Who are you?
Susan Taylor, keen wanderer to all corners of the UK and Europe for many years with my husband, Ro.
Where are you a local authority?
Chester, a walled city on the River Dee in the beautiful Cheshire countryside.
Why are you a local authority on this place?
Born and raised in the area, I lived a few miles outside Chester for more than 30 years and often return there to visit family.
What do you love about it?
There is always a buzz and vibrancy in the city, with its café culture and holiday atmosphere. There is plenty of shopping, from the modern Grosvenor Shopping Centre to the 700-year-old ‘Rows’, a fine medieval half-timbered walkway housing many shops and bars, and on Bridge Street, England’s oldest shop front, the rather imposing Three Old Arches.
Away from shopping, there is loads more history to be found, strolling on Britain’s oldest, most complete city walls, as well as the impressive Roman Amphitheatre and Gardens, and the Church of St John, the city’s original cathedral. Inside today’s cathedral, itself 1000 years old, don’t miss the famous Imp and the extraordinary Cobweb painting.
If you tire of all that history, why not relax with a boat trip on the River Dee, an open-topped bus tour or perhaps even a ghost walk?
A short drive away is Chester Zoo, and Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Village for more shopping.
What’s your favourite place to visit in the area?
The Cheshire countryside is full of lovely villages, such as Beeston, with its castle and nearby Candle Factory & Workshop. The approach road to the Candle Factory is a bit narrow, so take care driving, but once there, you will find a big car park with gorgeous views. And don’t forget to visit the Ice Cream Factory as well!
Which sites do you recommend?
Netherwood Touring Site has to be my favourite – a peaceful spot with sizeable pitches, beside the Shropshire Union Canal. It’s a 40-minute walk along the towpath to the city centre, with a couple of nice pubs, including the Cheshire Cat, along the way. This is a small campsite, so I’d recommend booking in advance.
Alternatively, Chester Fairoaks is a Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, a 15-minute drive away at Little Stanney.
What food and drink is the area known for?
Chester has more than its fair share of historically interesting pubs, including The Falcon, The Pied Bull and Ye Olde Boot Inn to name just three of the many – you definitely won’t go thirsty while you’re in this city! There’s an excellent choice of eating places, too, to suit all budgets and palates.
Tell us somewhere great to eat!
Marmalade is a great café for breakfast or lunch, with homemade cakes and goodies. For evening meals, you are spoilt for choice.
Atina Kitchen is reliably good, and Hickory’s Smokehouse, on the river, has a great atmosphere. For fine dining, I would try Chef’s Table, in Music Hall Alley near the cathedral.
Where can you get spare camping kit?
Leisure Sales, which is at Bremerton Green, Sandbach, is probably the closest specialist retailer.
Where can you find the cheapest petrol/diesel in the area?
The Shell petrol station on the A56 Pool Road is a good bet, or the Sainsbury’s on Caldy Valley Road.
Where should you avoid when visiting?
Chester is a relatively compact city, so I wouldn’t say you need to avoid anywhere in particular. However, the roads can get busy on race days, because Chester is also home to the world’s oldest working racecourse. Unless you’re a keen horse racing fan, I would probably steer clear of the area on those weekends.
Share a secret highlight only a local would know!
To escape the bustle of the city, head to the canal. Follow your nose to the Steam Mill and you’ll find restaurants and pubs where you can just sit and watch the world go by.
Back in the city centre, BarLounge, on Watergate Street, serves cocktails and bites – this is a great place to retreat for a while.
Perhaps the worst-kept secret is Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, now a museum near Nantwich!
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