A day/night in Chester City Centre 

I went to Chester with my husband a while ago and we only really looked down ‘The Rows’ and loved it. We said we would return and we did with my family.

Parking in Chester like most popular towns is expensive and the closer the hotels to the centre the more expensive they are.

We booked the Mill and Spa because they had a deal on for £90 bed and breakfast. The hotel was central and offered free parking until 12noon the following day.
I think a lot of guests use this hotel for the same reason so when we got there the car parks were overflowing. We were asked to park in the coaches section which was then cornered off.

The reception staff were miserable and that was the last thing you want after a two hour journey.

Never the less we got checked in. The hotel is big; they have rooms on either side of the river and it’s connected with a bridge.

The rooms were clean and average – nothing spectacular but we were only staying the night.

The leisure facilities were not bad; pool, steam and sauna rooms and a jacuzzi which were all well maintained.

The breakfast was substantial and average in terms of quality.

We stayed on the second floor which is just above the bar area and as a result didn’t get a good night sleep (everyone else was on a higher floor so just request a room not on the second floor).

The Mill and Spa is a couple of minutes from Frodsham Street and we started our city touring here.

We walked left instead or of right on Frodsham Street and ended up in the not so nice area of Chester (the kind with Greggs, pound shops and lots of charity shops). Not exactly what I was expecting – at that point my mum asked me why we chose Chester.

Anyway we walked back and this time went the correct way to historic Chester.

I always think when doing a weekend break it’s worth getting a tour bus so you get an understanding of the history.

We got to the visitor centre which is by the town hall and I asked the staff member what was worth doing – he highly recommended the heritage city tour and then if we had time a river cruise.

The Heritage tour has a good concept; there is a lady who is dressed in a Victorian outfit who does all the talking and the interior has a vintage feel too. Both staff here were rude as well. We had my nephews pram with us and the lady said there was no where to put it- as tourists you would think she would accommodate for all types. Eventually in a rude manner she put it under the stairs.

The tour itself was pleasant and we learnt a lot about Chester. It lasted half an hour.

It was a lovely day and we wanted to wait for the next bus but were told there wasn’t any (however there was and the tour operator lied I am guessing just so he could fill up his bus). The tour wasn’t expensive (£7 per adult).

Once the tour finished we wondered around the Tudor-style half-timber shops by Eastgate Street. This is also known as ‘The Rows’. Perfect for some retail therapy.

It was a Sunday so the shops were due to shut by 5pm.

We decided to take a stroll to the river in case there were still river cruises running.

In between we walked into Grosvenor park. The park was beautiful and had a lovely rose smell to it.

We stopped for a coffee and enjoyed it at the benches the shop had. The park also had a miniature railway train and a kids area. The train was great for my nephew.

Once we got to the River Dee we couldn’t decide on whether to go on a river cruise or take a powerboat and we chose the latter.

It was nice to go up and down the river however the power boat went only one speed which wasn’t fast ( I am guessing that is down to health and safety). You can also hire a pedalo if you want.

The river has a selection of bars, cafes and boats. From the powerboat we got a good view of both sides of the river; from the big mansions so people watching.

It was a sunny day so of course everything looked better.

We wanted to eat at the Hickory Smokehouse which is supposed to be very popular but that was packed so we walked back towards the hotel and decided to have a Chinese at the Slow Boat Restaurant which had a banquet on a Sunday.

On the way to the Chinese we walked passed the Walls and entered the Roman gardens which were beautiful.

We also walked past the Roman amphitheater. I believe if you are lucky you can get to see some gladiator fighting here.

The Chinese banquet was not that impressive despite the brilliant trip advisor reviews. The starters tasted of oil and the mains were average. I guess you get what you pay for.

I did want to try out Sandy Box which was small and had a Polynesian/Hawaiian menu. The downfall was you couldn’t see the menu until you got there because everything was fresh (apparently) there. We did walk to it however they mostly had beef and had run out of prawns so options were limited (in hindsight it would have still been better than the Chinese).

After our greasy Chinese we walked back to the hotel, had a drink and went to bed.

Hope this little snapshot helps you when you visit Chester Town Centre!


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