From the moment you step foot in Chester you’ll know you have arrived in a special city. It’s full of beautiful buildings, such as a 1,000-year-old cathedral, and there’s a special atmosphere here encompassed by the imposing city walls that make Chester feel like its own little world. But what is it really like to live in this former Roman fortress? In our moving to Chester guide, we’re bringing you the lowdown on living in this Cheshire city.
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A brief history of Chester
Chester was founded in AD 79 during the Roman Legio II Adiutrix and was used as a fort when the Romans expanded northwards. Initially named Deva, which was probably after the goddess of Dee, the city’s civilian population soon grew around the military base. It was the largest fortress built by the Romans in Britannia, with many believing it was supposed to become the capital instead of London.
Where is Chester?
Located along the River Dee and close to the Wales border, Chester is a walled city in Cheshire, North West England. It features a C1 to C4 postcode, falling under the Cheshire West and Chester local authority. After Warrington, it’s the second-largest settlement in Cheshire.
Moving to Chester
If you’re looking for a charming city steeped in history, Chester could just be the place for you. And while this is a place that never forgets its past, it’s also one that looks to the future with a vibrant city centre full of buzz and life. There’s a little bit of everything on offer in Chester.
Here’s what you need to know when it comes to house prices and more.
Buying in Chester
Once named one of the best places to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, Chester is a sought-after city with a range of housing types available. Popular areas include Boughton and the City Centre, which have many apartments for sale, while Hoole has a larger selection of houses and family homes, including semi and detached properties.
Expect to pay an average of £275,769 for a home in Chester. Detached homes are, understandably, the most expensive property type and average £393,242. If you’re looking for a one-bedroom apartment, be prepared to pay in the region of £180,000.
Chester properties are around £25,000 more expensive than the UK average home of £251,500. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect to pay a significantly higher amount above the national average if you’re moving to Chester. Property prices have increased by a marginal one per cent in the last 12 months. It’s not one of the cheapest places to buy a house, but still affordable for many.
There are around 30 estate and letting agents servicing in Chester, including well-known brands and independents.
Renting in Chester
Chester is a major city, which means it has a thriving rental scene. The average rent is currently around £750 per month, with one-bedroom properties renting in the region of £650. Around 40% of people living in Chester rent their home.
Cost of living
If you’re moving to Chester, you’ll be pleased to know that typical living costs are in line with the UK national average. A meal for one person is around £12, which is identical to the UK average. While a cappuccino is about £2.70, four pence cheaper than the nationwide cost.
Utility bills, which include electricity, heating, cooling, water and waste disposal, cost an average of £135. They are around £20 cheaper than the national average, so you can expect to save on utilities when moving to Chester. Broadband is around £28 per month, three pounds cheaper than the national average.
Life in Chester
Tourists flock to Chester to see its Roman influence and delightful architecture, so you’ll be living in a city that is in demand and always busy. From landmarks to shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, there’s plenty to see and do in Chester.
Green spaces are now an important criteria for the best places to live. Here, you’re in luck. Get back to nature in Chester by visiting Grosvenor Park, a Grade II, Green-Flag award open space in the city. It spans 20 acres and is situated just outside the city walls.
Chester General is the primary railway station in the city and has seven platforms. It offers direct services to Liverpool, Manchester and Crewe, with the latter offering trains to London, Birmingham and Cardiff.
There are plenty of places to shop in Chester, including malls like the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. You will also find a range of stores and independent boutiques in the Rows, a 700 year-old-two-tiered covered shopping gallery.
Where to eat in Chester
The Architect offers a quintessential gastropub experience with snug settings and a roaring fire, while Restaurant 1539 offers British cuisine and afternoon teas and stands out with its gallery-style dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the finishing post.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet corner to enjoy a drink or somewhere to shake your leg until the early hours, Chester has plenty of nightlife options. Head to Rosies for a glitzy nightclub or have a few drinks at BarLounge on Watergate Street.
Art & culture
The Storyhouse is an entertainment venue with a theatre, cinema and library housing an 800-seat auditorium. If you’re looking for some art then Lady Lever Art Gallery is just a 20-minute train ride from the city and displays paintings by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Stubbs and more.
Things to do
Spend some time wandering the city walls, a two-mile Roman-made wall that circles the entire city centre. And take a picture of the Victorian Eastgate Clock, which will look great on your social media page.
Chester Zoo also deserves a special mention – an extremely popular attraction that appeals to all ages.
What’s not to like?
Chester could have slightly better travel connections for a city. Even though it serves other major cities, train times take a while, and there are no tram or metro services available.
Who lives there?
Chester has a population of around 670,000 and a median age of 43.
Typical broadband speeds
Expect to get broadband speeds of around 40mbps in Chester, which is lower than the national average of 67mbps.
The crime average in Chester is just over 4,000, which is well below the UK average of 10,000. Anti-social behaviour is the most reported crime type in the city.
Want to find out more about moving to Chester?
Get even more information about moving to Chester with Move iQ’s property report, which provides in-depth information on specific homes in this North-West England city, so you can get to know the area before you move there.
It will pull together information on property value, local schools, crime rates and more. Get yours below!
Last Updated: November 2nd, 2021