Interested in visiting our magnificent city, but unsure as to where to begin? Don’t panic! Below we have listed 25 of our top things to do, from accommodation to retail, and everything in between!

Dine in Style at…

Simon Radley

Having held a prestigious Michelin star since 1990, and also having been award 4 AA Rosettes, elegant and delectable dishes are served as standard at Simon Radley. This luxurious establishment, located inside the iconic Chester Grosvenor Hotel (see below), is named after its renowned Executive Chef who, alongside an exceptionally talented team, produce superior dishes time and time again. Assisted by one of the restaurant’s expert Sommeliers, pair each decadent course with a glass of one of the 700 wines stored in The Cellar for a truly eloquent evening.

At the time of writing, Simon Radley is serving only its Tasting Menus – eight-course spectaculars starting from just £79 per person. As expected, each course has a complementary accompanying wine, which can be viewed on the full Wine Flight menu. Vegetarian and Vegan Tasting Menus are also available.

Food from Simon Radley

Shrub

Situated on The Rows, Shrub is one of Chester’s newest arrivals and boasts a mouth-watering plant-based menu alongside a stylish, modern café ambience to match! Food is served Monday to Saturday, 11am-9pm, with savoury offerings including Salt ‘n’ Pepper Edamame, Poké Bowl, Laksa Curry, and Sweet Potato Fries! Those with a sweet tooth should look forward to Shrub’s Raspberry & Chocolate Tart, Oreo Brownie, and House Doughnuts.

Naturally, Shrub caters to vegetarian and vegan diets, but many of their options are also suitable for other needs – simply ask the team when you arrive.

Outdoor seating at Shrub


Sip a Beverage (or Two) at…

Oddfellows

The quirky boutique hotel Oddfellows boasts two magnificent bars. First is The Lounge Bar, housed in a classic panelled Georgian drawing room, complete with welcoming lounge furnishings and a cosy fireplace. Second is The Secret Garden, a walled retreat brimming with floral designs and fun furnishings including curious garden gnomes and ginormous lamps – truly unique!

Whichever bar you choose, be sure to try one of Oddfellow’s iconic cocktails such as ‘La Viola Rosa’ or ‘Toasted Marshmallow Espresso Martini’, or a traditional offering such as a ‘Porn Star Martini’. The team can even rustle you up a non-listed classic if you so wish! Even better? On Thursdays and Fridays between 5pm and 9pm, it is 2 for £12 on selected cocktails!

In the mood for something different? Why not try one of the spirits from Oddfellows’ extensive selection (including tequila, cognac, vodka, whiskey, and gin)? Alternatively, there are wines spanning all flavour profiles, and international beers to go around (including a 0% option)!

Those simply preferring a soft beverage are also spoilt for choice with over 15 options including lemonade, pineapple juice and Pepsi to name a few. Hot drinks are also plentiful, with offerings including ‘Fruits of Eden Tea’, americano, and hot chocolate.

Please note that The Lounge Bars is not suitable for wheelchair users. Whilst The Secret Garden is accessible, the frontage of the hotel does have stairs that presently cannot be avoided, so act at your own discretion.

Oddfellows Secret Garden

The Secret Garden at The Townhouse

With a tempting cocktail menu boasting sensational medleys such as Mojito, Negroni, and Blue Colada, alongside those designed to be shared, and non-alcoholic renditions, The Secret Garden is amongst the greatest social drinking spots in the city. With boho, cool and relaxed vibes in the garden, it is extremely Instagrammable too!

Not a fan of cocktails? The Secret Garden also boasts an eclectic mix of premium spirits, wines, beers, and ciders. If you’re bringing a gathering, why not purchase one of the site’s ‘Buckets’, offering sharing quantities of (sparkling) wines, beers, shots, and bottles?

Like Oddfellows, please note that, whilst The Secret Garden itself is accessible for wheelchair users, the frontage of the hotel does have stairs that presently cannot be avoided.

The Secret Garden at The Townhouse. Credit The Townhouse

CUPS Coffee and Boardgames

CUPS flawlessly pairs great coffee-shop beverages with board games, making it the perfect destination for a refreshing (and competitive) few hours! All of the coffee at CUPS is made with the finest Arabica speciality beans, originating from Brazil, Costa Rica, and Indonesia, and many of the site’s teas can be served either in a bag or as loose leaf. Those with dietary restrictions are catered for as CUPS boasts a wide range of milk substitutes.

However, it is not just hot drinks that can be enjoyed at CUPS! The café boasts a mouth-watering selection of specials including the stunning ‘Raspberry and White Chocolate Milkshake’, and fresh baked goods to please all!

