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Chester getaways this summer

Date Posted: 01/06/12

Chester getaways this summer

The small historic city of Chester is perfect for short breaks this summer and you can use this Chester guide to help you make the most of your trip.

Exotic wildlife galore at Chester Zoo

Although Chester is perhaps best known for its Roman ruins, beautiful architecture and historic centre, the Chester Zoo is staking its claim as the number one reason to visit the city.

There are around 8,000 animals to enthral both old and young alike across the110-acre award-winning zoological gardens, making the attraction one of the best zoos in the whole of Europe.

Among the 400 species of rare, exotic and endangered wildlife across the grounds, there are some truly must-see exhibits. One such example is the beautiful Asian Plain, inhabited by a magnificent greater one-horned rhinoceros, which lives alongside brow-antlered deer and black buck.

Another is the Butterfly Journey, where guests can see some of the most stunning and colourful butterflies from across the world, including Central America, Africa and south-east Asia. Blue morphos, giant owls, glasswings and swallowtails are a few of the beautiful butterflies on show, but perhaps the show stealer is the wonderful atlas moth, with its impressive wingspan of 30cm.

New for people getting Chester Zoo offers this year is the UK's first ever giant otter underwater viewing area. The exhibit cost a whopping £250,000 to build and it means zoo-goers can gaze upon the fascinating, effortless motion of otters while they dive for food and dart around their enclosure.

History and gambling at the Chester Races

While Chester Zoo is fun for all the family, if you want to indulge in some animal entertainment of a different kind then you should head to the famous Chester Racecourse.

It is one of the oldest racecourses in the UK still in use, as it dates its first event all the way back to February 9th, 1539. This means you have the opportunity to absorb some true racing history while enjoying the excitement of the races themselves.

Around £10 million has been invested into Chester Racecourse in recent years to refine the customer experience with the development of the Pavilion facility, Restaurant 1539 and the redevelopment of the Paddock.

Even if you don't gamble, it's a great place to go to have a bite to eat and sip on a glass of champagne in the luxurious bar and restaurant.

Relax on a the River Dee with a ChesterBoat tour

Chester is renowned for the beautiful River Dee, which runs right through the historic centre. One of the best ways to experience the city on a hot summer's day is to kick-back on a river tour with ChesterBoat.

Half-hour tours are offered on either the Lady Diana or Mark Twain luxury showboats, heading up river from beneath the city's suspension bridge in Grovesnor Park. It follows the "long sweep" of the city's meadows to offer incredible views of Chester's fascinating riverside properties and gardens.

If you like a tipple on high water, then you need not fear, as there is a bar on-board. You can even head out on a rainy day and not worry about getting wet, as both boats provide plenty of cover.

From March to the end of October the boats sail every half hour between 11:00 GMT to 17:00 GMT. In the off-season they just run on weekends every hour between 11:00 GMT to 16:00 GMT.

Luxurious living and elegant eating at the Chester Grovesnor

There are all manner of Chester hotels where you can put up your feet at the end of a long day. If you're looking to stay right in the centre then you should look no further than the Chester Grovesnor.

The intricate hotel is located in the heart of the historic city, inside a striking black-and-white timbered Grade II listed building. Although the facade is centuries old, within it is a bastion of stylish and contemporary accommodation.

Simon Radley at the Chester Grovesnor is the hotel's Michelin star restaurant, an accolade it has held since 1990. It offers chic sophistication and has one of the most impressive wine cellars in the whole of the UK.

There is also a Parisian-style bistro entitled La Brasserie for a less formal dining experience, as well as the Arkle Bar and Lounge for you to sit back and enjoy a cocktail or afternoon cup of tea.

The Chester Grovesnor is kitted out with all manner of antique oil paintings, fabulous chandeliers and there is even an elegant spa for you to get that much-earned pampering.

If you don't mind staying a little bit out of the city, but are still looking for the same elegance of the Chester Grovesnor, make a booking at the Grovesnor Pulford Hotel & Spa. It sits on beautiful grounds just a few miles out of the city, but the rural appeal of the hotel makes it feels like a million miles - the best of both worlds.

It focuses on providing you with the most relaxing accommodation possible with modern comforts and warm tones, as well as an array of spa facilities from a Turkish Hamman to a skin clinic.

Posted by Louise Millard

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