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While it is undoubtedly beautiful and full of history, Chester is also a bustling 21st-century city balancing big-name shopping, eating and living with a thriving independent scene.

 

Shopping

High street favourites, designer boutiques, independent gems – Chester has everything you need when it comes to shopping. As well as the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, a stroll through some of Chester's hidden streets uncovers a host of unexpected independent shops, music venues and galleries. Or, head to the UK’s largest outlet shopping destination, Cheshire Oaks – it’s only a 15-minute drive from Chester.
Must do: The Rows – hidden above the shop fronts is a 13th-century second layer of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, which is unique to Chester city centre.

Chester City Centre Shopping

Food and Drink

Chester’s cobbled streets are lined with cuisines from across the globe, mixing well-known favourites in with independent eateries and Michelin-star restaurants. There are hidden foodie gems down side streets and in the Chester Market waiting to be found, and our growing food market scene brings events such as Chester Vegan Festival and the monthly Taste of Cheshire Farmers Market to the city.
Must do: Try Peak Sandwiches in Chester Market – thank us later.

Chester City Centre, Food, Drink, Eating Out

Festivals and Events

Chester is home to all sorts of events and festivals throughout the year, including Chester Pride, Chester Live (a multi-venue live music event), the Chester Literature Festival, Chester International Film Festival and the Food & Drink Festival. With so many indoor and outdoor music, art, theatre and cinema events, the hardest decision will be deciding which ones to go to! You’re in a great location if you fancy Creamfields, and if you feel like going a little further afield, give Bluedot Festival a go.
Must do: Make the most of the Chester Christmas Markets in December.

Chester City Centre Festivals Events

Nightlife

In 2018, Chester was awarded the coveted ‘Purple Flag’ status in recognition of its night time economy. Bands and DJs play across the city every night of the week and big names can be found at venues such as Telford’s Warehouse, The Live Rooms or Alexander’s Live which also hosts a regular comedy night. Home to traditional pubs, quirky cocktail bars and clubs with a range of music and themes, Chester’s nightlife offers variety, uniqueness and atmosphere - it won’t take you and your friends long to find your favourites.
Must do: Visit the tropics and get a cocktail at Lono Cove.

Chester City Centre, Nightlife, Night Out

History

How many cities have a Roman Amphitheatre a few streets away from the shops, restaurants and bars? The 21st century Chester we see today has been built around history, literally. Ancient city walls, the iconic Eastgate Clock, Chester Cathedral, Roman Gardens, the historic Rows; the past is scattered throughout the city, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Must do: Walk the walls – they’re the most complete circuit of defensive city walls in Britain.

History Chester City Centre

River Dee

On the banks of the River Dee is the ‘Groves’ – a pretty promenade that hosts a selection of cafés, restaurants, pubs and its own bandstand. The river is home to the oldest rowing regatta in the world and you’ll often see rowers, sailors and canoeists out on the water. Every year we love to watch the Dee Mile swimming race, the annual charity Raft Race and the rubber duck race! There’s plenty of seating for you to read a book or chat with friends, and you’ll have the perfect view from our Riverside and Queen’s Park Campuses, which both overlook the river.
Must do: Go on – get yourself on a pedalo.

Chester City Centre River Dee

Fresh Air

Next to the River Dee is Grosvenor Park, a beautiful green space to relax in. With 20 acres of land overlooking the river, this is the perfect place to meet with friends or relax with a book away from the bustling city vibes. During the summer, the park plays host to Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, where you can watch top quality theatre productions in an unrivalled outdoor setting. The famous Roman Gardens are a focal point for many history enthusiasts and The Meadows are a fantastic place for a walk along the riverbank past the Duke of Westminster’s estate, and possibly a paddle in the water along the way.
Must do: The Roman Gardens’ Moonlight Flicks - Chester’s summertime open air cinema.

Events like Bike Chester, The Chester Marathon (half and full) are great to get involved in, whether you’re watching or taking part. There are also park runs held at the Countess of Chester Health Park and Chester FC is minutes from the Parkgate Road Campus if you want to add a football focus to your weekend.
Must do: Take a train to nearby Delamere Forest to follow the mountain bike trail.

Chester City Centre Grosvenor Park

Storyhouse

At the heart of the city, you will find Storyhouse - a rejuvenated 1930s art deco building, contains two state-of-the-art theatres, a cinema, library, restaurant and two bars. Throughout the year, this award-winning cultural centre welcomes the best home-produced and internationally acclaimed work, offering a programme of dance, opera, drama, music and comedy.
Must do: Catch a film here – students can get tickets online for under a fiver.

Chester City Centre Storyhouse

Chester Cathedral

An archaeological treasure, Chester Cathedral is where our graduates collect their well-deserved degrees in a series of grand ceremonies every year. During other times of the year, visitors can enjoy exploring this historical and impressive Cathedral, as well as exhibitions, events and services. There is also a fully functioning falconry within the Cathedral grounds, where you can either visit the grounds, or have an up-close and personal falconry experience.

Close By

Committed to preventing extinction, Chester Zoo is a conservation and education charity that is home to over 27,000 animals across its 125 acres of award-winning zoological gardens, so it’s no surprise that it has been voted the UK’s number one zoo and most popular attraction outside London (The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), 2018).
Must do: Visit the Asiatic lions’ brand new habitat.

Just across the Welsh border lies the ruggedly beautiful North Wales with its stunning coastline, immense mountains and historic castles. If you love the great outdoors, day trips to Anglesey, Snowdonia or Llandudno are a must, with jaw-dropping scenery, amazing water sports and great camping.
Must do: Grab your walking boots and climb Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.

Chester Zoo

Why Chester 7

Study at one of our specialist campuses located in Chester, Warrington or Shrewsbury