Chester

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Stroll through the ancient streets, walk the ancient walls (Chester has the most complete city walls in Britain) and meander along the banks of the River Dee. Shop till you drop in the most compact shopping centre in Britain thanks to the world famous Rows, two-tier medieval galleries of shops.

Chester was originally settled by the Romans in the first century AD and called Fortress Diva, after the River Dee upon which it stands. With its imposing city walls - you can still see some of the original Roman structure - and its massive harbour, Deva rapidly became one of the most important Roman settlements in Britain.

Visit Britain Images Chester city wallDuring the Dark Ages, Chester came under attack from Viking raiders who sailed up the river in their longships. After the conquest of Britain by the Normans in 1066, William I created the first Earl of Chester who began the construction of Chester Castle.

By the Middle Ages, Chester had become a wealthy trading port: it was at this time that the Rows were built. However disaster befell the city during the Civil War as Chester was beseiged for two years before starvation forced its people to surrender.

As the centuries passed, the harbour gradually silted up and by Georgian times the port was virtually gone. Today some of the original quay can still be seen near the Roodee Racecourse.

Chester was now the county town of Cheshire and elegant new houses and terraces were built to house the wealthy merchants of the city.

During Victorian times the magnificent gothic-style Town Hall was built and the Eastgate Clock was erected in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Chester is famous for its black and white buildings including the Rows, medieval two-tier buildings above street level with covered walkways which today house many of Chester's shopping galleries. The city centre Cross is where you will find the Town Crier at 12 noon Tuesday-Saturday, Easter to September.

The famous city Walls, originally built by the Romans and today a walk of around two miles, offer a superb elevated view of the city on one side and a view of the distant Welsh mountains on the other.

Visit Britain Images - Chester Clock Tower

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Selected Attractions in and around Chester

Chester Visitor Centre - Guided walking tours. Vicars Lane, Chester Tel: 01244 351 609

Chester Cathedral - originally a Saxon Minster, then rebuilt as a Benedictine Abbey, the present building was begun in 1092 but not finished until 1535. St Werburgh Street, Chester Web: www.chestercathedral.com 

Roman Ampitheatre - the largest of its kind in Britain, situated next to the Chester Visitor Centre

Dewa Roman Experience - Stroll along a reconstructed Roman street, visit an archaeological 'dig' beneath the city of Chester, see the exhibits in the museum and touch the past yourself in the 'hands-on' studio. Admission fee. Pierpoint Lane, off Bridge Street, Chester Tel: 01244 343407

Chester Military Museum - 300 years of history. The museum is housed in Chester Castle. Admission fee.

Grosvenor Museum - award-winning museum. Fascinating exhibitions and fun for all the family. Admission Free. 27 Grosvenor Street, Chester Tel: 01244 402008

 

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Related Links:

The Romans in England

London's Roman City Wall

Historic UK's guide to York

 


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