The city of Chester, in the north west of England, is steeped in Roman history and dripping with the glitz and glamour associated with a modern and vibrant British metropolis. It has enough designer shopping, top-notch dining and swanky bars to keep the glitterati in a sparkling mood - plus a selection of hotels in Chester that runs the gamut from budget hotels, through to luxury hotels, and a notable five-star choice with a Michelin-rated restaurant.
It's the history and the horse racing that most people flock to this fair city for: the ancient city walls of Chester are as perfect an example of Roman building as you're ever likely to find in Britain and the sound of hooves on turf keep the punters happy when the sun shines.
Boat trips on the River Dee are also popular during the months of spring, summer and autumn, when thousands of ice creams are licked beside the sparkling water.
Step onto the city's Roman walls, the most complete in Britain, and wander into the centre of the action, where shoppers swing boutique bags in the shadow of the famous Eastgate Clock, and where stunning black and white reminders of Tudor architecture compete for attention with the unique, centuries-old Rows.
Chester hotels are mostly located within the diminutive city centre. The central range of accommodation is handy for everything you might want to see and do during your city break in Chester, and there is a good range of lodging to suit every budget.
A wider variety of cheaper options, such as homely B&Bs, is located a short walk from the centre. You'll find budget brands Premier Inn and Travelodge in the city as well as hotels from major brands such as Best Western, Macdonald, Holiday Inn Express, Mercure, Holiday Inn, Days Inn and Crowne Plaza. The city's most famous property is the Cheshire set favourite, The Grosvenor.
Staying in Chester means that you are near to Liverpool and Manchester as well as North Wales. Chester car hire is available so you can get out and about and discover the North West.
Top five attractions
The kids will love this 500-acre zoo, where more than 7,000 animals are homed in as natural as environment as is possible in England's north west.
Shoppers, diners and lovers of traditional pubs unite and rejoice in the Rows. Or simply marvel at the distinctive architecture of this charming early shopping mall made up of undercover first-floor walkways.
As well as the Rows, the City Walls are free to look at, free to walk on and free to explore. Imaginations will run wild as you tread in the footsteps of the Romans on this always impressive and accessible piece of history.
The tree-lined banks of Chester's River Dee are particularly lovely in summer, though a boat trip at any time of the year provides a fun and interesting way to see Chester from the water.
You don't have to spend much to see the best of Chester, and free entrance to this small but informative museum means rainy days needn't be miserable.
Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle Festival; March/April: Celebrate the culinary culture of Chester at this annual event, where chefs whip up delicious treats and the whole city has its taste buds tantalised.
Horse racing; May to September: Pretty frocks, fetching headgear and tottering high heels are on parade alongside the main event of horse racing at the city-centre racecourse, the Roodee. Fancy a flutter? Book your hotel in Chester early to avoid disappointment.
Roman Festival; June: An action-packed few days that really celebrate the city's Roman past; sadly the festival won't be back until 2014.