Chester once beat Paris, Rome and Venice in a poll of the most beautiful European cities according to American tourists. We think the following 10 reasons justify those results and Chester’s status as the jewel of the North West.
The city walls
Image by nikoretro
Chester is the only UK city where the full structure of its ancient walls remain intact. Built using striking red sandstone, they complete a full two-mile circuit of the modern-day city. You can follow in the footsteps of Roman soldiers by walking all the way round, taking in all four gates, towers and panoramic views of the city.
The city’s streets are alive with Roman, Saxon and Victorian heritage. The narrow thoroughfares owe everything to Chester’s original medieval design. Lower Bridge Street and Watergate Street’s exceptional half-timbered houses are some of the UK’s best preserved Tudor buildings. There’s barely a modern structure in sight, making Chester a must-visit for fans of historical architecture.
Image by Henry James Ball
Several castles loom over Chester and the nearby landscape. A 25-minute drive from the city, the medieval Beeston Castle sits at the top of a rocky crag and offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Back within the city walls, Chester Castle, founded by William the Conqueror in 1070, stands over the River Dee.
Chester has a handful of glorious Grade I listed bridges to explore. Watergate Bridge forms part of the ancient city walls, Old Dee Bridge is the city’s oldest bridge and Grosvenor Bridge was the longest single-span arch bridge in the world at time of construction in 1832.
The Eastgate towers impressively over the original entrance to Deva Victrix, the Roman fortress that became the present-day city of Chester. It’s not hard to see why this clock face is reported to be the second most photographed clock in England after Big Ben.
Image by Glen Bowman
One of the city’s most distinctive landmarks, the Chester Rows are two-tiered, half-timbered galleries that run the length of four streets in the historic heart of the city. Today, these one-of-a-kind structures (nothing like them exists anywhere else in the world) house high street stores and independent shops and cafes.
Remarkable Roman ruins
Chester’s geographical position made it one of the Roman Empire’s most important outposts in the UK. Discover ancient ruins dotted around the city such as Britain’s largest Roman amphitheatre, which remains a site of great archaeological interest, or take the educational walking tour and hear all about the city’s history from a guide dressed as a soldier.
The River Dee
The stretch of the River Dee that cuts through Chester includes the ‘Groves’, a paved promenade with waterside cafés, restaurants and ale houses. You can stroll by the riverbank, hire a rowing boat or take the load off with a sightseeing cruise of the city.
Gorgeous green spaces
Image by Steve Wilson
Pretty parks, glorious gardens, magnificent meadows, Chester has them all. Grosvenor Park is an ornamental park with a traditional Victorian layout of sweeping lawns and delightful display beds. Ness Botanic Gardens is an award-winning garden that overlooks the Dee Estuary. Chester Meadows is an area of unspoiled grassland and wetland adored by local and visiting walkers.
The city’s collection of churches and cathedrals are a huge draw for tourists. Chester Cathedral is a majestic building, complete with sumptuously carved 14th century stalls, splendid stained glass windows and delightful décor. Founded by King Aethelred of Mercia in 689, St. John’s Church has been rebuilt many times over the years and is now a Grade I listed building.
Staying in Chester
Hallmark Inn Chester is situated in the heart of the city, making it the perfect place to stay when you visit. Just a short walk from the city’s best shops, restaurants and museums, the Hallmark Inn Chester combines excellent value for money with all the modern comforts you’ll need to relax after a day’s exploring.
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