The downstairs café area in CUPS is fully accessible (bar a slight lip on the door), and games can be played in this area if guests are unable to access the main gaming zone upstairs.

Coffee and board games at CUPS


Enjoy a Comfortable Slumber at…

ABode

Offering unparalleled views of England’s oldest working Racecourse, a few nights in this stylish and unique 4* city-centre hotel should not be missed!

All of ABode’s rooms and suites are classified into its trademark categories, ranging from ‘Comfortable’ to ‘Most Fabulous’, but rest assured that all come with a luxurious bed and a contemporary en-suite bathroom as standard, alongside a safe, unlimited free Wi-Fi, and air-conditioning. Rooms can be booked on both room only and breakfast included rates.

Breakfast is served daily in Brasserie Abode, the site’s fifth-floor dining room boasting impressive views spanning Chester and the Welsh Hills! From the classic Full English Breakfast to a Coconut Chia Pudding, the breakfast menu offers something for everyone! Brasserie ABode’s dinner offerings are equally expansive, with all dishes revolving around comforting and nostalgic classics.

ABode boasts four adapted rooms, and wheelchair users can be dropped off at the front of the hotel. Lifts are present within the hotel, and disabled toilets are available throughout the site.

Room with claw foot bath at ABode

The Chester Grosvenor

With each room and suite being individually designed and decorated with only the finest furnishings and fabrics, a stay at The Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire’s only 5* hotel, is the perfect luxurious city retreat. All of the site’s rooms and suites are fully air-conditioned and double-glazed, and feature a slimline TV, towelling bathrobes, luxurious toiletries and more, allowing for nothing less than indulgence. Each en-suite features marble flooring and, in the majority of rooms, an integrated bath and shower.

For the most elaborate stay, consider hiring the Presidential Suite. Offering a private cloakroom, study, and formal dining area, alongside a Japanese style double-ended bathtub and double vanities, luxuriating is guaranteed.

As mentioned above, The Chester Grosvenor is home to the iconic Simon Radley restaurant. As well as this, it boasts La Brasserie, a vibrant 2 AA Rosette restaurant serving contemporary dishes alongside glamorous Champagne, and the Arkle Bar, a room of elegance and sophistication offering an interesting array of malts, vintage ports, liquors, and wines, all alongside Traditional Afternoon Teas.

Finally, The Chester Grosvenor also houses a magnificent Spa complete with a Thermal Suite and ELEMIS treatments to name a few!

Room at The Chester Grosvenor

Oakwood Farm Chester

Home to both Mews Accommodation and a Touring Park, Oakwood Farm Chester offers its guests retreats that are close to nature at competitive, affordable price points.

In the Mews Accommodation, nine comfortable rooms are offered, each available as either a Double or Twin and boasting a spacious en-suite shower room, free Wi-Fi, and a Smart TV.

Those with tents, motorhomes, and caravans may prefer a pitch on the Touring Park, all of which feature water and electric hook-up as standard. There is a gravel road throughout the site, allowing for easy access to each pitch. Oakwood Farm also boasts a modern heated shower block with separate male/female facilities. In the mood for a campfire or BBQ? As long as it is off the floor and on the slabs provided, go ahead!

Regardless of which option you choose, for a fee of £8.95 per person, enjoy a Full English Breakfast in the morning at the on-site Café/Tea Rooms (other options available), and other light bites and refreshments throughout the day! Parking throughout the whole site is free.

Oakwood Farm sign

Pitch & Canvas                                                                                              

Nestled in the Chester countryside, Pitch & Canvas allows for a relaxing, reflective, and aesthetic break from the burdens of daily life. Whether you seek a glamping pod or bell tent, spacious camping pitch (with or without electric hook up), or a cosy holiday home, the site boasts something for everyone!

For campers and glampers, make use of Pitch & Canvas’ newly built toilet and shower block which also, conveniently, features a washing up area. Those staying in one of the site’s two static homes should enjoy the spacious living areas with fitted kitchens and dining rooms, ensuite bathrooms, and views of the onsite working dairy farm! Staying in a glamping pod or bell tent? Appreciate the uniqueness of your ‘room’, and the simplicity of having your accommodation set-up before your arrival – meaning more time to enjoy your stay!

Please note that, due to COVID-19, guests are required to bring their own pillows and duvets.

