Chester is one of Britain’s best-preserved ancient cities, with over a thousand years of history to explore – not to mention its superb shopping, restaurants and stunning countryside.
Chester was founded by the Romans back in AD 70, and it’s certainly had an eventful, bloody history since then (Chester was one of the final strongholds to fall to the Norman invasion of William the Conqueror).
Situated in the county of Cheshire, in the North West of England, Chester is also close to the border with Wales. The city boasts the most complete set of ancient city walls in Britain (dating back to the Romans over 2,000 years ago), fascinating remains of an Roman amphitheatre, the oldest racecourse in the country, an impressive 1,000 year-old cathedral, and countless bustling ancient streets.
But nowadays Chester is known for its modern attractions as much as for its history and architecture (though you should definitely check out the unique Rows shopping galleries – they’re over 700 years old, and are an amazing spot for some retail therapy!)
Aside from Chester’s excellent shopping, museums and restaurants, Chester Zoo is well worth a visit. There is also one of Britain’s best aquariums nearby (the Blue Planet aquarium), a falconry centre where you can fly birds of prey, Cheshire Farm, the secret nuclear bunker at Hack Green, and the hugely impressive Beeston Castle and Woodland Park. Make sure you try some of the famous Cheshire cheese, too!
In the Spring, there’s plenty to do in Chester. Foremost among the list on anyone’s itinerary should be the zoo. It’s a place everyone can enjoy, whether you’re going as a family, a couple or on your own. The zoo is home to over 1,000 animals and 400 different species; with such spectacular variety the zoo is one of the ‘must-visits’ of any trip the North West.
The history of Chester is impossible to ignore as it surrounds you on almost every street. There are some great heritage tours that will tell you the history and tales of the ancient architecture you pass. You can even immerse yourself in the sites by hopping on a vintage bus. Could there be a finer way to get around the old town and discover the city from its ancient origins onwards?
Of course, no one needs to devote themselves entirely to ancient history. There is also some startling and modern history in Cheshire. A relic of the Cold War, a visit to a nuclear bunker is an astonishing experience. Hack Green Nuclear Bunker is an opportunity to observe a world that everyone hopes we will never see again, and the formerly secret base provides a fascinating insight into the Cold War itself and the post-Second World War governments which operated it.
Cheshire and Chester are full of exciting opportunities and days out for spring 2015. For those wanting to travel a little further afield, Hertz has created a three day road trip around Chester. Whether you’re into history, wildlife, rambling or shopping, Cheshire and Chester together make one of the most family-friendly spots for a break in the UK today.