HUNDREDS of Cestrians are enjoying dining ‘alfresco’ as a new trend sweeps the city.

Despite the gloomy weather, bar pub and restaurant owners are celebrating as their outdoor dining terraces and gardens have been filled with punters, families and diners enjoying the new alfresco dining experience.

From the tent-filled terrace at Oddfellows, on Lower Bridge Street, to the champagne filled sun terrace at Convivio, Grosvenor Street, restaurateurs are praising their alfresco experiences as ‘hidden gems’ which make dining out in Chester feel more like a meal in the Mediterranean.

Steven Wundke, head of the Restaurant Association of Cheshire, has praised the outdoor dining experience saying that it makes people feel like they are on holiday and allows them to enjoy the fantastic views of the city while they dine.

“People want the atmosphere they have enjoyed abroad and with the quality of awnings, umbrellas and heating units even the unpredictable weather here in the UK can be transformed into an oasis of calm and tranquillity, many of which enjoy some of the best views and atmospheres anywhere,” he said.

Regarded as one of the city’s ‘hidden secrets’ 1539 Restaurant and Chester Racecourse is one of many restaurants to offer the alfresco experience to diners wanting to enjoy their coffee or meal in the open air.

But Alex Jarvis of 1539 believes many people still think the restaurant is exclusively for race-goers, and said: “We welcome visitors and while many walk straight off the walls and have lunch or dinner outside, locally I think people believe they have to be a member to eat on our sun terrace and that isn’t the case.”

With restaurateurs continuing to add alfresco experiences to their city centre establishments, diners are being encouraged to carry on enjoying views of the riverside, at Hickorys, and city centre, at Bar Lounge, until the summer sun fades away.