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A Foodie’s Guide to a Weekend Break in Chester

by | Jun 24, 2024

The Foodie Travel Guide discovers why a weekend break in Chester is the perfect getaway for food lovers in search of  delicious discoveries in a city rich in Roman history and with easy access to glorious countryside.

The Hungry Guest on Lombard Street Petworth, West Sussex

Chester’s historic city centre makes it an ideal weekend break destination

History buffs. School children on day trips. They all love it. Race go-ers flock to it in droves. And shoppers descend for a spot of retail therapy in its elegant Tudor-fronted arcades. But did you know this ancient Roman city’s culinary attractions are a magnet for food lovers, too?

Plan a weekend break in Chester and it will both surprise and delight. Cocooned within its Roman walls, the historic but compact city offers the hungry traveller an enticing array of independent cafes, bars and eateries. 

It’s easy to punctuate your stay with delicious pit stops. Ones that not only revive you, but also introduce you to local specialities, adventurous street food and inventive baked treats. 

By night, buzzy cocktail lounges and vaulted wine bars add a touch of glamour. Award-winning restaurants, with their unique serving of culinary creativity, beckon you to come sit at a table and dine.

What’s more, among Chester’s hostelries and food producers, there’s a tangible camaraderie. Many supply each other with goods so local really does mean local. Quite simply, it tastes better too. Plump for the predictability of a high street food chain and it will be your loss. 

Take my advice. Make delicious food memories instead.


Things to see and do in Chester


Chester’s Top Cultural Attractions

Bedroom at The Angel Inn Petworth

Chester Cathedral and gardens are one of the city’s top attractions

But first, what to do? Well, Chester’s stellar line-up of cultural and historical attractions will easily keep you busy for a weekend stay. Besides the Roman walls, there’s an amphitheatre, an imposing red sandstone cathedral, beautifully manicured gardens and for wandering around and getting lost, cobbled lanes and alleyways with an array of independent shops.

The Storyhouse is a welcoming cultural space and community hub with theatre, cinema, cafe and library. It’s inspiring.  

Even Chester’s popular racetrack is within easy walking distance of the city centre.  What’s more, there are canal and riverside walks and nearby countryside giving ramblers easy access to the 34-mile Sandstone Trail, one of the most popular walks in North West England.

Sitting room of Ryde House holiday cottage Petworth West Sussex

Chester’s famous Victorian clock

Take a Foodie Walking Tour of Chester

Of course, if you’re a foodie traveller, part of the fun of exploring a new place is discovering local food specialities and meeting the people who produce them. Book a tour with Walking Food Tours UK. They offer regular guided food walking tours of Chester. 

Prefer to discover at your own pace? Here are my top recommendations for foodie pit stops:


Best Places to Eat and Drink in Chester:


Best Cafe in Chester For a Morning Coffee Stop With an Aussie Twist

Hidden down an alleyway is artisan bakery, Kookaburra Bakehouse. The micro bakery was born out of Aussie baker, Jess’s, newfound love of baking sourdough bread during lockdown. The cheerful turquoise exterior is more reminiscent of the glistening waters of her hometown, Sydney. 

Nab a perch inside or an outdoor table. A coffee here gives you a proper caffeine kick. Even better, a sugary hit if taken with one of her baked cruffins. Jess’s new passion is pastry making. Working with its buttery layers and threads of gold, she creates pastries with an Aussie or Kiwi twist.

There are still classics. Like the almond croissant with its gooey and plentiful filling. But do go Down Under and taste something new. Try the sweet Anzac kouign amman with its creamy, caramel soft centre or the savoury kimcheese croissant.

Foodie Travel Guide Tip: Be warned – when it’s gone, it’s gone. They close up shop for the day once they’ve sold out.

Club sandwich and fries at The Angel Inn Petworth

Aussie-themed pastries at Kookaburra Bakehouse in Chester 

Best for Street Food and Lunch on the Go – Chester Market

Re-imagined back in 2022, Chester Market has been transformed from an old-fashioned market into a vibrant and convivial dining and shopping space brimming with life. Flanking either side of a swanky central bar, one that would be at home in any smart London hotel, are street food stalls pedalling a mouthwatering array of tasty bites. 

Order a glass of fizz and a soft-shell crab brioche bun with Asian slaw to eat at a communal table or opt for a craft beer with burger and fries.

Pastries at The Hungry Guest Cafe Petworth West Sussex

Order a drink at the bar in Chester food market

Best Restaurant in Chester for a Leisurely Lunch and Field-to-Fork Dining: twenty eight

It’s worth planning ahead and booking a table at twenty eight if you’d prefer a more leisurely lunch over a bottle of wine. Voted by Conde Nast Traveller’s readers as ‘the best up and coming restaurant’, it alone is worth a trip to Chester.

Light-filled and airy, twenty eight has a fresh and Scandinavian vibe. Celebrated for its modern British tapas-style dining, the menu sings with the seasons. Daily produce is delivered from Field 28 farm in nearby Daresbury enabling Head Chef, Jay Tanner, to artfully create sharing plates that are both pretty and packed with flavour. 

Think pan-seared Welsh lamb with a sauce vierge. On the side, a delicate courgette flower stuffed with a creamy feta mousse. Perhaps a smoked beetroot tartare served with a crostini garnished with a confit egg yolk and nasturtium petals. 

Petworth House West Sussex UK

Smoked beetroot tartare at twenty eight

Desserts don’t disappoint either. 

