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25 Best & Fun Things To Do in Chester (England)

As someone who grew up, went to school and lives in the city, I’m very well-placed to tell you about all the great things to do in Chester!

It’s the county town of Cheshire and despite it being much smaller than nearby Manchester and Liverpool, there are plenty of attractions to see.

From those available in the city centre to the sights a bit further outside the city, there is so much to do! This list will contain places you may not be aware of thanks to my local knowledge!

Chester is one of the most historic cities in England, as it was the capital during the Roman occupation.

Due to this, several historical sites are dotted about the city, most notably the Roman Amphitheatre and Walls.

But, it’s not all about the Romans, you can go on beautiful walks around the countryside, and take in some of the oldest pubs in the UK!

If you’re wondering what to do in Chester, armed with my local knowledge you’ll discover plenty of great things to do during your time in the city!

Things To Do in Chester

me and my friends in a bar in Chester
Me and my friends in a bar in Chester

Here’s a map to help you navigate around the city and discover where everything is. You’ll find all the main attractions listed below and many more too!

Eastgate Clock

Price: Free | Location: Centre

Eastgate Clock in Chester
View of the Eastgate Clock

My old geography teacher used to refer to the Eastgate Clock, as the second most photographed in the world.

I think she made a mistake!

However, it is the second most photographed clock in the UK after Big Ben, which is probably what she meant!

The clock is beautiful, and stands out when you wander down Foregate Street, the main street in the city! It was built in 1899 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

The clock links parts of the City Walls together and offers a great vantage point of Chester. You can see the Rows clearly from here and it’s a great spot for some photos!

If you spend a weekend in Chester, the Eastgate Clock is one spot you can’t miss!

Roman Amphitheatre

Price: Free | Location: Centre

view of the half-excavated roman amphitheatre in chester

Although only part of the amphitheatre is excavated, it’s still an impressive sight and easily one of the best places to visit in Cheshire!

One of the incredible facts about the amphitheatre is that it was only rediscovered in 1929! The council had to divert the ring road, which goes around the amphitheatre before they dug it up!

This is one of my favourite places in the city and one I regularly visit as I’m just awed by the historical significance!

The scale of the amphitheatre becomes clear once you step down into it. You can get a sense of what it must have been like when gladiatorial battles took place here 2000 years ago.

Unfortunately, reenactments don’t take place today. That may change if the other half of the amphitheatre is excavated, but with a listed building on that land, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon!

The Chester Rows

Price: Free | Location: Centre

The Rows Chester
The lower and upper levels of The Rows on the right

The Chester Rows are covered walkways that are on the first floor of the four main streets in Chester.

The walkways are home to several shops and are unique to Chester. It’s unsure how they came about, but they date from the 13th century.

Growing up in Chester has dulled my amazement at their structure, however, they truly are an impressive sight! They’re one of the main reasons Chester is one of the best places to visit in northern England!

They are the perfect place to go shopping in Chester, with many unique shops lining the Rows. You can also admire the architectural detail and the history of the rows.

Don’t miss out on a visit to the Three Old Arches, the earliest shopfront still surviving in England today!

Minerva Shrine

Price: Free | Location: Edgar’s Field, Handbridge

a shrine to the Roman Goddess Minerva that has weathered away over time
Shrine to the Roman Goddess Minerva in Handbridge

This is one of the more interesting things to see in Chester. It is a shrine to the Roman Goddess of war, knowledge and craftsmanship, Minerva. It’s located in Edgar’s Field, Handbridge, just over the river from the city centre.

The shrine is carved into the face of a sandstone quarry and is the only monument of its kind in Western Europe that remains in its original location.

The carving has weathered over the years, but you can make out the outline of Minerva. The shrine is beside what would have been the old Roman main road into the city.

Its importance may have diminished in the intervening years, but the Minerva is an interesting place to visit in Chester nonetheless!

Chester Cathedral

Price: Free | Location: City centre

The entrance to Chester Cathedral
The entrance to Chester Cathedral

The Cathedral is one of the best and most interesting places in Chester. The site of the cathedral dates from 1093 and has been modified several times since.

