I was going to avoid cities on my great British road trip. The goal was to stick to the countryside. But if there was ever a city that could tempt me to break my rule, it’s Chester. After seeing countless photos of the city’s historic streets, spending 1 day in Chester has been high on my travel itinerary.

1 day in Chester

1 Day in Chester

Following amazing visits to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, my boyfriend and I arrive in Chester with high expectations.

Chester, England

But as we park our camper van in the city center, a downpour sets in. I wonder whether it’s worth bringing my camera, but like a good Californian I put it in my bag with characteristic weather optimism.

Street in Chester

And I’m glad I do. As if by magic, as soon as we step out of the car the rain stops and the sun bursts through. I take it as a sign I’m supposed to photograph every inch of the city in our 1 day in Chester, and I do.

Street in Chester

Because Chester is even prettier than I imagined. From pedestrianized streets lined with half-timbered facades to one of the most stunning cathedrals I’ve ever seen, its beauty wins my heart.

Red Phone Box in Chester

Things to Do in Chester

We start our visit with coffee and breakfast at the Jaunty Goat Cafe on Bridge Street. It’s delicious and fuels us for our day of exploring.

Yogurt and Fruit

Back outside, we discover the rain has started up again. It gives us an excuse to explore the raised covered walkways on either side of the street. Together with the shopping arcades they extend to an impressive portion of the city center and keep us dry and entertained at the same time.

Shopping Arcade in Chester

When the drizzle lets up again, we climb to the top of Eastgate to take in the views and walk along the city walls. The Romans founded Chester in the 1st century AD and the layers of history here are amazing.

Chester City Walls

We pass by everything from a full-blown Roman amphitheater to a row of 17th-century almshouses known as the Nine Houses. We walk beside the historic castle on the River Dee and explore the King Charles Tower, where legend has it that Charles I watched his army suffer defeat at the battle of Rowton Moor in 1645.

Houses in Chester

We come down from the walls to visit the cathedral, a spectacular building that has evolved from Roman times to today. Every successive century has left its mark, and the result is an architectural hodgepodge of the most wonderful variety.

Chester Cathedral

When we’re done exploring, we spend the rest of our day in Chester taking in the streets. All the photos I’ve seen over the years haven’t done justice to the beauty of the city center, and I can’t put my camera down.

Street in Chester

But eventually I have to, as our road trip must continue. It’s been a great detour from the countryside, though, and well worth breaking my rule to spend a day out here.

Chester, England

The next stop on our great British road trip is North Wales. Stay tuned…

How would you spend 1 day in Chester?

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1 day in Chester

10 comments on “Lady’s Lovely Guide to 1 Day in Chester”

  1. Chester is an amazing city, I was there enjoying a visit a few weeks ago. If you love Chester then you would also love Stamford in Lincolnshire near to where I live. A little known but beautiful town well worth a visit.

  2. Chester is one of my favourites cities in the world, not just in the UK. I was fortunate enough to grow up about 25 miles from Chester and we spent a lot of time there when we were children.
    My now husband and I held our wedding reception at the Chester Grosvenor and our son’s Christening lunch two years later. Although we live in London, we also stayed there in April, just because, and did all the stuff from my childhood … walked the Walls, explored the Rows, visited the Cathedral, you name it.
    I never tire of suggesting Chester as a place to visit!

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