The unique walled town of Chester is the county town of Cheshire. It is famed for its rich history, which spans more than 2,000 years. The city was born through the endeavours of the ancient Romans who fortified the town in 79AD as the Deva fortress, named after the River Dee on which it stands. Much of Chester’s Roman legacy has survived to this day including the vast city walls themselves. Refortified by the Saxons, these barriers provide excellent elevated views of the city as part of a 3 km public walkway. Its heritage can also be seen in the partially excavated amphitheatre, originally used for gladiatorial contests and military exercises. The amphitheatre was only discovered as recently as 1929. It is the largest known structure of its kind in Britain, and is free to visit for a taste of how Roman Chester would have looked.
Although steeped in history, Chester juxtaposes the ancient and the modern to great effect. The successful fusion of old and new is personified by the great shopping, restaurants and pubs found in the medieval two-tier gallery buildings known as the ‘Rows’. At the Rows you can have a bite to eat at a modern bistro and then walk outside to be met by the town crier, a regular event now unique to Chester. Chester has a great range of restaurants and cafés, but you cannot beat the romance of a dinner on the Dee in the form of a summer evening cruise.
After a shopping spree there are few better ways to unwind than to visit Chester’s beautiful cathedral. Chester Cathedral was built in the 11th century and has seen much restoration, some of which is still being undertaken to this day. The cathedral has free entry and is one of Chester’s most popular destinations, with more than one million visitors per year. Other awesome attractions include the colourful Victorian Eastgate clock, second only in UK popularity to London’s Big Ben. Also, Chester Zoo is a great family day out, and is home to Red Pandas and a unique African Black Rhino experience. Finally, the Roodee Races at Chester Racecourse offers the oldest horse racing in the UK, situated on the grounds of the Roman harbour. There is plenty to do and experience within the walls of Chester, and its appeal is strengthened by its prime location and good road and rail links, which make it an ideal starting point for trips to Manchester, Liverpool, North Wales and beautiful rural Cheshire.