Inside, the cathedral is striking, and you will want to take a moment to soak in the architecture of the building.

If you do the tower tour, you can see the city from 125 feet above the ground. From here, you can see two countries and five counties. Not a bad view at all!

One of the best things about the Cathedral is the falconry in its gardens. This is a fantastic activity to do, and you will learn lots about birds of prey and explore the beautiful nature in the Cathedral’s gardens.

If you only have 24 hours in Chester, then you have to make sure you check out the cathedral for all the reasons above. It’s a truly magnificent building.

Chester Racecourse

Price: Free to enter on non-race days | Location: City centre

racecourse in chester with car park visible in the foreground

If you’re visiting Chester during the summer months, one of the most exciting things to do is to check out the racecourse during a race weekend.

The racecourse is a few minutes’ walk from the city centre making it an ideal place to visit if you’re in the city!

Chester Racecourse is the oldest racecourse in England, which is still in use. Horse racing at Chester dates back to the Sixteenth century!

If you’re in Chester on a race weekend, it’s still worth going down to the racecourse. It straddles the Roman Walls, and you will get a fantastic overview of the course from up high!

Crocky Trail

Price: Adults – £10; Children – £15 | Location: Cotton Abbotts, Waverton

If you’re looking for exciting things to do in Chester, a trip to the Crocky Trail is right up your street!

The Crocky Trail is an adventure playground located in Waverton, which is about 10 minutes from the centre of Chester.

If you’re travelling with kids, this is an ideal place to go. They will love the slides and all the apparatus around the park. I can testify that adults will also have a lot of fun here too!

The Crocky Trail may not be for everyone, but if you want some outdoor activities to do while you’re in Chester, this is the place to go!

Ice Cream Farm

Price: Free (Ice Creams are not!!) | Location: Drumlan Hall, Newton Ln, Tattenhall

It can be hard to find places to visit in Chester with kids, but the Ice Cream Farm is one of those places.

It’s located in Tattenhall, Chester, around a 15 to 20-minute drive from the centre of Chester. As you might have guessed, there is a lot of ice cream and animals here!

I love ice cream, and I can testify that the ice cream is fantastic. They have a range of flavours to suit all needs. Just make sure you don’t overindulge yourself like I tend to do!

The farm aspect involves several animals being housed on the farm. You can walk around and see them all, while there are also some playgrounds and even a miniature golf course.

A trip to the Ice Cream Farm is a good day out and one you should do while visiting Cheshire!

Sandstone Trail

Price: Free | Location: Starts from Frodsham and finishes in Whitchurch

View of the Sandstone Trail

If you love walking and getting some fresh air, the Sandstone Trail is an ideal place to go while you’re in Chester.

The trail is located about 20 minutes from the city centre. The trail is divided into three parts, with each track roughly 18 km (11.3 mi) in length.

The route follows the Mid Cheshire Range, a series of Sandstone hills. Along the way, you can see some interesting landmarks such as Beeston Castle, Delamere Forest and Peckforton Castle.

I love these trails, and they are one of the best places to go in Chester if you love to be outdoors!

Grosvenor Museum

Price: Free | Location: Centre

view of the entrance to the Grosvenor Museum

Chester is rich with history, and there is no better place to learn about it than the Grosvenor Museum.

The museum is located in the centre and has a range of exhibitions detailing the history of Chester from Roman times to the modern era.

As well as visiting the various sites around the city, I recommend heading to the museum too. You will get a better understanding of Chester’s rich history this way.

Entry is free too and you’ll find lots of interesting exhibits which will take you about an hour to an hour and a half to explore!

Grosvenor Park

Price: Free | Location: City centre

a sunny day in the centre of Grosvenor Park in Chester

Grosvenor Park is located in the centre of Chester and is an ideal place to spend a sunny day in the city.

The lush gardens are ideal for relaxing in the summer heat, and even if you go in the spring or autumn, you can still admire the beautiful flowers and shrubbery on show.

