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Months of staying home to keep safe has made us appreciate the things we probably took for granted before the pandemic; things like eating out or meeting up with friends. As social distancing restrictions are easing, and Chester is opening back up, we thought we’d share some of the ways the city has kept going during lockdown.

Of course, not everywhere was closed for business and there are lots of things in Chester that can be done regardless of what is and isn’t open; taking a walk around the historic City Walls or along the River Dee (where there’s ice-cream), and not to mention absorbing the scenic views on the numerous cycle paths in and around the city. Our favourite is the Chester Zoo Circular cycle route which follows the canal towpath to Chester Zoo, where you can even see some of the animals.

Cafés and restaurants.

After what might have felt like a lifetime, cafés and restaurants in Chester have finally opened their doors, and for those of you who don’t fancy yourself as the next MasterChef champion, this might be music to your ears – no more cooking! However, some cafés and restaurants remained open during lockdown for takeaway and delivery, and for some, this may have made the idea of staying home a little easier to digest (get it?). With a whole host of restaurants and cuisines from around the world to choose from; from Chez Jules, one of Chester’s longest-standing and best-loved independent French restaurants, to Shrub, Chester’s brand-new plant-based café - foodies were not left disappointed.

Chester Zoo.

Like cafés and restaurants, Chester Zoo was forced to close its gates to visitors, but that didn’t stop the zoo keepers from allowing us to get up close and personal with the zoo’s residents from the comfort of our sofas in a series of virtual ‘Zoo Days’. Not only were visitors able to learn more about some of the zoo’s most endangered species, they were able to witness some amazing animal antics; from brunch with one of the world’s biggest frog species, to an elephant pool party (some of us had to have had some fun). If you missed it, there’s no need to worry, you can catch up on all the action by visiting the website, where you can also find more information on how the zoo is opening up safely.


Chester’s much-loved cinema, theatre, library and coffee shop might have closed during lockdown, but that didn’t stop Storyhouse from helping the community and hosting a range of online activities for people to get involved with, including quarantine karaoke, story sessions, drama workshops and singing exercises. In partnership with Chester Race Company, Storyhouse have also launched a brand-new drive-in cinema, Moonlight Drive, where film fanatics can enjoy classics such as Grease, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park from the comfort of their cars.

River Dee.

Dee River Kayaking is brand-new to Chester and opened just before lockdown, which may seem like bad timing but for those who were bored of zoom calls and family quizzes, Dee River Kayaking were able to offer socially distanced kayaking experiences and a new way to see the city. What’s even better is now that lockdown restrictions are easing, they’re able to run kayaking experiences for up to 5 people. So why not get everyone involved!

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