The lemon custard tart with Italian meringue pie was sublime. Better still, prices are reasonable and it’s open for dinner. Just don’t be surprised if, from your table, you spy a Roman centurion leading a group of schoolchildren on a walking tour.

Foodie tip: Fancy a more formal fine dining option? Next door is the sister restaurant, Chef’s Table.

The Carved Room Petworth House Sussex

Lemon custard tart with Italian meringue at Chester field-to-fork-restaurant: twenty eight

Best Shop in Chester for Local Food Specialities: The Chester Cheese Shop

Family-run cheesemonger, The Chester Cheese Shop, pays homage to Britain’s oldest named cheese. Mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086 AD, its unique taste and texture comes from cows grazing on the salty pastures of the Cheshire plain. 

Try Bournes’ Cloth-Bound Cheshire. Made in the Bourne family for generations, they are one of only a small handful of traditional cloth-bound Cheshire cheese makers still left in the country.

Newer kids on the cheese block include creamy Burts Blue, a soft blue cheese and Crabtree, made to an Alpine recipe and similar to Gruyere. 

The small shop is packed to the rafters with local specialities and cheese accroutrements. Don’t go home without jars of pickles or chutney to add local interest to your cheese board.

Foodie Travel Guide Tip – Made on Anglesey, Dylan’s pickled samphire is a worthy winner of a Great Taste award and adds a gentle crunch. Perhaps a bottle of Welsh Mead made with rosehip and nettle (surprisingly good) to wash it all down?

Exterior of Augustus Brandt Store Petworth West Sussex

Discover different varieties of Cheshire cheese at The Chester Cheese Shop

Best For Wine Exploration and a Cheeky Glass – Vin Santo

Step down into the musty vaults of Vin Santo’s 13th century crypted wine cellar on Watergate Street and it will reveal a curated Aladdin’s cave ripe for wine exploration. The knowledgeable team will reel you in with their natural enthusiasm and stories of terroir and tenacity recounted by the small wine producers they partner with across the world. Choose a special bottle to take home and remind you of your visit. And, if the heavens open, take refuge in the cavernous bar with a glass of something delicious.

E. Street restaurant Petworth West Sussex

Wine tasting at Vin Santo in Chester


Best Chester Bar for a Pre-Dinner Cocktail – BarLounge

A popular watering hole for race go-ers is BarLounge, serving legendary cocktails. Opposite, its dining partner, UpStairs at The Grill, one of Chester’s top foodie destinations.

Best Restaurant Dining Experience for Carnivores – Upstairs at the Grill

Before setting up the restaurant, owner, Jason Bligh, and his team, travelled to New York to check out the Big Apple’s best steakhouses and bars. It shows. Expect the dark and moody interiors, more typical of an exclusive private members’ club. Its first floor speakeasy bar, with peep-hole, a nod to the Prohibition era. 

Cinnamon rolls at The Hungry Guest Shop Petworth West Sussex

There’s plenty of theatre. The Maitre d’ parades different cuts of heavily marbled steak on a platter as diners sip Manhattan-inspired and cheekily-named cocktails. How about a Central Perk or a Naked & Fabulous? There’s even a steak knife menu. “Japanese or ‘Made in Sheffield’, anyone?” It all adds fun to the experience and ritual of dining out.

Cinnamon rolls at The Hungry Guest Shop Petworth West Sussex

Even steak knives are on the menu at Chester restaurant Upstairs at the Grill

The food? Superb. Upstairs at The Grill has set the bar high for Chester diners. It doesn’t disappoint. My shared cote de boeuf came with a side of juicy bone marrow to squeeze on to the steak.  Skinny chips, a creamy sauce made from local cheeses and a fresh green salad complemented the dish. The wine? Californian reds are the star of the show on the extensive wine list. These big, bold players pair perfectly with the steak.

Foodie Travel Guide Tip – Sink your teeth into the pillowy Parmesan cheese scone. It’s a pre-starter bite but a standout moment in its own right. 

shelves of local and Hungry Guest produce

Cote de boeuf with bone marrow served at Upstairs at the Grill


Where to Stay in Chester

The Moxy Hotel

On a budget? Save your pounds for eating out by staying at The Moxy. Owned by the Marriot Group, this small chain bills itself as a quirky, upmarket hostel for grown-ups. Located canal-side, in a regenerated quarter where old factory chimneys stand proudly overlooking the city, it’s just a 10-minute walk from the centre and offers everything a weekender needs. It’s pet-friendly, too.

Old paintings at Petworth Antiques Market West Sussex

The Moxy hotel is located next to Chester’s canal

The Moxy’s rooms have compact bathrooms with double showers (no bath) and very comfortable beds. There’s a light-filled communal lounge with canal views where you can tuck into a full English or continental breakfast. In the evening, relax with a drink from the bar. Try the locally-brewed craft beer from Chester Beer Company.

Foodie Travel Guide Tip – It’s a 7-minute short walk from the train station to the hotel. (Do check out the rest of the Moxy chain. There are now 14 locations in the UK including Edinburgh, London and York).


Digby Wine Tasting Room Arundel West Sussex

Relax with a drink in the Moxy’s light and airy lounge

How to Get to Chester

With no need for a car when you’re there, train travel is by far the easiest way to get to Chester, especially if you’re travelling from London. Top tip – it’s worth booking Avanti’s direct service from London Euston sparing yourself a change in Crewe.


The Foodie Travel Guide travelled as a guest of Visit Chester.

The Foodie Travel Guide

The Foodie Travel Guide

Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.