It’s no secret that I love Cheshire in England. It’s also no secret that I know this area better than other areas of England because every couple of years as we were growing up my brother and I were shipped (well, flown) over to England to spend time with our extended family. On each visit we always spent the day at the city of Chester as it was not too far away from where my family lived.
A walled city on the border of Northern Wales, south of Liverpool, Chester is a popular location to visit in England. This is in part due to its classic cobbled streets and British feel, but also due to its long and intriguing history dating back to the time of the Romans. Oh, and it’s a very popular shopping and eating out hub.
History of Chester
Chester has a long and interesting history that dates back to AD70. In this year the area which is now modern Chester was founded by the Roman legion Legio II Adiutrix. This legion built the fortress Deva Victrix. Due to its location and Rome’s desire to invade Ireland, Deva Victrix was a very important fortress during this time. In between AD 70 and AD 80 the now famous walls around the Chester were built in order to protect the fortress and these walls you can still walk on today. Settlements were built around the fortress that eventually became what we see today.
How to get to Chester
Being a popular location in England, Chester is very easy to get to and you have a range of travel options depending where you are coming from.
The Chester Railway Station is located on the outskirts of the city centre, about a 15 minute walk from the city.
The train is a very efficient way to travel across England, and you can easily visit Chester from London as the train journey takes approximately 2 hours each way. Just remember to book your train tickets in advance online to avoid disappointment.
If you are staying in Manchester, you can hop on a train at Manchester Piccadilly and be in Chester 1 to 1.5 hours later. A great way to switch up your Manchester travels and see a bit more of the area. Again, I recommend booking this train journey in advance online.
Liverpool is a popular location in England to visit, and therefore if you have included Liverpool in your itinerary it’s worth hopping on a train for an excursion (day trip or multi-night) to Chester. Chester is only 45 minutes away by train and therefore an easy trip to make. Book online in advance to avoid disappointment.
If tours are your preferred mode of travel, there are a few option here including a day tour from Manchester, a three day tour of Northern Wales and Chester from Manchester and multi-day all of England tours that include Chester. If you make your own way to Chester you can also grab a pass and jump on the hop on hop off sight-seeing bus to check out all the sights within the city.
As my family live relatively close, we always visit Chester by car. There are a few car parks in the area as you can see here on Google Maps.
Why you should visit Chester in England
You can learn about its history
As Chester’s history is one of the big draw cards for visiting this city, there are plenty of ways you can learn more about what shaped Chester to how it is today, including visiting the Roman amphitheatre. You can partake in guided walking tours and public tours guided by a ‘Roman soldier.’
You can walk the walls
The Chester City Walls were built sometime between AD 70 and AD 80 years and today some areas of the walls are almost 2000 years old. Walking the walls of Chester is a very popular activity and you can access the walls via stairs from across the city.
You can take a photo at Eastgate Clock
Eastgate Clock is a Chester landmark, situated above the Eastgate and walls. Said to be the second most photographed clock in England (after the Big Ben in London of course), it marks the original entrance to the Deva Victrix fortress. However, it was actually erected to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 (hence the numbers upon the clock).
Visit Chester Cathedral
The oldest parts of the Chester Cathedral date back to AD 1092 as a place of worship called Benedictine Abbey. It was rebuilt in AD 1250-1525 (as it took about 275 years to do so!) to the Cathedral you see situated in the centre of the city.
There are a lot of eating out options
Seriously, go with an empty stomach and an expectant appetite. It is highly likely you’ll find a cafe, restaurant or bar that will leave you both happy and full.
For a list of great places to eat out in Chester: Restaurants in Chester.
Beware though, a soft serve ice-cream from a van on the street is uber expensive here. This cost about $5.10AUD!! I let the appeal of the flake fool me into just handing out the dollar dollar bills.
It’s full of the classic British photo ops.
Need I say more…
Best Time to Visit
Interestingly left was taken in March (2016) and right was taken in April (2019). A big change just between one month of season change.
Spring time is nice
So are the other seasons
In addition to exploring the city, there is also the world famous Chester Zoo. Located about an 8 minute drive north of the city, this Zoo has been operating for almost 90 years, is one of the biggest in England and a great way to spend a day out. You can find out how to get here: Getting here | Chester Zoo.
These photos are from our last trip there in 2017; however, we used to visit a lot during trips to England as children.
If you are looking for things to do in Chester, you may also be interested in checking out: 8 photos that make me love the British countryside, 10 places you must go in Cornwall, Fisherman’s Cove: Secret spots in Cornwall and Canterbury bed & breakfasts: The Black Horse Inn.