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Travel Tips - Making the Most of your Visit to Historic Chester

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Chester is among the oldest and best-preserved historic cities in England. Its ancient Roman walls, original Tudor buildings, and restored Victorian waterways give visitors a feeling of time travel as they wander the compact centre. But it's also a lively modern city, and especially so on race days, when thousands flock to Chester Racecourse and a party atmosphere prevails.

Best time to travel

 

Northwest England is famously rainy but also generally mild without big seasonal swings in temperature. All that moisture keeps Chester's parks and the Cheshire countryside a luminous green through late spring and summer, but the landscape can be equally bewitching when the trees are bare. Old pubs and inns with open fires warm up autumn and winter holidays. Horse racing season runs from May to September, with fixtures almost every weekend. The annual Chester Cup is one of Britain's biggest sporting events and the busiest time to visit the city.

Not to miss

 

Lovers of sports, horses, and expensive frilly hats won't want to miss out on the colourful pageantry of a day at Chester Racecourse. You can feel even more like a local at a soccer match in Deva Stadium, home of Chester Football Club. Games against Welsh neighbours and arch-rivals Wrexham are especially intense. A walk around the ancient Roman city walls helps you get a sense of Chester's long history. And a night of local ales and conversation in a centuries-old Tudor pub makes for an essential Chester experience, though watch your head on those low-hanging timber beams.

 

Getting around

 

Chester is compact enough that you can easily walk or ride a rented bike between its central attractions, from the main thoroughfare of Bridge Street to the River Dee and around the city walls. Chester's main railway and bus stations run regular suburban and intercity services. Black cabs are easy to hail down or book by phone or online, with metered fares regulated by the local council. You also have the option of licensed minicabs with fixed rates.

 

Cuisine

 

The traditional cuisine of the Northwest is based around heavy, warming winter dishes like Lancashire hotpot and equally substantial desserts like suet pudding. Chester has its own local variations on these, while Cheshire cheese, with its crumbly texture and nutty taste, was noted as a regional delicacy in England's famous Domesday Book of 1086. It's still made locally to much the same recipe, sold in Chester markets and delis, and served on the cheese boards of most local restaurants. Tastes are broader these days, and you'll also find international cuisines well-represented, from curry houses to sushi bars.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

As everywhere in the UK, a certain level of politeness is expected, even if it's just a casual "cheers mate" by way of a thank you. From banks to fast food chains, the British also pride themselves on forming and maintaining an orderly queue for service. Tipping 10 percent is customary in restaurants, and taxi fares are usually rounded up. Traffic is oriented to the left side of the road so be careful driving and crossing the street. For the sake of pub conversation it's also useful to know something about soccer.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 90500
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  • Spoken languages: English
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  • Electrical: 220-240 volts, 50 Hz, plug type G
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  • Phone calling code: +44 1244
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  • Emergency number: 999