As a born and bred Cestrian I must have done this walk a billion times, yet even so, it’s still one I choose to do time after time. It’s got playgrounds, parks, river views and more importantly good ice cream!!
I’m going to show you a short version and a long version of the walk so you can pick and choose depending on the kids moods - I definitely have to pick my moment for a long walk!
There’s 4 hour free car parking along Grosvenor Park Terrace (see sat nav link in the Info bar), but on sunny days it can get very busy so you may have to go in one of the pay and display ones in which case Little Roodee Car Park is a good bet (Grosvenor Rd, Chester CH1 1SL).
From parking your car at Grosvenor Park Terrace, walk back up the road (in the direction you drove in) and go through the below entrance into Grosvenor Park, walk up the hill (keeping right at the fork) and you’ll come to the playground.
It’s great for small and big kids so it’s nearly always busy, especially at the weekends.
As well as some great play equipment there’s also the Grosvenor Miniature Railway, I’ll link here to the opening times and prices. I secretly harbour a love of steam trains so I’m always a willing participant even if the kids aren’t that bothered!
I’ll describe the route down to the river from here, but I’d recommend first having a wander through the park itself, there’s the quaint Lodge Cafe which is a nice spot to have a cuppa (toilets can be found here too) and at the far end of the park the atmospheric small ruins of St John’s church is worth a look.
From the playground, exit the park at the top entrance (by the railway), cross over the tracks, and walk straight ahead with the pond on your left.
At the path crossroads, turn left, looking straight ahead at a statue of one of the Duke of Westminsters.
Turn right when you get to the statue, but before you do, go straight on to a lovely look out point with views across the Chester meadows (which are also great for a walk!).
Walk straight ahead on the path (with the statue behind you), then turn left downhill at this junction.
Then turn right at the bottom.
Follow it down to the Queens Park Suspension Bridge, built in 1923 it’s one of Chester’s most iconic landmarks, get the kids to have a good jump on it as you go across and feel it wobble! To the left of the bridge is the highly recommended Snugburys ice cream cafe, we ALWAYS stop here on our trips to the river!
After crossing the suspension bridge, walk down the stairs down to the river and turn left.
Follow this all the way (keeping the river on your right) until it hits the oldest bridge in Chester - Old Dee Bridge built in 1387, although modified over the years to its current state today.
Here, cross over the road and enter Edgar’s Field Park (it’s next to a good pub called The Ship Inn).
This park is always much quieter than Grosvenor Park but is just as good. All of the equipment is wooden and the best part is the pirate ship on which the kids will have great fun unleashing their imagination!
At the far end of the park you’ll be able to spot Minerva’s Shrine which amazingly dates from the early second century!! It’s in honour of the Roman goddess Minerva and is the only one of its kind in Western Europe that remains in its original location. Quite frankly I’m surprised they built a children’s playground next to it, I don’t even let my best plates near my kids, let alone a Roman shrine!!
Exit the park where you came in, cross over the road and walk over Old Dee Bridge, the views from here over the weir are stunning. From here you have the option of the shorter route or longer route.
Shorter Route: At the end of the bridge turn right to walk along the opposite side of the river. This is a beautiful busy area, known as ‘The Groves’ where everyone who’s anyone comes to have an ice cream, listen to the bandstand and feed the ducks. There are tons of benches along here so have a sit down and take in the lovely views. You can even catch one of the many boat trips which sail from here.
Walk under the suspension bridge, and continue straight ahead. Don’t forget to turn around and admire the view of the suspension bridge.
At the end of the road will be The Boathouse pub, follow the road uphill then round to the right and you’ll be back at the car.
Longer Route: For a longer walk (6km in total) and yet another playground turn left off Old Dee Bridge and walk along Castle Drive, with the river on your left. The path goes past Little Roo Dee car park and goes under Grosvenor Bridge, the final of my Chester bridge trilogy! It was designed by the revered architect Thomas Harrison and opened in 1832.
After the bridge the path goes around the track of Chester Racecourse (bear in mind if the races are on the path will be closed!), this is the oldest, still operating race course in the world, pretty amazing that isn’t it! I’m ashamed to say I’ve never watched a race in all my years here!!
Pass under the arches of the railway bridge and continue walking past right to the end, where it will turn right to meet New Crane Street.
Cross over the road and head left along New Crane Street, then turn right onto Tower Road, the entrance to Water Tower Gardens is 150m on the right.
This is a recent find for us, but my eldest said it was the best park out of the three! It sits in a scenic little spot, just below the Chester famous walls. It’s definitely better for older kids as the main attraction is a fantastic large obstacle/climbing area which I attempted but failed to get round! There are also swings, a roundabout and basketball court for them. The little ones have a small play area too.
Next, head up the stairs here.
You’ll now be next to Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower, built in 1249, which along with Water Tower you’ll have seen at the entrance to the park were built to defend the port of Chester.
If you want a longer walk you could turn right (if standing looking at the tower) and follow the city walls along the northern and eastern sides, passing Chester Cathedral, the Eastgate Clock, The Roman Gardens and finally back down to The Groves.
But if you’ve got younger kids I’d advise going the shorter way back as mine were getting really tired by the time we got back to the car. For this, turn left (if you are standing looking at Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower) walk along a short section of The Walls till you merge with City Walls Road, where after about 200m you can pick up The Walls again.
Follow this with great views of Chester Racecourse on your right hand side.
On the opposite side of the road is the back entrance to The Architect pub, you’ll probably be in need of a drink and/or food at this point so it’s a good stop off point!
Cross over Grosvenor Road and pick up The Walls path again on the other side.
On your left hand side you’ll get a good view of Chester Castle.
Follow this all the way to the end where it meets Castle Drive, turn left, then cross over Old Dee Bridge and follow the above shorter walk instructions from here to get back to the car.
If all that walking and playing has tired you out check out Hickorys and The Moorings for food and drinks.
There is so much to explore in Chester, I feel I could write ten such walks as this! But I hope this is a good starting point to anyone wanting to explore this amazing city x