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 and Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor has recently been awarded Michelin Star status for the 30th consecutive year. The city is also 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.
Brighter Sound are offering the chance for early career musicians aged 16-21 to spend a week creating, learning and collaborating with PINS.
Abandon Normal Devices Festival, the UK’s only roaming digital festival, resurfaces in 2021 with a new hybrid format, exploring the post-industrial landscapes of the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey.
Enjoy this hilarious Shakespearean comedy in the wonderful open-air surroundings of Grosvenor Park.
Open air theatre shows are happening across the north over the next few months – we’ve collated our top picks into a neat guide for you.
Lumen is returning to Crewe on Friday 26 November to Saturday 11 December 2021. The colourful light-art trail will visit the town centre and give audiences the chance to be immersed in art, light and sound.
A tale of comedy, passion and endless dancing, and one of the most cherished love stories in English literature plays in the open air this summer.