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:
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:
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:
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.
"The open top bus around the city is well worth doing."
D.R. from England, October 2013.
"Bike trails were wonderful - rented bikes from Chester Cycle Hire."
L.S. from Canada, May 2013.
"We loved the ghost walk - discussing it... ...kept our daughters (13 & 10) entertained for hours"
A.B. from England, August 2011.
"The ghost hunter tour was a fun way to spend an hour and a half and get to know Chester."
K.S. from England, September 2006.
"The boat trips are great, we bought the City Sightseeing and boat trip combined, well worth it, ...we used the bus to give our 5 year olds legs a rest."
L.G. from Wales, August 2006.
"The open bus top tour was great value"
L.K. from Scotland, July 2005.
"Avoid car parks in central Chester, very expensive."
R. & A.C. from England, June 2010.
"The location of the cottage was ideal... we only used the car once."
T.B. from England, March 2007.