Hometown Holiday: Chester

Anna Boyne

Coming to university is a reality check for most freshers. Whether that’s learning to cook for yourself, experiencing binge drinking culture, or having to be totally self-motivated in your studies. For Anna Boyne, the biggest realisation was that hardly anyone in the UK has heard of her home city. In this article she will share all the great things about Chester. Perhaps she may even persuade some readers to take a visit and experience it for themselves.

In my admittedly biased opinion, Chester has the perfect balance of everything. There’s plenty of natural beauty mixed in with the city buzz; ancient ruins can be found alongside modern attractions and fancy restaurants and bars, frequented by stars of The Real Housewives of Cheshire, can be found around the corner from small independent cafes. 

Things to do

Growing up in Chester means I’ve become accustomed to seeing a Roman walking through the city centre. They’re usually marching at the front of a group of school children carrying Roman shields and shouting ‘sin, dex, sin!’ Chester’s history is part of what makes it such a beautiful and interesting city. It has the most complete city walls, the oldest racecourse and the largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain, plus a 1000 year-old Cathedral. Taking a guided tour of the city would be a great way to see the sights.

Whether it’s the sightseeing cruise, party cruise or a pedalo, a boat trip along the River Dee is another great way to see the city! 

The atmosphere is community focused and creative

A trip to Chester would be incomplete without a visit to the zoo. Not only is it the most visited zoo in the UK, but it is also a conservation and education charity committed to preventing extinction. Channel 4’s documentary The Secret Life of the Zoo showcases just how much everyone who works there truly cares about the animals’ welfare.

During the summer, an open-air cinema can be found in the grounds of the cathedral. It’s a beautiful setting to watch either new releases or cult classics. Similarly, an open-air theatre is set up each summer in Grosvenor Park. This year productions include Romeo and Juliet, Little Women, and Stig of the Dump. These are both run by the Storyhouse – a theatre, cinema, restaurant, and library all mixed into one. The atmosphere is community focused and creative. The Storyhouse would be well-worth a visit all year round.

Eating out

If you’re looking for food with a view, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the Groves overlooking the Dee. A firm favourite of mine would be the churros at Hickory’s. 

The Architect is a pub restaurant which overlooks the racecourse. It’s the perfect place to go for an evening drink or meal to watch the sunset. The Italian scene in Chester is also great with loads of independent restaurants.

La Fattoria is one of the most popular restaurants in the city. It’s a family-run business, there’s a lively atmosphere, and the décor displays a real love for Italy and its culture. I would highly recommend Stile Napoletano for the best vegan pizzas in Chester. 

The flavours on offer are fierce competition for Doughnotts

The Chester Market is a hidden gemstone for food. You can find authentic restaurants and takeaways from all around the world.

Chester also boasts a vibrant café culture. Some of my favourites include Jaunty Goat, Chalk, and The Flower Cup. They’re the perfect place to start your day with brunch and a coffee. 

If you fancy a sweet treat, I can’t recommend Planet Doughnut enough. The flavours on offer are fierce competition for Doughnotts. The vegan selection is also very impressive.  


Chester’s nightlife sometimes gets a bad reputation. It is true that there are only two clubs and those two aren’t really a match for Rock City or Unit 13. Nonetheless, I have had some fun nights out in Chester. We even have two Spoons to choose from!

There are plenty of Instagrammable bars in Chester

There are plenty of Instagrammable bars in Chester with extensive cocktail menus. Some of my favourites are Popcorn, Barlounge and Lono Cove. If you’re looking for a bar to have a boogie in, I’d recommend Red Door, Off The Wall or Bonobo.

Why not take a visit?

That concludes my top recommendations for a trip to Chester. Perhaps you might consider Chester for a cute summer city-break. Maybe I’ll be greeted with fewer blank faces next time I meet someone new and tell them where I live. 

Anna Boyne 

Featured image courtesy of Humphrey Muleba via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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