Leave the car at home

Chester is a compact city and it is quite possible to explore it without using your car. It is easy walking since it is mostly on the level with some slopes down to the river and canal side.

Walking in Chester

The city walls provide a unique circular walkway, mostly separated from traffic. There are plenty of access points into the city centre. Please note that some sections have steps and are not suitable for wheelchairs or prams (although we have been around with a lightweight buggy and carried it up and down the steps without too much difficulty). Find out more on our city walls page.

The city centre is partly pedestrianised. It features the Rows - two tier shops, cafes and inns in historic half timbered buildings. Although most of the access to the rows is by steps there are some wheelchair / buggy access points, for example, through the Grosvenor Shopping Centre.

Guided walks help you to uncover more of Chester's unique heritage. They include tours led by Roman soldiers in full battle dress, archeology tours around Britain's biggest dig at the Roman amphitheatre and ghost hunter tours.

Walk books are available from the Visitor Centre as well as most Chester book shops and newsagents. Read about a couple of Cheshire walk books on our reviews page.

Open spaces are easily accessible from the city centre. Grosvenor park is on the banks of the river Dee, just outside the city walls and the Water Tower Gardens are on the North West corner of the walls. The riverside Meadows are also a short walk from the Groves across the Queens' Park footbridge. From here there are easy walks along the riverside that take you into the countryside within minutes.

More information on walking in Chester:

  • Walking World has a downloadable map of a Chester city and riverside walk as well as other walks in the area (there is a small fee for the maps if you are not already a member).
  • Ghost City walking tours leave from outside the Tourist Information Centre, Town Hall at 730 every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening throughout the year. Telephone 01244 405635 for details.
  • Roman tours leave from the shop next to the Grosvenor Museum daily during school holidays. Call 01978 761264 to confirm availabilty and for tour times during term time.

Cycling in Chester

There are several traffic free cycling routes in and around Chester taking advantage of canal towpaths and disused railway lines. You can cycle into the city centre or out into the Cheshire and Welsh countryside.

More information on cycling around Chester:

  • Cycle Chester has cycle route maps and hints and tips for cyclists.
  • Chester Cycle Hire in Hoole Road offers bikes for hire from half a day with options for child seats and tag along trailers. Telephone 01244 321522 for details.
  • Sustrans has maps of the National cycle Network including routes that pass through or near to Chester.

Buses and trains

Buses run around the city centre and link to most parts of Chester. It also has a good park and ride scheme with four large free car parks on the outskirts of the city, including one next to the zoo at Upton. At the time of writing the return bus fare is £1.30.

Guided bus tours run around the city (although they have to miss out the pedestrianised part of the centre).

You can buy a 24 hour ticket for the City Sightseeing tour bus and hop on and off to explore different parts of the city.

Chester Heritage tours run a 1924 replica vintage open top bus.

The train station is about 20 minutes walk from the city centre and from here you can catch trains to Liverpool, Manchester and North Wales. There is a taxi rank outside the station in case you don't feel like walking home when you get back.

More about Chester's buses and trains:

  • Busybus run tours from Chester into North Wales and Cheshire, starting from the Visitor Centre. Telephone 0870 8741800.
  • Chester Heritage Tours provide replica vintage bus tours. Call 0870 7656840 for details.
  • Chester Council travel information including maps and timetables.
  • City Sightseeing guided bus tours run from March to October, details are on their web site, including a map showing pick up points. Alternatively call 01708 866000.
  • National rail enquiries web site enables you to plan train journeys to and from Chester. Telephone 08457 48 49 50.
  • National Express coaches run from Chester to Liverpool and Manchester. Telephone 08705 808080 for details.

River boats

All year round at weekends and daily during the summer season you can take a river boat cruise along the River Dee. There are regular short trips during the day and also longer evening cruises and special themed cruises.

You can save money by buying a combined ticket for the City Sightseeing bus tour and a river cruise. MS said "the half hour trip on the boat was rather disappointing, but the bus tour (with hop-on hop-off) is nice." (July 2014). Although J. H. and W. N. both recommended the open top bus ride and boat trip (July 2011).

Chesterboat has information on the river cruises and a map showing where the boats depart from. Telephone Bithell Boats on 01244 325394.