Chester is crammed full of thriving shops. But its not the contents of the shops that draws the tourists it's the buil... more
Home of the most complete city wall in the UK
Chester in General
Member Name: moo2moo
Chester in General
Advantages: Lots to see and do, remember to bring flat shoes though
Disadvantages: Cobbled streets are hard on your knees and unforgiving to those in heels
Ask any tourist about Chester and they'll tell you that they are there to walk the walls for the city of Chester is encircled by the most complete city wall in the UK measuring almost two miles in length. The original parts dates from 70AD although its since been extensively enlarged and improved resulting in a combination of architectural styles which are predominantly Medieval. Walking the walls is one of the citys most well known tourist attractions. Perhaps the best known feature of the walls is the Eastgate Clock which rises majestically over the city and is the second most photographed clock in the world. It was built to commemorate Queen Victorias Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The views from the wall are breathtaking. On a clear day you can see as far as the Welsh Mountains. Even on an overcast day it allows you an aerial view of the eclectic architectural styles of the city.
Like any other city centre Chester is crammed full of thriving shops. But its not the contents of the shops that draws the tourists it's the buildings that house them. Browns department store features a café housed in a crypt complete with sweeping gothic arches and original exposed stonework. The delights of Browns don't stop there. The building itself has Georgian and Tudor facades whilst inside is a breathtaking array of elaborate plaster cornices, enormous chandeliers and glass domed roofs. Chester is one of those citys where the most fascinating details are where you least expect to find them making them all the more spectacular for it. Stand on any street and look upwards for the best views of the city.
Unique to Chester are the rows. Such a simple statement and yet it covers so many eccentricities. The rows are a second tier of shops running above the main shopping streets. Much like any modern shopping mall excepting that this one is outdoors and dates from Tudor times. Despite this the rows are fully wheelchair accessible albeit from the streets behind the rows or via the lift of the modern Grosvenor shopping centre. For the able bodied access is up very steep and very narrow flights of stone steps dotted between shop fronts. Its worth visiting the cafes on the rows just to sit and watch life pass by.
To find out more about the history of Chester you can take a walking tour with a roman legionnaire from the Deva Experience or visit the free Grosvenor Museum in the heart of the city. Theres also an ongoing archaeological dig exposing the site of a roman amphitheatre with a pedestrian walkway running above it so that you can view the excavations without disturbing the archaeologists. A less energetic way to see the city is from one of the city tours open top busses. Wrap up warm though as it can be chilly even in the middle of the summer. On a dark winters evening the Ghost Hunter tours are lots of fun. Wear flat shoes though as heels tend to snag and snap in the cobbled streets.
A far more relaxing way to view the city is from one of the many city cruise boats. These last anything from 30 minutes to a full evening and its possible to have dinner on board too. Themed Abba cruises are currently very popular with the Japanese tourists. Perhaps floating karaoke is a novelty?
Parking within the city is limited, its far easier to use one of the three out of town park and ride sites which cost £1.70 per adult (free for children and subsidised for OAPs) with a shuttle service running at 10 minute intervals throughout the day.
Slightly further afield you're spoilt for choice with Chester's multi-award winning zoo, The Blue Planet Aquarium and Techniquest@Glyndwr within 15 minutes drive.
For visitors arriving by rail Chesters newly refurbished railway station is five minutes brisk walk from the city although theres also a free shuttle service from the bus stop outside the stations main entrance.
Summary: This citys meant for walking