The park is home to a miniature railway, which operates during summer, and is a great activity to do if you’re with kids. I used to love going on the railway when I was younger!

Grosvenor Park is a beautiful spot in Chester and one of the nicest places to go in the city.

The Groves

Price: Free | Location: City centre

the river by the groves with a bridge spanning the river in the background

The Groves is a riverside walk on the Northside of the River Dee in the centre of Chester.

What makes The Groves one of the best things to do in Chester, is that it is an area of beauty, and there are many great cafes close by too!

If you’re in Chester during the summer months, you can go on one of the numerous boat tours. These are available from April to October, and you will learn a lot about the area, and its ecology.

Two places should check out if you get peckish are The Boathouse Pub and Hickory’s Smokehouse. The Boathouse offers traditional English pub grub, while Hickory’s is more American in style.

Both are great places to check out and are some of the best places to eat too!


Hoole is one of the many villages in Chester and it’s one of the best places to visit if you love food and drink.

The area has gained a reputation as a culinary destination in recent years and has been dubbed Notting Hoole by residents because of this.

There are some great bars, cafes and restaurants in the area. You’re spoilt for choice! Particular favourites are The Little Yellow Pig and Bawn Lodge, with both offering great food.

Hoole is only a short walk from the city centre, and is an ideal place to go if you’re wondering what to do in Chester outside of the city centre!

Roman Walls

Price: Free | Location: Centre

a section of the roman walls in chester

The centre of Chester is enclosed by walls that were built during the Roman occupation, as a means of keeping invaders out.

While they don’t serve the same purpose today, they stand as a reminder of a bygone era.

You can complete a circumference of the walls, which takes in a large part of Chester. Some areas are undergoing restoration, but most of the walls are open to the public.

A walk around the walls is a good way to get an overview of Chester, and you will be able to admire the city and as far as North Wales while you stroll around!

It’s one of the best free things to do in Chester, and you may even spot one of the ghostly Roman soldiers rumoured to patrol the city walls at night!


Mock Tudor Exterior of the Ye Olde Custome House in Chester

If you’re wondering about things to do in Chester at the weekend, you can do worse than visit one of the many pubs in Chester!

There is a huge range of pubs in the city centre. If you take all of the pubs located within the city walls, it numbers more than 30!

The Victoria Pub in Chester
Ye Olde King's Head Pub in Chester

If you’re in the UK during the winter, pubs are a good place to hang out and avoid the cold weather.

You will have plenty of choices in Chester and you will be treated to brilliant hospitality, food and drink.

Chester Castle

Price: £2 | Location: Centre

the remains of Chester Castle on a sunny day

Chester Castle is located in the centre opposite the racecourse, which sits atop a hill overlooking the River Dee.

The castle was built in 1070 by the Second Earl of Chester and served many purposes such as being a military barracks until the present day.

There are several parts to the complex. The Crown Courts make up one part, with the Cheshire Military Museum to its left. To the right are the remains of the castle built during the Norman era.

There is a lot to see in the complex and it’s worth devoting a bit of time to allow yourself to do this.

The castle is an interesting place to visit in Chester, and you learn a lot about the city’s role in conflicts down the years if you do!

King Charles Tower

Price: Free | Location: Chester Roman Walls

King Charles Tower

King Charles Tower stands at the Northeast corner of the City Walls.

The tower played an important role during the English Civil War. It had a gun in each story, and it is alleged King Charles I stood on the tower as he watched his soldiers lose the battle of Rowton Heath.

This is where the name of the tower comes from. Although, there is some doubt as to whether the King did indeed watch the battle from the tower.

Prominent historians such as Simon Ward believe he may have watched the battle from a tower on Chester Cathedral instead.

The tower is an interesting place to stop while walking along the walls.

You can go inside and look around and decide for yourself whether King Charles did indeed stand here and watch his troops lose during the Civil War!

