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, discovering all the great things to do in Chester has been high on my travel itinerary.
Day Out in Chester
Following amazing visits to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, my boyfriend and I arrive in Chester with high expectations.
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.
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 day out in Chester, and I do.
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.
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 all the lovely things to do in Chester.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When we’re done exploring, we spend the rest of our day out 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.
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.
The next stop on our great British road trip is North Wales. Stay tuned…
What are your favorite things to do in Chester?