This beautiful city is presently home to over 120,000 people, who enjoy Chester’s great historical importance as well as its shops, leisure facilities and green spaces. Founded by the Romans in AD79, Chester still bears signs of its past with its Roman amphitheatre located near to the River Dee. Other historic treasures include the unique Rows galleries which are the envy of many heritage cities, and the City Walls.
Chester is one of the UK’s leading tourist attractions and has much to offer. You can visit Chester Cathedral or Grosvenor Museum, take a boat trip on both the River Dee and Shropshire Union Canal, explore Chester Zoo, take part in a historic walking tour or enjoy a sightseeing bus trip. The city is also a very popular shopping and leisure destination with its latest designer stores, well-known high street names and a wealth of independent specialist shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and entertainment venues including the brand new Storyhouse theatre and cinema.
Chester is also famous for its Racecourse – the oldest racecourse in the UK, with the first recorded race held on 9 February 1539. The average race day attendance is 23,000, and race meetings bring approximately an additional £1.2m tourism revenue for the city.
Business is important in the city too. It is the principal economic centre within the borough of Cheshire West and Chester, providing 44 per cent of the borough’s total business premises and 32 per cent of its employment. Employment has expanded rapidly since the early 1990s, predominantly driven by strong growth at the Chester Business Park on the outskirts of the city centre. Plans are in place to develop a new business district in the city close to the railway station which connects Chester to London in just over two hours. Chester is a truly great place to live, work and visit.
Ellesmere Port was originally known as the village of Netherpool. It gradually changed its name to the Port of Ellesmere and, by the early 19th century, to Ellesmere Port. The settlements of Great Sutton and Little Sutton have existed in the area since the writing of the Domesday Book, which was completed in 1086. The first houses in Ellesmere Port itself were built around the docks and the first main street in the town was Dock Street, which now houses the National Waterways Museum.
The town has a strong industrial background which grew from the development of the Shropshire Union Canal and, later on, the Manchester Ship Canal – two of the region’s key routes used for shipping industrial goods. Industry continues to be important for this area with the Essar Oil Refinery in Stanlow, Urenco – the Energy Innovation Centre and the Vauxhall Motor car plant being some of the largest employers in the area.
Today the retail industry is growing in the town centre, with the expansion of the Port Arcades shopping centre, indoor market and at the out-of-town Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet. Alongside the outlet village is the Coliseum Leisure Park which has a multiplex cinema, ten-pin-bowling and many restaurants. Other local attractions include the Blue Planet Aquarium.
Ellesmere Port has a strong sense of community and many facilities. The area has three high schools and a further education college, West Cheshire College, which caters for the academic and vocational needs of the community. Residents also enjoy attractive green spaces including the popular Rivacre Valley Nature Park, Stanney Woods Nature Park and Whitby Park, which includes a skate park.
In 1721 Parliament gave permission for locks and other improvements on the River Weaver to allow sea-going vessels to reach Winsford Bridge. Specially designed boats, called Weaver flat boats, carried coal to the salt works and transported salt to Liverpool for export. Although the waterways through the town are no longer used for transporting salt, Winsford is home to the UK’s only working Salt Mine.
Over the last 30 years Winsford has changed dramatically in character. A once declining Victorian working town has become a modern and pleasant residential and industrial area. Cheshire Police and Fire Service have located their HQ in the town and a newly built Lifestyle Centre brings a large, multi-purpose venue with both leisure and theatre facilities open seven days a week.
Attractive landscaping work has also taken place along the River Weaver transforming the waterway from an industrial backwater to a place of recreation and enjoyment, with excellent fishing and sailing.