Chester was recently voted Europe’s 5th prettiest city in an American poll online, coming higher on the list than Venice, Budapest and Santorini. A small, elegant and relaxed city, Chester well deserves the honour.
Initially a Roman fort named Deva, Chester is the UK’s best preserved walled medieval city, though some of its distinctive black and white buildings are Victorian restorations. It’s known for its beautiful cathedral and architecture, including the distinctive Chester Rows, streets of half-timbered buildings with shops on two tiers. Other tourist attractions include a large Roman amphitheatre, a racecourse, antiques shops and the Roman Minerva Shrine.
I asked Rococo’s founder Chantal Coady and the team in our Chester shop to recommend their favourite places to visit, eat and drink in the city. Here’s what they said:
Our favourite place for team dinner and drinks after a busy Saturday is Porta Tapas on Northgate Street. It has a lovely atmosphere with great tapas to pick at, and the friendly staff always wonderful.
Another favourite with Rococo staff past and present is Bar Lounge. They make the best drinks in Chester and have made bespoke cocktails for us, and they also do a salted toffee chocolate cocktail! That’s our kind of place.
For something a bit more down-to-earth, Mark Prizeman, our architect, also loves Chester’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Boot Inn. On the upper floor of The Rows on Eastgate, it’s like walking back in time 50 years (in the best possible way).
Peter’s favourite for food is Joseph Benjamin on Northgate St. From the people who run Porta Tapa, Joseph Benjamin has great seasonal food and a homely atmosphere.
Annie’s favourite secret haunt is the garden at Oddfellows Hotel. With oversized lamps in the garden and a bar in the potting shed, it’s a magical outdoor space with an Alice in Wonderland feel and a Rococo-esque atmosphere.
The best walk in Chester is around the Roman city walls. Annie suggests taking a detour with a picnic down to the River Dee and across the famous Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge and through the meadows. You can find maps for a selection of heritage walks in Chester here.
Of course we can’t talk about Chester without mentioning The Chester Grosvenor hotel, where the Rococo Chocolates shop lives. A 5* grade II listed hotel, The Chester Grosvenor is an institution, a lovely place to stay or for afternoon tea.
And of course, Annie says that her favourite place of all and one of the most beautiful in Chester, is our very own shop! We’d love you to visit us if you’re in the area, and you can be certain that you’ll get perfect service and big smiles from Annie and the team.
You can find us inside The Chester Grosvenor on Eastgate.