Gladstone’s Library

Price: Free | Location: Church Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire

Gladstone's Library
Image Credit: Llywelyn2000

Located just outside Chester in the village of Hawarden, Gladstone’s Library is a residential library named after the four-time Prime Minister of Britain, William Gladstone.

It is Britain’s only Prime Ministerial Library and is the national memorial to the Victorian statesman.

Gladstone founded the library in 1894 as a way of allowing disadvantaged children access to books they would otherwise not be able to read.

It’s a fascinating place and home to over 250,000 texts! You can stay at the Library if you wish, in one of the 26 bedrooms.

This is one of the best cultural places to see in Chester and a fascinating place if you love history!

St John’s Church

Price: Free | Location: Little St John’s Street, Chester

the exterior of st johns church showing the front of the church and the entrance

If you’re close to the Roman Amphitheatre, you’ll notice there is a medieval-looking building close by.

This is St John’s Church, which was originally Chester’s cathedral during the Middle Ages. The Church that stands today is smaller than it once was.

Various parts of the former building collapsed over the years, though the remains are still visible today. There is an intriguing coffin built into the church’s western tower.

It’s worth visiting for this curiosity alone!

Entry to the church is free, and you will learn a lot about the history of one of the most intriguing buildings in Chester!

Moel Famau

Price: Free | Location: Mold, Wales

Moel Famau
Image Credit: David Quinn

Moel Famau is one of the best places to check out around Chester.

This beautiful hill is just over the border in North Wales and is a good place to go if you fancy a nice walk.

The walk to the top of the hill is not too difficult, and you can do it in about 20 to 30 minutes. Once you get to the top, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views.

If you go up on a clear day, you can see as far as Blackpool! It’s not in Chester, but Moel Famau is so close, it would be stupid not to visit while you’re in the area!

Chester Shot Tower

Price: Free | Location: Besides the Shropshire Union Canal,  Postcode – CH1 3DH

Chester Shot Tower flanked by apartment buildings either side
The Shot Tower in the background

The Chester Shot Tower is something I remember seeing a lot while growing up, but I never knew much about it.

Well, it turns out it’s an interesting place. It is one of only three remaining shot towers in the UK, and the oldest of the three.

The tower was built in 1799, and was still in use up until 2001! While you can’t go in and explore the tower, you can get up and close and admire the structure.

It may not be the most obvious place to visit in Chester, but it’s an interesting one nonetheless!

George Marsh Memorial

Price: Free | Location: Tarvin Road, Boughton

memorial to george marsh, a plinth with an inscription on behind an iron fence

This is an obscure thing to do in Chester, but it is one of the most interesting.

George Marsh was a protestant martyr who was burnt at the stake in 1555, on a hill overlooking the River Dee in what is now Boughton.

He refused to renounce his protestant faith and convert to Roman Catholicism during the reign of Queen Mary I.

A memorial was built in 1888 by the side of the road in Boughton, which leads into the centre of Chester. This area has a lot of historical significance.

It was the site of numerous hangings before, during and after Marsh’s time. It was known as the bloodiest place in England at one point!

St Giles Cemetery is nearby, the site of a former Leper Colony. You will also be treated to some amazing views of the River from the memorial!

Snowdonia National Park

Price: Free (car parking may not be) | Location: Snowdonia National Park, Wales


Going to Snowdonia National Park is one of the best day trips from Chester. It’s a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from the city, but I had to include it on this list.

Hiking Snowdon is one of the best activities you can do while you’re in the UK. Depending on the track you take, it can be a challenging hike, but it’s worth it.

You will be rewarded with stunning views of Snowdonia below you, similar to what you’d find in the Lake District.

It’s a fantastic sense of accomplishment once you get to the top, which can be challenging depending on the route you take.

There are lots of activities to do in Snowdonia as well as climbing Snowdon, such as paddle boarding, zip-lining and even surfing!

It may not be in Chester, but it’s one place you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re spending a few days in the region.

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is one of the best zoos in Britain and a perfect place to visit with kids.

The zoo is outside of the centre, but it’s easy enough to reach by car or bus. Once there, you’ll find plenty to do and many amazing animals to see such as monkeys and rhinos.

