Why women love Chester
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:27 11 April 2016
Chester has all the ingredients for a girlie day out, as Janet Reeder discovers
Chester is the perfect location for a girlie day out. All those lovely shops, glam restaurants and of course the race days. How could we resist its charms?
Ladies day at the races is on May 4th. It’s when the city is taken over by visitors from far afield dressed to the nines and ready to enjoy all the hospitality Chester has to offer.
You can start your race day with breakfast and decadent glass of fizz at Commonhall Social. They have a tipster on hand to give you some pointers for the day, then you can stroll down to the racecourse.
Maybe take along a picnic lunch or book into the gorgeous 1539 restaurant (subject to availability) which was named after the year the racecourse first came into existence, or enjoy post-race dining.
Of course, even without the races, the city is a fabulous place to spend a day or even a weekend. it has some very good restaurants - including the Michelin starred Simon Radley at the five star Chester Grosvenor Hotel, which makes it worth the visit alone. A girlie thing to do here would be to have afternoon tea in the Grosvenor bar, or the Arkle restaurant.
For those intending to shop (and what lady’s day out would be complete without a little retail therapy?) Chester is a delight. There are chains such as Hobbs, Whistles, Zara etc as well as an exciting range of indie boutiques.
Find a wide selection of wearable clothing, shoes and accessories at Laundry Boutique on Bridge Street. The staff here are delighted to help you get the perfect outfit and really do go the extra mile to make you feel and look fabulous.
For those who love their vintage, Lily Vintage also on Bridge Street is a good place to make a beeline for - why not look for a vintage frock for the races?
And Britain’s Top Designer, Young Designer of the Year and this year’s Top Real Role Model of the Year finalist. Matthew O’Brien has just opened his boutique in Rufus Court where he will be creating beautiful bespoke designs for his clientele.
Add to the mix, the beauty salons, chic bars and some classy places to stay and Chester really does have all the ingredients for a brilliant ladies’ day out. Men would like it too of course!
THE INSIDER VIEW
Deborah Ardern lives in Chester and works at Morgan Boutique, Watergate Street
The fact Chester still has lots of independent shops and there is a real sense of community here. It is also full of history and culture.
Obviously we have a lot of high street names here but my favourites include the lovely French restaurant Chez Jules and Joseph Benjamin which is a good place for drinks on a Friday night, there’s also a new Burger place on Bridge Street Burger Shed41, which everyone says is very good.
I work at Morgan an independently owned chain on Watergate street. Our clientele come from all over the country. We even get people coming up from London, as it is much easier to shop here for clothing of the same quality and style and we cater for all kinds of customers. We can help people put together a complete outfit. We are aren’t just about selling clothes.
Andrew Musgrove manages Boodles on Eastgate Street
When we have a race day in Chester, it’s a real buzz for us as we are one of the sponsors and we have the chance to entertain our clients. We also do a couple of things before the races, including a ladies’ hat party with the hatmaker Jane Taylor and hold a number of events throughout the year as well as the races such as polo, tennis at the Mere and a salon prive event in September.
The Chester Grosvenor Hotel is always excellent and we have such a close relationship with them. For example we designed a suite of jewellery for their 150th anniversary last year. I always recommend the restaurant to our customers.
People think they have to spend a lot of money to shop with us but that is not the case. Although we do have high profile clients, you really don’t have to be rich to shop here.
Emma Roberts works at Chester Cathedral on Abbey Square
The centre of the cathedral has the most beautiful, magical and peaceful garden to escape from life. We also own the Dean’s Field, which houses the falconry and beautiful nature gardens within the city walls. A nice place to have a Cheshire Farm Ice Cream in the summer.
For eating venues in the city, I think that Chef’s Table and Sticky Walnut are joint first, with Joseph Benjamin next. I’m from London, and guests who come up from London think they are as good as anything there. The little lunch venue, I would recommend Marmalade.
Arbol House, stocks all the same designer home stuff as Graham & Greene at a fraction of the price. After suffering numerous hair disasters, I think that Vain on Watergate St, is extremely respectable and non-Chester.
Laura Lautrete is the manager at Urbano 32, Bridge Street
I spent the last 15 years in London and I love being here. There is a great sense of community spirit and people really pull together. It is great to visit Grosvenor Park. I take my daughter there to feed the ducks but they have a wonderful programme of outdoor theatre throughout the summer.
I also love Edgar House. I’d like to get married there. Unfortunately I have to meet someone first.
There’s Ginger, which is a good place to have a glass of wine and the Chef’s Table is very glamorous, there’s also Le Petit France, which is a great independent French restaurant and burgers at Shed41 are also very good. You could eat out here every night for a fortnight and never have to visit a chain restaurant.
Matthew O’Brien, clothes designer has just opened a store in Rufus Court
Chester born Matthew started Matthew O’Brien started his first Menswear clothing label, using just an ironing board and a sewing machine in his bedroom. Being dubbed The Boy in the Bedroom by the fashion press the clothing label was an instant success, with a following all over the world.
Owning his own shop.
‘I could actually visualise exactly how I would have it, booth inside and out! Even down to the signage outside, I could see it all, ‘ he says.
‘The demand for made-to-measure seems to be getting greater and I get people fromall walks of life as clients. I love everything about Chester, so openeing here was always a natural step for me.
I like Bar Lounge and Red Door, I also like eating out at Piccolino’s and I love it down by the river in the summer - obviously. I also kike the funkiness of Oddfellows. I like the way everything there is upside down.