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I had no idea that northwest England was home to so much beauty. The beautiful gardens of Eaton Hall, the modern skyline of Liverpool — but most of all, the city of Chester, filled with black and white Tudor buildings, ancient Roman ruins, and surrounded by city walls.
(You didn’t really think I was done blogging about my three weeks in England, did you? :-))
Chester was my base for my time in England. And I discovered a lovely city that’s popular with British tourists, but virtually unknown to most foreign tourists.
While traveling Vietnam, I discovered that I was a total anglophile. I knew I wanted to spend my time in England doing as many English things as possible. And Chester was the perfect place to do that.
Here are some things I enjoyed in Chester:
Walking the city walls.
Chester’s walls take you on a lovely tour around the city, you get to see a lot, and there are wonderful views from above.
Chester is home to several great pubs, including the Old Harker’s Arms, pictured above. If you want to eat and drink well in England, you can eat and drink VERY well in Chester!
Rowing Down the River Dee
Yes, I had to reenact one of my all-time favorite movies, Bridget Jones’s Diary. Dave rowed the boat and I mangled Keats’ poetry. (Thankfully, neither of us pulled a Daniel Cleaver and fell out. It was my first time in a boat since the shipwreck and it was a step I needed to take!)
Visiting the Chester Zoo
Chester is home to one of the best zoos in Europe. Who knew? And they have MEERKATS!
Chester is perhaps most famous for the Chester Races. They happen a number of times a year and people come from all over for the spectacle of it all.
But I really want to attend the races on Ladies’ Day — when the ladies dress up in ridiculous gowns, wear crazy fascinators, and drink champagne while betting on the horses. I’ve been waiting for an occasion when I can wear a fascinator — this could be it!
And obviously, it’s a beautiful city.
So is it worth visiting Chester? Absolutely. If you’re going to be in Manchester or Liverpool, drop in for the day. I was surprised how much I loved Chester — and the city just might surprise you, too.
22 thoughts on “Chester: The Beauty of Northwest England”
Looks terrific. Other than Bath/Stonehenge, I really haven’t traveled outside of London. I’ll add these to my list.
Chester’s a really nice place – even though it’s a city it still feels as friendly as a village. Looks like you got to do some great stuff and see a lot of it! Did you manage to try any deep fried Mars bars from that little place underneath the clock tower while you were there? It’s literally the best food I have ever eaten.
Is that the place that will melt down any candy bar for you and serve it in a cup? Because we totally went there!!
Sadly the last time I looked it had changed hands and served smoothies and other healthy food. What is the world coming to?
It is located at the tall white sign in your second photo.
I was there six weeks ago and they did have smoothies, but they were still melting down the chocolate bars!
My dad’s English and has a house in Cheshire, and I agree that Chester is a fun place, especially the zoo. I have to admit to getting a little excited to see this post since it’s not exactly a major tourism destination that anyone’s ever heard of…I’m still working on explaining to most of my friends that there is in fact a whole country outside London and that when I go to England I’m miles away from Buckingham Palace.
Chester Is really great, a really good base too because you re so close to North Wales. The North is full of great towns and cities. Liverpool, Manchester, York, the Lakes to name a few. Anybody who comes to England and doesn’t stray far from London is really missing out.
I agree, Lee — I had never spent time in the north until this trip, and I’m so glad I got to explore it. It’s funny — whenever I talk about Dave, people always say, “He’s from London, right?” and I reply, “Actually, Chester’s pretty far from London…”
I love Chester. We stumbled upon it almost by accident and found it to be quite the find! We love the buildings and the English pubs. Would love to go back and explore more of it
Wow, it sounds lovely. the next time i go to England i will make a point to visit Chester. If I’m really lucky I might end up attending university there and get the opportunity to do some serious exploration.
Any reason to reenact Bridget Jones movies is a good reason! 🙂 I thought of jumping and fighting in the fountains of Hyde Park, but I think rowing might be a better option 😉
Another great option in Northern England is York, although it is definitely on the tourists map, but for good reasons. Chester, on the other hand, might be more authentic and easy to meet with English locals.
And yes, I really hoped your England series wasn’t done! 😉
I spent some time in York as well! Look for the post within a few weeks or so.
I’ve lived in London for 21 years now and I’m ashamed to say I have never visited the north of England before!
It looks absolutely beautiful though, one day I’ll get up there 🙂
Lauren!! I know the North and South have quite the rivalry, but seriously — NEVER in 21 years?! You need to get up there!
What a charming place!
As someone who lives just an hour away from Chester it’s great to see people visit from afar.
I find it annoying that people visit London and think they’ve been to England.
As you said above York is another great town to visit and look forward to hearing your verdict =)
Chester looks so quaint and fun. Thanks for this article, now I have a new place to visit next time I visit the UK. Cheers,
I used to work in online marketing/SEO for a travel website in Chester and got into the habit of reading your blog. I remember being very jealous of all the exotic places everybody was visiting, I then jetted off travelling myself only to find that one of my fave travel bloggers has visited in my home town in my absence! It’s surreal looking at Chester from that angle!
You did online marketing and SEO for a travel web site in Chester?! I have a background in online marketing and SEO for a travel web site…and I’m trying to spend more time in Chester. I think we need to talk. 😉
I grew up less than 20 miles from Chester, along the coast in North Wales, so for me it was “the big city”, a place to be dragged to as a child for shopping and other unpleasantness. I still haven’t really been able to see it in any light other than that, so it was nice to see it as a visitor would.
I really should go back and be a tourist for a day or two.
Hey Kate.. beautiful blog!! I also recently visited Chester over the weekend and realized indeed its an amazing city!! Your pictures are lovely..