See the historic city of Chester

Posted on: 22 February 2010 by Mark O'haire

Chester is an ancient city on the banks of the River Dee. The Romans first settled there 2000 years ago and the city centre is full of attractions of historical interest.

Chester is a city with a very long history. Along with York and London, Chester (or Deva as it was then known) was one of the three most important cities in Roman Britain. 2000 years later the walls the Romans built to defend the city are largely intact and are the most complete city walls in England.

The centre of modern Chester is largely contained within the walls and entrance is through a series of arches. On one of these, in Eastgate Street, is the site of the Eastgate Clock built to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The clock today is one of Chester’s most famous landmarks.

Visit Chester's Norman Cathedral

History in Chester is never far away. The Cathedral dates back to Norman times with spectacular wood carvings and stained glass windows. Outside, the Cloister Garden is an oasis of peace and quiet. Much of Chester consists of timbered buildings dating back over 700 years. Shops on two levels, known as Rows, provide a range of mainly independent stores.

The Roman influences are still prevalent in Chester, The Dewa Roman Experience has a galley and a reconstructed Roman Street and The Grosvenor Museum has a collection of artefacts.

There are a number of ways to see the sights of Chester. The walls provide a circular walking tour – though parts may be closed for essential maintenance. Open top buses, including a replica 1920’s style vehicle, tour the main attractions in the summer months. Chester Boat runs cruises on the River Dee past Grosvenor Park.

Just outside the city walls is the oldest racecourse in Britain. The course is built on the site of a Roman Harbour and there are race meetings on about 16 days a year. Chester Zoo, roughly 4 miles from the city centre at Upton is set in over 110 acres of land. There are over 400 species of animals including elephants, lions, tigers and monkeys.

Chester is also an ideal base for touring. The Cheshire countryside has a wealth of gardens, stately homes and historic monuments and, across the Welsh border, Llangollen and the North Wales Coast are less than an hour’s drive away.

Getting to Chester

By Road

The M53, M56 and North Wales Coast Road (A55) all run round the outskirts of Chester.

By Rail

Chester General Station is a 10 minute’s walk from the town centre. There are regular direct services to Manchester, Crewe, Llandudno, Holyhead and London.

By Air

The nearest airports are Liverpool John Lennon Airport (20 miles) and Manchester (35 miles).

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