If you did not come here to shop, there are many things you can do in Chester. For me, we have to do the city wall walk. It is a good start to get your bearings around this walled city. We started our walk from the Eastgate, built during the Georgian era. The original gate was made by the Romans. A turreted clock has been built over this gate during the Victorian times. The clock is the second most photographed timepiece in the UK.
From the gate, we headed north. Our first stop was the Chester Cathedral. This used to be the Abbey of Saint Werburgh which then became a cathedral in 1541. The garden, which can be seen from the wall, was in bloom. You can book for a tower tour, if you have time. There was a service when i came so i was not able to explore all of it. They also have a cafe in the 13th century Monks Hall.
Farther up we walked past a tower, where you can see the canal. This tower is called King Charles tower because this was where King Charles stood and watched his troop defeated in the battle of Rowton Moor on the 24th September 1645.
There was another tower on the north east corner, Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower. This tower is linked to the Water tower. The Water tower was built in the 14th century and was called New Tower. Its current name was given in the 17th century as city officials insisted on calling it because of its usage to the city. Unfortunately, i do not know a thing about Bonewaldesthorne’s tower. I will be reading more into it after this city break. Beneath these towers is a garden. We did not explore this as we were more curious about the narrowboats on the nearby basin.
From the Water Tower, we walked past few offices, houses and other business establishments. There are parts of the wall that are being repaired so we do have to walk on the diverted path. It was not long before we saw a racecourse. The Chester Racecourse is more popularly known as the Roodee. This is still the oldest racecourse in England, and also the smallest. Beyond the racecourse, we saw big houses, which we assume is the more affluent residential area of Chester.
Across the racecourse is a new building which houses the council offices and the Abode Hotel. Interesting fact about this building is that it is circular and was the same size as the amphitheatre that stood on the other side of the city during the Roman times. Farther along is the Crown Court and The University of Chester. On the map, it says there is a castle near the crown court but when we asked people for the entrance, no one seems to know. So we abandoned the idea of visiting it.
We were now on the riverside of the walls after the Crown Court. After the shopping district, this was probably the next busiest area in the city. There are boats that will take you for a 45 minute ride up and down the river. You can hire a pedal powered one or a rowing boat. There is a dam on the river which was used in the Old Dee mills. Above this is the Old Dee Bridge, which is the oldest in Chester. The original bridge was built in 922. It was rebuilt in the 1300s, which is still the bridge we see now.
Evidence of Roman occupation is seen all over the city. Along the riverside, you will find the roman gardens which show collection of building fragments from the Roman times. The Chester amphitheatre was the largest in the Britain. This was the place of sporting events during those times.
Aside from this walk, we took the heritage bus tour and the boat trip. It just gave us more insight about Chester.
Before we started all these, we had breakfast in a place called Hanky Panky Pancakes on Commonhall Street. They make crepes, galettes and american style pancakes. You can choose from their menu or go freestyle (choose your own toppings).