Things to Do in Chester

Vicky Andrews

Chester feels like it’s taken the best bits of Britain and packed them all together. Roman walls, medieval streets and olde-world taverns sit alongside award-winning restaurants and master mixologists that keep the party going all night. With a unique character, history and style, Chester Cathedral was founded in 1541 and now stands as a contemporary cultural hub for this magnificent medieval city. As well as providing the atmospheric backdrop for public art exhibitions and cutting-edge installations, the Cathedral also hosts the Chester Mystery Plays, which are performed in the city every five years.

That sense of ‘modern tradition’ sums up Chester, really. Just take a short walk down Northgate Street and you can be at Storyhouse, the city’s brand new £37m arts centre. The cultural scene here is thriving and there are some brilliant people doing brilliant things; world-class exhibitions curated by Chester Visual Arts and internationally renowned music acts brought here by Roman Candle Promotions. You’ll also find top-quality performance on offer at The Little Theatre too, an authentic and intimate venue sitting just outside the city walls.

There are loads of festivals taking place throughout the year too: the family-friendly Folk Festival and summer performances at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre; Chester Pride celebrating the LGBT+ community, and the popular Literary Festival, which takes place in the autumn.

The restaurant scene is better now than ever before. The city is home to Hypha, one of the best plant-based restaurants in the country, and the award-winning Chester Market with its buzzing street food vibe and local craft ales.

For shopping, you’ll find independent shops and family-run businesses packing a punch alongside High Street stores and big-name boutiques. Be sure to browse The Rows, a charming shopping arcade housed in a unique collection of 13th century buildings.

From the old to the new, everything comes together in perfect balance. That’s what makes Chester different.

Our top picks

Chester Cathedral

Chester Cathedral, St Werburgh St, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2DY - Visit now

Chester Cathedral is a living community of prayer and worship, and a centre of excellence in Church Music with a rich and fascinating heritage.

Chester Cathedral
Diliff, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

Storyhouse

Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR - Visit now

Storyhouse is the jewel in the crown of Chester’s arts scene; home to two theatres, a cinema, library, restaurant and bars, all perfectly housed inside a rejuvenated art deco building.

Storyhouse, Chester

Chester Indoor Market

Chester Indoor Market, Forum Shopping Centre, 6 Princess St, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2HH - Visit now

Chester Market is the destination to visit. The indoor market offers foods from around the world, a community seating hub and niche stalls. The venue won Best Small Indoor Market at The Great British Market Awards 2020.

Chester Indoor Market
Courtesy of Chester Market

Chester Little Theatre

Chester Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Newtown, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 3HR - Visit now

Just outside of the city walls on Gloucester Street you’ll find Chester’s longest running theatre, Chester Little Theatre, an intimate venue hosting top quality performances and supporting local talent.

Chester Little Theatre
Courtesy of Chester Little Theatre

Chester Visual Arts

Chester Visual Arts, Northgate Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2HX - Visit now

Founded in 2016 by Cynthia and Ian Short, Chester Visual Arts (CVA) is a charity that has brought world-class exhibitions to some of Chester’s most iconic buildings.

More Cheshire events

Great Expectations at Quarry Bank
TheatreCheshire
Great Expectations at Quarry Bank

From the misty marshes of Kent to the dusty streets of London, Quantum Theatre bring a thrilling version of Dickens’s most popular novel.

from £12.00
Open Air Theatre at Grosvenor Park
Until
FestivalsChester
Open Air Theatre at Grosvenor Park

Expect another fabulous season of open-air theatre when The Gangs of New York, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Importance of Being Earnest play Grosvenor Park this summer.

from £6.75

Where to go in Cheshire

Cheshire
Event venue
Bolesworth

Historic castle and gardens, regularly hosting exciting events in Chester.

Cheshire
Cinema
Cinemac Cinema

Cinemac Cinema in Macclesfield is a cinema and live-performance venue which hosts a regular variety of cinema, comedy, theatre and more.

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Cheshire
Event venue
St Mary’s Creative Space

St Mary’s Creative Space in Cheshire is a rehearsal and exhibition space which regularly has exciting projects on for the public.

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Cheshire
Bar or Pub
The Cornerhouse

Live music, comedy, quiz nights and special events – all to be enjoyed alongside sharing platters and, of course, an extensive range of drinks.

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Cheshire
Restaurant
Metronome Jazz Bar

This small and atmospheric bar is a cosy venue with a resident Jazz pianist, fantastic staff and a record player filled with, naturally, iconic jazz.

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Cheshire
Gallery
Watergate Street Gallery

This contemporary Art Gallery In Chester displays and sells original and affordable works, with regular new exhibitions listed on their website.

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Cheshire
Gallery
Clarendon Fine Art

Contemporary art on display and for sale in Cheshire. Come and browse their varied collections and converse with knowledgeable staff.

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Cheshire
Bar or Pub
The Sydney Arms

The Sydney Arms in Crewe is a Robinson’s community pub, set in beautiful greenery and with a large and secure beer garden.

Northern Quarter
Shop
Makers Markets

Featuring artists, designers, upcyclers and a host of food and drink vendors, Makers Markets can be found throughout the north of England, bringing the best artisans to the communities in which they live.

Cheshire
BeWILDerwood

BeWILDerwood in Cheshire is an entire forest of family fun with an enchanting story behind it

Cheshire Visitor Guides

Stately Homes in the North

The North of England is blessed with countless stunning stately homes, many dating back decades and even centuries. Here are some of the very best.

Hypha restaurant Chester
Food and Drink in Cheshire

Our guide to food and drink in Cheshire, featuring restaurants and bars in Chester, Crewe and Macclesfield.

Walks in Crewe
Walks in Crewe

A range of walks, hikes and places to wander around in Crewe, featuring cultural landmarks and routes through rural landscape.

Walks in Macclesfield
Walks in Macclesfield

Our guide to the parks and natural landscape available in Macclesfield, including rural retreats and hiking routes.

Delemere Forest
Walks in Chester

A round-up of the best walks in Liverpool, including the city centre, its many parks, and over the water by Creative Tourist.

Mottram Hall
Hotels in Cheshire

To make life easy when it comes to booking your stay, here’s our guide to the best hotels in Cheshire, including Chester, Crewe and Macclesfield.

The Antiques Shop, Chester
Shopping in Cheshire

Our guide to the best shops in Cheshire, including independents, boutiques and markets in Chester, Crewe and Macclesfield.

Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.