Glamping pod at Pitch & Canvas


Marvel at Our Fabulous…

Roman Amphitheatre

Did you know that Britain’s largest Roman Amphitheatre was located in the Deva Victrix (Chester)? Centrally located, the site has actually housed two Amphitheatres throughout time, the first of which was built in the late 70s AD by Legion II, and then left disused until around 275 AD. However, there is evidence that, between 275 AD and 350 AD, the restored site was in constant use by residents and visitors for both recreations, public executions, and military training.

As well as seeing the remnants of the structure itself onsite, including a Shrine and Execution Stone, loose artefacts that were uncovered during the Amphitheatre’s partial excavation in 2005 can be seen at The Grosvenor Museum (see below).

Whilst wheelchair users may be unable to enter the Amphitheatre, accessible paths surround this must-see attraction, allowing it to be clearly seen and admired from above.

Roman Amphitheatre Chester

Roman Gardens

Standing just outside of the City Walls, and close to the River Dee, are Chester’s Roman Gardens. Curiously, these were not constructed by the Romans, but rather contain uncovered building fragments and replicas of structures from the given era.

Be sure to admire the imposing columns which originated from the Roman Bathhouse, the reconstructed Hypocaust (underfloor heating), and Roman ‘bathrooms’ to name a few! Information panels throughout the site provide detailed insights into the gardens’ features.

As well as being historically rich, the Roman Gardens are extremely pleasing to the eye and boast a truly relaxing ambience, so why not relax here for a while and watch the world pass by? Ice cream can be purchased on the adjacent Groves for a sweet something to enjoy at the same time!

The Roman Gardens are mostly accessible with stable, sloped pathways, although steps are required to enter if coming via Pepper Street.

Roman Gardens - Credit Tony Worrall

City Walls and Eastgate Clock

Chester’s City Walls are the most complete of their kind in Britain! Over time, their Roman foundations have been built upon, and now feature Saxon, Norman, and Victorian additions to name a few. Plus, their purpose has varied greatly through the years, from being initially constructed as an ancient defensive mechanism, to later being a fashionable promenade, all the way to their status nowadays as a Scheduled Monument and a major tourism attraction.

Alongside a vast history, the 3km City Walls circuit provides unparalleled views of the city, showcasing sights such as The Groves, Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower, Chester Cathedral, and Chester Racecourse! Plus, be sure to admire the stunning, multi-coloured clock, erected to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. In fact, this could well be the second most photographed clock in the country!

The City Walls are generally accessible for wheelchairs, although some areas will need to be bypassed. With multiple entry/exit points throughout the Walls, this is extremely feasible.

The Eastgate Clock and city walls. Credit Ioan Said

City from Aboard ChesterBoat

Operating in the city for over forty years, ChesterBoat takes visitors and tourists on a relaxing 30-minute sightseeing cruise along the River Dee, showcasing the Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge, Grosvenor Park, the sweeping Meadows, and the majestic suburb of Boughton to name a few. Each journey is accompanied by informative commentary (either live or pre-recorded) and a fully stocked bar.

Whether embarking on the Mark Twain, Lady Diana, or the Jackie, all trips depart from The Groves, and typically sail every 30 minutes. All tickets are valid for any cruise on your chosen day, meaning you can depart whenever best suits your schedule.

In terms of accessibility, only the Lady Diana and Mark Twain can accommodate wheelchairs. However, disabled toilets are not present due to size limitations.

The Lady Diana sailing on the River Dee

Animals at Chester Zoo

From spectacular sun bears to fantastical fish, and from ravishing rhinos to sedentary seoths alongside many, many more species, Chester Zoo promises a great day out for all! This animal welfare charity is home to over 20,000 individuals and has been working to prevent extinction for over 90 years! As you venture around the carefully themed sections of Chester Zoo, learn all about the various species, observe their behaviours, and feel free to ask the friendly rangers and volunteers about the animals!

Be sure to also admire Chester Zoo’s award-winning gardens amongst the site’s 128 acres of land, take a leisurely sail on the Lazy River Boat experience, and either peck at (or devour) food from its countless onsite food outlets. Serving all matter of dishes from fragrant Asian classics to fast-food delights, and ice-cream aplenty, there will likely be something for all! If nothing does take your fancy, why not enjoy a picnic on one of the designated benches around the park?

Please note that, at the time of writing, Chester Zoo requires all visitors to pre-book their tickets (exclusively via Chester Zoo). On extremely busy days, queuing for some attractions and exhibits should be expected. The zoo is predominately accessible, and wheelchairs and scooters can be hired. Accessible toilet facilities are available, and carers are permitted free entry.

