CHESTER has been named the ninth most expensive 'city break' destination in the UK – costing more for a weekend holiday than both Manchester and Liverpool.
An evening out and overnight stay in a four star hotel will cost a couple an average of £205.15, according to research by global travel website TripAdvisor.
The company based prices on the average cost of a hotel room, two dry Martinis, a steak dinner and bottle of wine for two, and a two-mile taxi ride.
Its findings, published yesterday, show Edinburgh to be the most costly destination, setting a couple back £331.28 for a night's wining and dining. The cheapest was Sheffield at just £153.94.
A city break in Liverpool costs £189.77 while a stay in Manchester comes in at £199.64.
The figures have led to raised eyebrows among business and tourism leaders in Chester, who maintain the city caters for all budgets.
Nick Brown, of Marketing Cheshire and tourist board Visit Chester, said: “The city represents excellent value for money for those on a tight budget or even those looking to spend a little more as a treat.
“We have a fantastic range of free activities such as visiting the cathedral, exploring the historic Walls and amphitheatre. The new look Grosvenor Park is also a fantastic addition to the city. All these attractions can be accessed easily and on foot.
“When it comes to staying over we have a great range of accommodation to suit all pockets and this is in demand with occupancy rates up 3 per cent on 2013.”
For Chester, the cost was broken down into £117.01 for the hotel room, £12.65 for the taxi, £58.75 for dinner and £16.74 for the Martini.
Peter Lewis, the town centre manager for the Business Improvement District (BID), said the mere fact that the figures were based on the price of a Martini cast doubt over their validity.
He said: “It maybe me but I've never had a Martini and certainly wouldn't be prepared to pay over £16 for one, or is that two?!
“To suggest that Chester is the eighth most expensive city in the UK to visit is simply untrue. Chester is simply a great city to visit and stay for a weekend and offers even greater value for money, we only need to ask our customers and visitors who re-visit the city time and time again.
“Good hotels, good transport links, good retail to suit every pocket and purse, lots to do and enjoy and great local attractions make Chester and indeed the region a must visit city.”
A spokesman for TripAdvisor said: “The results were taken from this year’s TripIndex UK Cities, which compares the cost of an evening out in each of the UK’s twenty most popular cities, taking into account typical costs for two people to enjoy a pre-meal cocktail at a four star hotel, a meal out, taxis, and an overnight stay for two in a four star hotel during the month of August.
“This year’s results reveal a clear north/south divide when it comes to cost - Sheffield, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester all feature in the top ten best value cities. By contrast, six of the ten most expensive cities are situated in the South of England – Cambridge, London, Oxford, Bath, Brighton and Southampton – with only Edinburgh offering less value for money.”