I don’t know about you, but when I’m on holiday one of the things I look forward to is letting someone else make my breakfast – or, more often than not, brunch, if it’s got to that time of day.

My perfect breakfast starts with tasty, freshly cooked food, with mouthwatering choices for meat eaters, vegetarians and maybe some fishy options as well. And always served with a great cup of coffee or breakfast tea.

But it’s not just about the food – the café design is important too. Peter and I are both designers and we really appreciate it when someone has gone the extra mile to give their space some original character and make it that bit more special.

We like to support Chester’s independent businesses – we know what it takes to get a small business off the ground and have endless respect for hard working café owners. Even better if they in turn buy their ingredients from other local businesses.

Add a friendly welcome to the mix and I can’t think of a better way to start a day in Chester!

So the next time you’re staying in Chester maybe you’ll give one of my favourite brunch spots a go – you won’t be disappointed. I’ve organised them by walking distance from Baker’s Cottage, our holiday let in Handbridge just south of the river Dee.

Photo: Riverside brunch at The Moorings

The Moorings

themooringschester.co.uk | 23 The Groves, CH1 1SD tel: 01244 322481 | Open every day for breakfast from 930am to 12pm, brunch from 12pm to 530pm. Terrace menu served from 930am to 530pm.

If we cross the Dee by the Queen’s Park footbridge then we come to my next brunch spot – The Moorings. This one gets my vote for the best location – right on the Dee with riverside tables for days when it’s warm enough to sit and watch the boats go by.

We like their traditional hearty cooked English breakfasts – both the meaty and vegetarian options. The perfect start to a lazy Sunday morning stroll along the riverside.

Photo: The Jaunty Goat café
Photo: eggs and avocado muffins at the Jaunty Goat

The Jaunty Goat

jauntygoat.co.uk | 57 Bridge St, CH1 1NG tel: 01244 421 492 | Open from 8am to 6pm Monday-Saturday, 9am to 6pm on Sundays.

I think Jaunty Goat is a brilliant name for a café! I love their coffee and the vegetarian menu that features locally sourced ingredients including bread and cakes from their own bakery. The Jaunty Goat bakery is actually just across the road from the café – very handy for picking up a still-warm sourdough loaf to take home.

Brunch options include porridge, granola and pancakes. There’s smashed avocado, mushrooms, eggs or cheese, all served on toasted sourdough.

They did so well on Bridge Street that they opened a second entirely plant-based coffee shop in Northgate street. Good to see that a business with strong ethical and sustainable ideals can thrive in Chester.

No bookings – just turn up. It can get very busy at weekends around lunchtime.

Photo: The Arthouse café
Photo: Poached eggs for brunch at the Arthouse café

The Arthouse café

arthousecafe.co.uk | 12 Bridge Street CH1 1NQ | Open Sunday-Friday 10:00am to 4:30pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm.

The Arthouse is on three levels – on the Bridge Street level is a cafe and craft shop and the cafe extends upstairs where you can also access it from the Rows. In the vaulted stone basement is a makers space where they run all kinds of creative workshops – for example celtic calligraphy and letterpress printing.

We like the calm environment with original artworks on the walls. The food is good too, with traditional breakfast served until noon and brunch all day. There are plenty of vegetarian and plant based options. I liked the wild mushroom and spinach on toast with optional extra poached eggs – very tasty!

Photo: The Flower Cup café in Watergate Row Chester
Photo: Brunch at the Flower Cup Café

The Flower Cup

flowercup.co.uk | 61 Watergate Row CH1 2LE tel: 01244 639634 | Open every day from 9am, closing at 4pm on weekdays and 5pm at weekends.

My next choice is best if we’re in Chester on a weekday because there are often queues to get in at the weekends (another café that doesn’t take bookings – walk-ins only). The Flower Cup is up in Watergate Row so it’s a bit harder to find than the others – but definitely worth the effort!

They used to have a flower shop and the café is still full of well-tended greenery which makes it a very pleasant spot for brunch.

There’s lots to choose from on their breakfast menu – full breakfasts (with vegetarian and vegan options); basic breakfasts; eggs benedict, florentine or royale; pancakes or french toast and more. I think we’ll have to go there a lot so I can try out all the options.

Photo: Atina Kitchen
Photo: Brunch at Atina Kitrchen

Atina Kitchen

atinakitchen.com | 103 Foregate St, CH1 1HE tel: 01244 320894 | Open Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 9am to 4pm, Friday & Saturday 9am to 9pm, Sunday 9am to 330pm.

Atina Kitchen is at the Eastern end of Foregate Street – best reached from Handbridge by walking across Queens Park footbridge, taking a stroll through Grosvenor Park and then walking down Love Street which brings you onto Foregate Street, almost opposite Atina.

Atina is one of our favourite places for weekend dinners and they do great breakfasts too. They have an interesting menu with meaty and vegetarian English breakfasts as well as some more unusual options.

After breakfast head West along Foregate Street to explore the city centre.

Photo: Marmalade café

Marmalade

marmalade-chester.co.uk | 67 Northgate St, CH1 2HQ tel: 01244 314565 open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

It takes us longer to get to Marmalade than the others in my list – so I feel like I’ve really earnt my brunch by the time we get there! It’s in Northgate Street, not far from the city walls and easy to miss since it’s a bit tucked away, set back from Lorimer’s Row. My favourite way to get there from Handbridge is by walking the city walls anticlockwise – join the wall at Bridgegate by the Dee and then walk all the way around to drop down the steps at Northgate, by the canal.

Marmalade serves traditional English cooked breakfasts as well as muffins and cobs with bacon, sausages, eggs or smoked salmon.

After a tasty brunch you can slowly make your way back home through the city centre, or I like to get back on the wall and carry on to wander around the canal basin and the Water Tower gardens.