Chester Zoo is an excellent place to check out during the summer holidays with your kids. They’ll love every minute of seeing all the animals at the zoo.

The only downside is that the zoo can be expensive, but if you’re visiting as a one-off, it’s worth paying.

There’s also the Blue Planet Aquarium, near Cheshire Oaks, a bit further down the road which is another great place to take the kids!

Cheshire Military Museum

view of the entrance to the cheshire Military Museum

The Cheshire Military Museum is another of the interesting museums in Chester you have to check out.

It’s located next to the Crown Court, not far from Bridge Street and details the history of soldiers from Cheshire from the 17th century to the present day.

The museum starts with artefacts from the Restoration of the monarchy with Charles II returning to the throne in 1660.

There are many more exhibitions from around the world, such as artefacts from the Seven Years’ War in America.

The Cheshire Military Museum is a fascinating place and one I can’t recommend enough. I learnt a lot from coming here when I was younger, and anyone with an interest in history will enjoy it!

Places to Eat in Chester

Hickory's Chester

One of the best things about Chester is that you are spoilt for choice when eating out. There are so many restaurants to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down to a select few.

However, it needs to be done because you could easily wander around the city debating about where to eat.

For a small city, there are plenty of choices. You can eat meals in the centre, down by the river with beautiful views and even in centuries-old pubs!

If you’re wondering where to eat in Chester during your trip, check out some of my recommendations below!

  • Covino – Covino is a great little wine bar and restaurant in the centre of Chester on Northgate Street. The restaurant has a small but simple menu that changes depending on the time of year. It can get busy here, so booking a table may be a good idea if you’re short on time!
  • Hickory’s Smokehouse – Hickory’s is a restaurant that specialises in American smokehouse cuisine. This involves a lot of ribs, burgers and such. It’s located down by the river and combined with the great food makes it one of the best places to eat in Chester!
  • La Fattoria – This is one of the best Italian restaurants in Chester on Bridge Street. The food and service here are top-notch and the atmosphere is brilliant too! I love Italian food and this is one of my favourite places to eat!
  • Short + Stout – This is easily one of the best places to grab a coffee in Chester. It is located slightly out of the centre in Hoole, but it is well worth the walk. The coffee at Short + Stout is excellent, and the food they serve too is delicious!

Best Time to Visit Chester

northgate street in chester with buildings with mock-Tudor facades either side of the cobbled street

In some ways, there isn’t a best time to visit Chester. If you visit during the summer months, it’s likely to rain, as it is during the winter.

You will have a higher likelihood of better weather, but there’s still a chance of rain. You will also get larger crowds during the summer, so this may play into your thinking.

While it’s colder during winter, there are many reasons to check out Chester during these months. It will be quieter, and if you go closer to Christmas, you’ll find the Christmas markets.

The best time of the year to visit Chester comes down to what you want to do. If you want to be active and outside, it will be best to visit during the summer.

If this isn’t an issue, you can visit any time of the year. Just be sure to consult my packing list for the UK before you do. You will need to pack for bad weather!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Spend a Day in Chester?

The best way to spend a day in Chester is to make sure you visit as many of the interesting attractions as possible. This includes the City Walls, Roman Amphitheatre and Chester Cathedral. A Chester tour is a good idea if you haven’t been to the city before to learn about its past.

If you have time, you can also visit some other places in Cheshire such as Knutsford or the Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall.

Is Chester Worth Visiting?

Yes, it is! There’s so much to do in the city from guided walking tours to learning about the fascinating history, and attractions such as the City Walls and the possibility to do plenty of shopping on the Chester Rows.

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Ryan Biddulph

Friday 14th of September 2018

So much to do in such a small town Tom. Amazing. That national park looks just like New Zealand. Eye-popping. Rocking post bro.



Sunday 16th of September 2018

There is a lot to do in Chester Ryan! Snowdonia is a beautiful place. You're right it does look like New Zealand, it's a beautiful part of the world!

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