The Monty Python team once famously posed the question: ‘What did the Romans ever do for us?’ Well, to the long list of sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system and public health, you can add the fine city of Chester. But it’s not only a beautiful historic city, it’s also a highly accessible one.
In the latest instalment of our Accessible Getaways series, Quingo Scooters looks at some of the great things that you can do in Chester.
Firstly, we should take a moment to celebrate the huge lengths that Chester has gone to in making so much of the city as accessible to as many people as possible. The city was the first in the UK to be awarded a European Access City Award, which recognises the effort a city goes to in order to make it accessible for all. It’s open to all EU cities with over 50,000 people, and considering the peculiarities of Chester’s historic centre, we think that this is a pretty impressive achievement. For an overview of just how accessible the city is, head online to find out more. Here’s our pick of some of the best things to do while you’re there.
- Explore the Walls
We recommend exploring the two miles of Roman, Saxon and medieval walls that surround the city. It’s a great way to get a lay of the land and to see some of its most famous sites, such as the cathedral, and best of all the walls are largely accessible. Access points vary, with some stepped, ramped or have level access, and there are some steps along the way. If you need to park, Blue Badge holders can stay free for up to four hours on any of the City Council’s pay and display car parks, except for Trinity Street. There are also two Blue Badge parking areas on Frodsham Street and Hamilton Place. To find out more, take a look here.
- Take in Chester Rows
Chester has a unique set of elevated passageways known as Chester Rows, which have allowed for multi-level shopping since at least the 13th century. With six access points and a route around them that is completely accessible, many shops are at ground level, while others need to be accessed by steps. There is plenty more information in the handy Chester City Centre Access guide, that can be downloaded for free here.
- Soak up some culture at the Storyhouse
Whether you want to go and see a film, catch a play or just stop for a coffee, the Storyhouse is a must visit when you come to Chester. There’s everything from stage versions of musical favourites through to screenings of classic films, talks by renowned authors and cutting edge contemporary dance. The entire building, from its library to the theatre, cinema and studio, is completely accessible by lift. It’s a real model for how well a building can be designed to make sure everyone can enjoy the space. The Market car park has 8 Blue Badge spaces, and there is free on street parking on Hamilton Place and Goss Street. To find out more, take a look at their accessibility page here.
Where to stay
You’re spoiled for choice for places to stay in this beautiful city. Take your pick from places like the Grosvenor in the heart of the historic town, which has reserved Blue Badge holder parking, through to The King’s Suites at the Premier Queen Hotel, which has two accessible rooms, ramped access and designated parking.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Chester, then there are the usual suspects like Cafe Rouge and lovely old pubs like the Grosvenor Arms that has been around since 1864, and the Old Harkers Arms. Both do great food and are well worth a visit.
Chester is straightforward to get to if you’re coming by car, with links from the M6, M56 and the M53. By air, you’re only 40 minutes from Manchester Airport and Liverpool John Lennon, and by rail you can use Arriva Trains or it’s a short trip from Crewe where there are plenty of connections too.
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