The oldest racecourse in Britain, perfect for a city break, you haven’t seen creative millinery until you have come here. The colours, the characters and the general hum of entertainment and excitement begin in May and run throughout the summer months, in addition to a healthy spectrum of polo events.
On a race day the whole town plays out like a pantomime, bringing to life a sense of tradition that belies its Roman origins and Tudor architecture. The pubs brim over with brightly coloured dresses and teetering heels, happy faces and a sense of anticipation. For the sake of reverie we will imagine that on these days the sun always shines (it certainly does in our experience).
After the races, when the party vibe has reached fever pitch, the jovial atmosphere continues as crowds make their way back into the centre of Chester itself. They totter along the cobbled roads and past the designer boutiques to dine out on the day’s triumphs and tribulations, surrounded by historic sites and ancient city walls.
There’s a wealth of restaurants, bars and cafes available during your city break in which to find your preferred tipple (the people of Chester certainly know how to have a good time) but when the day is royally spent and you’re ready to lay your head down, go to the BW Premier Queen Hotel at the heart of the city.
Sitting next to Chester Railway Station (travel does not get more convenient than that), it’s welcomed the likes of Charles Dickens and businessman and politician Cecil Rhodes over the years, sating a breadth of taste and preferences amongst its patrons and, who knows, perhaps providing literary or entrepreneurial inspiration at the same time.
The hotel which is ideal for your city break, has many an asset to its name but key amongst them is the food. Referencing its past as well as its location, there are three options for eating and drinking in various degrees of formality. The Waiting Room Bar and Lounge is the place to go for homely food and locally sourced drinks and cask ales, while the Albert Lounge is famous for afternoon teas by the fire, so much so that they have been serving them for more than 150 years. It is the Kings’ Quarters Grill and Cocktail Lounge however that’s a personal favourite, and no doubt the name gives a bit of a hint as to why.
Not only do they serve a mean cocktail, but they specialise in a range of regional dishes combined with a relaxing atmosphere, which particularly after all that excitement on the racecourse provides some welcome respite at the end of the day. If the sun is shining (as we are assured it will), then you can also sit outside and enjoy a drink in the afternoon sun on one of two Italian terraces surrounded by landscaped gardens – a welcome surprise in the heart of a city.
Beyond the dining, the hotel is a feast of little surprises fusing contemporary design with a strong sense of history; it’s not afraid of bold colours and whimsical features such as elaborately illustrated feature walls. It also has a ‘Secret Sanctuary’ for beauty treatments and easily transitions from being an ideal location for meetings and conferences to weddings and special occasions, or simply the setting for that long awaited glass of red whilst pondering the day’s events. No wonder it’s been such a longstanding favourite amongst the good and the great for a relaxing city break.
So follow a different crowd this summer and head to Chester. You never know, today could be your lucky day…