Described as the North West’s jewel, Chester is world renowned. It has a wealth of history going back to the Romans - and ancient history is all around. Whether it is sightseeing, shopping, or relaxing, Chester caters for all ages and all tastes.
Chester has so much to offer in both architecture and landscape; it is almost impossible to describe just one area of the city as “picturesque”. The Grosvenor Park and the Dee do, however, seem a good place to start. The magnificent park is a product of a Victorian landscape project headed by Edward Kemp, a famous landscape designer and pupil of Joseph Paxton, Crystal Palace’s architect. This is regarded as one of the finest examples of Victorian parks in the North-West and covers over 20 acres. In addition to the vibrant borders, there are various unique architectural features dotted around, such as Jacob’s Well Drinking Fountain and The Old Shipgate Arch, which was transplanted to the park from the city walls.
A short walk downhill and out of the park leads to the banks of the River Dee. Towards the weir and the magnificent Old Dee Bridge is a tree-lined walkway, The Groves, from which most of the river boats are hired. Whether on a rowing boat, pedal boat or a larger tour craft that runs upstream to the village of Eccleston, the perspective from the river up towards the grand houses along its bank and particularly in the suburb of Queen’s Park, provides an appealing alternative way of seeing this beautiful city.
Upstream is the “Earl’s Eye” site of an old Roman legionary fortress: an expanse of meadowland accessible by foot, it provides a tremendous sense of being in the countryside despite being so close to the city centre.
Other nearby attractions
River boat trips: Trips are available throughout the year on one of a number of boats. The energetic can hire a rowing boat and enjoy the river at their own pace.
Sightseeing buses: A good way to see the city these buses run on regularly. Visitors can hop on and hop off throughout the city. See www.city-sightseeing.com
Roman Amphitheatre: Visit these Roman remains and try to imagine the sites and sounds from the contests that once graced the arena. Across the road is the Roman Garden where a collection of Roman artefacts is displayed.
Roodee: The oldest but smallest racecourse in the country can nevertheless produce a wonderful atmosphere on race day. Easily accessible from the city centre it is fun for all. See website: www.chester-races.co.uk.