Tiger cubs at Chester Zoo

Cathedral

Uniquely blending Medieval and Modern history is Chester Cathedral, a magnificent institution which has been blessing the city since its humble beginnings as a Benedictine abbey in 1093. The Cathedral which can be seen today was rebuilt from 1250 onwards in the dramatic Gothic style. As you tour this impressive building, be sure to notice the marvellous stained-glass windows, tombs of Chester’s Earls and religious patriarchy, and, a new addition, the Cathedral in LEGO! If you need a break, retreat to the onsite Rectory Café!

Subject to when you visit Chester Cathedral, you may be able to catch a showing of one of your favourite films, courtesy of Moonlight Flicks. This outdoor cinema event takes place in the Dean’s Field and is a firm favourite seasonal event for residents and visitors alike!   

The ground levels of Chester Cathedral are mostly accessible, so the whole group can enjoy this majestic historic structure in all of its glory! The Dean’s Field is grassy, so enter at your own discretion. Subtitled film showings are available, and other needs may be catered for upon request. 

Interior of Chester Cathedral. Credit Ioan Said


Experience the Excitement of…

Vertigo at Carden Park

Located in the grounds of Cheshire’s ‘Country Estate’ is the newly-opened Vertigo. Perfect for adrenaline junkies and wannabe monkeys, Vertigo’s ariel track will see you crawling, leaping, and balancing as you combat a wide array of obstacles as you try to reach the end of the course! Once you reach the end, you must choose between bravely completing a free-fall jump from up to 10m (into a giant stunt pillow) or soaring across the 210m zip line!

Additionally, your session will include access to the site’s climbing wall, perfect for competing against other members of your party, or simply learning and refining a new skill!

Before commencing your Vertigo journey, you will be provided with safety equipment and a full briefing, and qualified instructors will supervise you once on the main course. Due to the physical demands of Vertigo, it is unsuitable for those with mobility issues.

Aerial adventure course at Vertigo at Carden Park

Kayaking on the River Dee

Courtesy of Dee River Kayaking, visitors can now take to the River Dee for an exciting water sports excursion. Those looking for a mellow paddle, and perhaps a healthy dose of nature spotting, should consider a Calm Water Kayaking Trip, taking place on still water or areas with only a gentle flow. Those after something a little more extreme should choose a Grade 2 White Water experience, taking place around the mighty Chester Weir! Whichever variant you choose, be sure to meet your expert guide at Sandy Lane Car Park at your allocated time.

On White Water trips, please wear a bathing suit to go under your wetsuit (provided). Calm Water trip-goers should simply wear clothes they don’t mind getting wet. All kayakers should wear open toe footwear and bring a spare pair of shoes.

Like Vertigo, the physical demands of Dee River Kayaking render it unsuitable for guests with mobility issues.

Man padlleboarding on the River Dee with Dee River Kayaking

Race Day at Chester Racecourse

Established in 1539, Chester Racecourse is officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest of its kind still in operation in the world! Not only this, but the racecourse has consistently been awarded the Gold Standard Award by the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), and has received the title of Large Racecourse of the Year on more than one occasion!

Between May and September each year, Chester runs several lively fixtures, with entry prices starting at just £10 for those on the Open Course, reaching £140 for those seeking the luxuries of the Champagne Garden! With children under 17 being able to attend race days free of charge, they make for a great, affordable family day out!

Chester Racecourse has a wheelchair route running throughout, and disabled parking can be arranged at the adjacent Holiday Inn Express.

Race Day at Chester Racecourse

Grosvenor Park’s Attractions

Dating back to 1867 and covering 20 acres, Grosvenor Park is one of Chester’s most stunning green areas. In fact, it is Grade II registered and a designated Green Flag Park! Within the park’s formal gardens lie trees, statues, ornamental shrubs, and iconic features including the Quarry Garden and St. Mary’s Nunnery Arch!  

As well as the stunning grounds, the beloved Miniature Railway onsite is a must-ride attraction, particularly for granny, grandad and the grandchildren! Built in 1996 to commemorate the centenary of the Duke of Westminster’s railway at the nearby Eaton Hall, a ride on the steam and diesel hauled train along the ¼-mile-long circuit is not to be missed!

A seasonal fixture is the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, bringing professional performances to the serene parkland each summer! This year’s shows are The Jungle Book, Merry Wives of Windsor, and Pride and Prejudice, each promising a hearty supply of laughs, tears, and quality entertainment!

Grosvenor Park is mostly accessible. Free public toilets can be found on site.

Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway

The Ice Cream Farm

Officially holding the Guinness World Record for the ‘largest ice cream parlour’ is The Ice Cream Farm! This family-orientated attraction boasts over 50 flavours of ice cream, ranging from Salted Caramel to Bubblegum, with non-dairy offerings to match! Plus, the site’s drive through has recently been made a permanent fixture, making for optimal convenience!

As well as great ice cream, The Ice Cream Farm has a variety of themed play areas, perfect for the children! Visit Daisy’s Garden and explore the magic of the Flavour Forest, Mini Scoop to control your very own digger, and Rocky Road to try a bit of off-roading in actual mini Land Rovers! Of course, these are just a few of the many themed areas on offer!

All areas of the site except The Loft and The Ice Cave are accessible. The Ice Cream Farm also runs regular SEN sessions.

Child playing at The Ice Cream Farm play area


Broaden Your Knowledge with…

Sick to Death

Guided by the Grim Reaper and Asclepius, the ancient Greek God of medicine, explore the weird and wonderful history of health and medication. Discover where hidden bacteria lie, perform an autopsy on an unfortunate civilian, get a whiff of the smells of days gone by, and learn about the crazy remedies which were once considered best medical practice!

This quirky and informative attraction has not long been open, but has already been flooded with positive feedback, so is certainly worth visiting! Please note that, due to its location, Sick to Death is unsuitable for visitors with mobility issues. Parental advisory is also recommended in a certain exhibit (cleverly disguised by a red curtain and cage door).

Exterior of Sick to Death

Roman Tours

Guided by an authentic Roman soldier, discover Chester as it was during its time as the Deva Victrix with Roman Tours. From the locations of key fortress buildings to strict gender roles, and from grooming habits to cutting-edge entertainment, these fresh, factual, and light-hearted tours are certain to leave you with new perspectives on the Roman era of history! Feel free to ask your designated guide additional questions about the era too, they will happily share this knowledge!

All tours depart from Chester’s Visitor Information Centre (at 12.00 and 15.00) and are suitable for all guests, young through old. If notified at the time of booking, the tour route can be adjusted to accommodate the needs of those with limited mobility.

Roman Tours. Credit Ioan Said

The Grosvenor Museum

Also sharing the vast history of our magnificent city (and county) is The Grosvenor Museum. Spread across multiple floors, the museum’s exhibits showcase artefacts from as early as pre-history up until the 20th century, with noteworthy specimens including the fossils of Chirotherium, the skeleton of an extremely young roman soldier, and a painting by William Huggins (1800) containing an uncertain number of sheep!

All of the galleries feature a range of interactive models, screens, and activities to make visits to The Grosvenor Museum as interesting and enjoyable as can be!

Wheelchair access is possible for the ground floor, and there is an accessible toilet too. Sadly, there is no lift to the first-floor exhibits.

Exterior of The Grosenor Museum


Indulge in Some Retail Therapy at…

The Rows

Nobody is sure exactly why Chester’s half-timbered galleries exist, but what is certain is that they constitute a perfect location for a spot of retail therapy, essentially giving you two high streets in one! From independent gems including Powells Vintage Jewellery and Tea Islands, to high-street heroes such as Waterstones Books and French Connection, you will be spoiled for choice on The Rows! Perhaps treat yourself to a pampering at The Scented Garden Retreat, or a new outfit courtesy of Nichols & Co, and a gift from Harriet & Dee!  

There are four main access points for The Rows which can be seen here.

Woman looking out over Chester from The Rows

Chester Market

Boasting a reputedly friendly and lively atmosphere alongside independent retailers of all sorts, a trip to Chester Market offers a retail experience second to none! Visit Away with the Fairies for mystical ornaments, Bookingham Palace for books galore, Exotic Booze Club for quirky alcohols, and Jap Tech for inspired technology offerings! Alongside these traders are many more, including a number of food stalls such as Jeffro’s Wingz an Tingz, Thai by Thai, and The Sandbar Seafood Shack!

Chester Market is completely accessible, meaning its offerings can be enjoyed by all!

Jeffro's Wingz an Tingz at Chester Market

And finally…

Having read all of our above suggestions, you now NEED to book your staycation to Chester- we look forward to welcoming you! Let us know which of these activities and products you want to try, and be sure to tag us in any relevant images on social media using #Chester!

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Roman Garden Chester. Credit ChesterBID

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1 Comments

Comments

  1. Fran
    Always a Southerner never realised such
    a beautiful place like Chester. Although
    now of a cerain age, must find a reasonable souce to visit your City.

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