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Queen of Chester gives us her must-do things this summer in the city

10 months ago

Queen of Chester gives us her must-do things this summer in the city

Chester is such a unique place, with its Roman history, distinctive two-level half-timbered Rows, the beautiful riverfront and a fantastic independent restaurant and bar scene.

Nobody knows it better than Izzy Grey, founder of We Love Good Times which is dedicated to showcasing and championing everything that makes the city so special and letting you know about things to do in Chester.

Izzy set up the site 10 years ago after returning from a decade in hospitality in London.

Having worked in the industry locally since she was 17, she was keen to stay connected with it and to encourage support for independent businesses in Chester.

“I could see there was some really great stuff happening and I felt it was important that people got behind independents,” she says.

“Now I keep on reminding people where’s good, if there’s a fabulous new dish or new cocktail, and it’s all about making sure that everybody knows these little stories that make Chester such an amazing place.”

With Chester a perfect summer destination, here are Izzy’s top must-do picks …


There are so many fabulous restaurants in this brilliant little city, and here are a few to whet your Chester appetite! 

Artezzan Restaurant & Bar, Pepper Street

Credit: Artezzan Restaurant & Bar

Everything on the menu is epic, but certain days call for certain combos! 

Friday afternoons in the summer call only for seafood, and my favourite ‘Fish Friday’ dishes include Calamari & King Prawn Fritti (perfect for sharing), Battered Fillet of Hake (classic with a twist) and if you’re feeling proper posh, then Baked Whole Lobster smothered in a rich tomato, basil & garlic butter served with skin on seaweed salt fries is the only option. 

As we head into the autumn, I love to sit at the pizza bar and watch expert Pizzaiola Gimmi work his magic. 

New Chester Market 

Things To Do In Chester
Credit: New Chester Market

Meeting a group of chums who can all opt for something different from a choice of awesome street food stalls is such a treat, so this has become our preferred Thursday after-work hang out, especially as it is super dog friendly. There is even a special doggo shop called Digby & Champ which sells the best accessories, but my dog Ted loves it for the gourmet treats and cuddles! 

Anything from Sandbar Seafood Shack is always amazing (including a classic pint of prawns with fresh lemon and brown bread), and my favourite dish here is the Soft-Shell Crab Burger. The bar in the market, Lockwood & Company, has a great selection of wines by the glass and we always go for the Lolo Albariño as it works so well with that crab burger, as well as the fried chicken from Nice Bites which makes me cry with happiness. 

Upstairs at The Grill

Things To Do In Chester
Credit: Upstairs At The Grill

The food menus at super sexy Upstairs at The Grill offer much more than just fantastic steaks and show-stopping accompaniments, but my all-time favourite is the signature USDA Prime Delmonico with thrice-cooked beef fat chips, minted peas and Béarnaise sauce. There are no more words. 


The city centre is full of great bars and the best ones are fiercely independent. Here are just a couple of my first-choice watering holes. 

Barlounge, Watergate Street

Credit: Barlounge Chester

Barlounge will always be the go-to bar for superb drinks and full-on friendly service. Cocktails really are their thing, and their drinks lists are packed full of seasonal classics as well as unique and oh-so-elegant masterpieces created by the team. In summer, their version of a classic Pina Colada is heavenly and I also love the Experimental drinks which are guaranteed to raise the bar (!), plus the mocktails are excellent too.

Popcorn, St John’s Street (very dog friendly)

Things To Do In Chester
Credit: Popcorn Bar Chester

If you’re looking for seriously good times, then Popcorn is the place to be. The soundtrack is awesome and there is plenty of space for dancing if the mood takes you, and it probably will. Everyone loves Popcorn and so do I! 


Storyhouse, The Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and Moonlight Flicks 

Credit: StoryhouseLive

I can’t really remember what life was like before Storyhouse arrived in our city. This is our boutique cinema, theatre, library, bar & kitchen but also so much more besides. They also take Storyhouse outside for my favourite ever summer experience – Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre which runs to the end of August. Our two shows this season are A Midsummer Night’s Dream which is as magical as the fairies themselves, and The Great Gatsby which starts on July 21 (I’ve eavesdropped on rehearsals so I know we’re in for another treat). They also run Moonlight Flicks in the Dean’s Field at Chester Cathedral showing movie classics this season, so I’ll be taking a boozy picnic for those. 

Chester Riviera 

Credit: Tanasut Chindasuthi/Shutterstock

Finally, meandering on the ‘Chester Riviera’ is one of my all-time favourite things to do no matter what the weather is doing. In summer, the River Dee is bustling with paddle boarders, pleasure cruises on the Lady Diana and Mark Twain paddle steamer (all Chester Boat rides are dog friendly) and locals & visitors promenading past the bandstand, tucking into the best takeaway fish & chips, ice cream and doughnuts with chocolate sauce. What could be better? Absolutely nothing. 

More simple pleasures: 

A walk through the Roman Gardens.

An authentic Turkish breakfast at Pars Kahve up on Watergate Street Row.

The Chester Town Crier proclamation at The Cross (five days a week from June to the end of August). 

The best burgers and wings at Burger Shed 41 on Bridge Street.

Fizz on the Wine Terrace at Vin Santo on Watergate Street.

Late-night Espresso Martinis at Liquor & Co on Watergate Street Row (ask for the Caretaker if you’re up for a surprise). 

A visit to oh Concept Store on Lower Bridge Street – our quirkiest and coolest independent emporium for clothing (check out Bepo who create unique pieces from parachutes), art and everything unusual.

Looking for more things to do in Chester? Visit the We Love Good Times website here.

Find out what’s happening across Liverpool here.



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