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Chester, nestled on the River Dee's banks, is one of northern England's most historical gems, whilst also being home to the UK's largest zoo. Those with car rental can fully explore the town while also taking the time to visit other cities in the north. You can even make your way to north Wales, if the mood takes you.
Who to Book With
There are numerous hire companies to choose from in Chester. Quite a few of them (including Europcar, Thrifty and County Car and Van Rental) are located on Bumper's Lane. Other choices include Enterprise, Avis, Hertz. Budget and Moston Van Hire. These companies accept online reservations, which are the cheapest way to book.
Best Time to go
The English summer, from June to August, is the period that is regarded as the best time for visiting Chester. This is when accommodation and car hire can be difficult to find if not booked in advance, however. Some parties prefer to come to the town in the spring or Autumn, as attractions such as the zoo are less busy.
Need to Know Essentials
To collect their rental car, a driver must bring along the following necessities:
- A valid British driving license
- A second form of ID other than the UK driving license
- The credit card that was used to make the booking
- Printed confirmation of rental or other proof
Chester town centre is small enough to be navigated on foot, but those that wish to venture out to the zoo and elsewhere around the northwest will most certainly need a hire vehicle. The council supplies a certain amount of parking spaces in the town centre, but traffic wardens are always on the lookout, itching to dispense heavy fines to any offenders.
Chester is essentially a driver's town and does not have a public transport system as well-developed as some of the other towns and cities that surround it in the northwest. Aside from car rental, the only way to get around is by taxi or bus.
Chester is without its own metro system, but the train can be relied upon to get into town. There is an hourly service to and from the UK capital London, and Merseyrail supplies transport to and from both Birkenhead and Liverpool on the Wirral line. The journey to and from Manchester takes around an hour, with services supplied by Northern Rail.
Abbey Taxis is the main player in Chester when it comes to taxi transportation. Its fares are usually agreed upon before travel although most of the vehicles do come with meters. It is also possible to take cabs provided by the local council.
First, Stagecoach, and Arriva/Stagecoach are the main suppliers of bus travel around Chester town centre and to other cities around the northwest and northern Wales. The number 1 service supplied by First runs to and from Wrexham, while the number 1 service provided by Stagecoach runs to and from Liverpool and Birkenhead.
While Chester Zoo is the main draw here, there are plenty of other, mainly historical, attractions that keep tourists heading to Chester throughout the year. The Cathedral, a fine Benedictine Monastery, is usually of interest to historians, as are Chester Castle and the Dewa Roman Experience. To learn more about Chester's glorious past, a trip to the Grosvenor Museum and Heritage Centre is advised. Once you have exhausted all the great sightseeing options in town, why not head out to the surrounding area on daytrips?
Liverpool - This is a steady 15 mile drive from Chester town centre for those with car hire and is often completely stress-free. Those that make the trip will most probably want to pay the Beatles Museum a visit and might even be lucky enough to catch the city's world-famous football team in action.
Manchester - Known as Liverpool's biggest rival in more areas than one, Manchester is a pleasant one-hour journey away through the northwest countryside. The north's largest city is famous for its musical heritage and fine shopping options along its main street, in Deansgate or in the Trafford centre. Football fans are also spoilt for choice here with the two top tier home teams Manchester United and Manchester City.
Wales - Bordered by Chester and most visitors to the town take the opportunity to visit the country. If both places can't be visited, it is usually a choice between the town of Wrexham and Llandudno, an old Victorian seaside town.