What’s it about?
HOME to the UK’s best collection of caged animals, Chester is also the place where Hollyoaks is set but not filmed so don’t expect streets cascading with blonde teenagers suffering relatable personal problems.
Once a Roman army camp, the walled city is now home to empty shops, a needlessly high density of cafes, and pavements lined with senselessly drunk and heedlessly vomiting gamblers come race day. Don’t forget to check out the famous Chester Rows, a series of perfectly normal stores that are, incredibly, a few metres higher than street level.
Any good points?
It was once full of great stuff but it’s all either fallen into disrepair or been replaced by another sodding vegan bakery. A couple of thousand years ago you could have enjoyed cock fighting and bull baiting at the amphitheatre, but now it’s half-covered by road, making it feel like a glorified car park-cum-sandpit.
Perverts are catered to with Boutique by Nice ‘n’ Naughty, an adult retail store which adapts its window displays to cash-in on unerotic events like the Olympics with laughable results. And if you like Tudor architecture then Chester is filled with wonderful buildings from the era doused with centuries of piss by knobheads on nights out.
It still has a town crier making midday proclamations, which is a novelty the first time and sucks every other time. Though the creepy guy who makes balloon animals for children on the high street mercifully appears to have fucked off.
Chester is famously nestled in an S-bend of the River Dee, which snakes around the city and is fun to ride via pedalo on a sunny afternoon. Sadly Chester is perilously close to Wales, making the xenophobic English residents seethe with bitter fury.
If you catch yourself marvelling at the glorious rolling hills from the top of the Northgate, temper your enthusiasm by remembering they belong to a country deliberately ignored by the clock on Chester town hall.
Hang out at…
If you like to watch majestic animals get brutally whipped for your entertainment and financial gain then Chester Racecourse is the place to be. Though you won’t win. A thriving billion-pound industry exists because you don’t win.
Once you’ve counted up your losses you can always head to the city’s best nightclub, Rosies, which managed to break America a few years ago when two university students won a Halloween party there dressed as the World Trade Centre on 9/11; post-impact, pre-collapse.
After intellectual stimulation? Chester boasts some of the country’s worst poetry open mic nights. Take your pick from Alexander’s to a cramped meeting room above the Boot Inn and brace yourself for verse after punishing verse of trite observations about the burden of being trapped in dull pleasantness.
Where to buy?
House prices tend to climb the closer you get to the racecourse which makes no sense. It’s like paying extra to live next door to William Hill. But if you fancy a base in the centre of town then just rent one of the many empty shops in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre.
The council will be delighted you’re making the place look less rundown, and the properties may not have toilet facilities but you can make do with a bucket in the corner. It’s how the Romans did it.
Want somewhere cheaper? Move to Wrexham and lie.
From the streets:
Joshua Hudson, aged 24, said: “Chester is home to what some people claim to be the second most photographed clock in England. And having battled through crowds of dithering cunts pointing their cameras at Eastgate Clock on a daily basis, I reckon that’s true.”