Chester is an old city dating back approximately 2000 years to Roman
times (when parts of the City wall date from) when it was known as
Deva. They built it as a fortress for Legio XX Valeria Victrix, the
20th Legion, safe in the loop of the River Dee and used it as a port
and defense from the Welsh Celts. It was then the principal town of
England, with many relics remaining today, including the weir on the
river to keep water levels high and stop ships going too far, the
'cross', where the four main streets intersect, as well as remains of a
strong room and hypocaust system underneath shops and, controversially,
half of its original amphitheater, with the other half built over. The
Roman Empire fell three hundred years later.
In AD 605 or AD 606 king
of Northumbria defeated a big Celtic army at Chester and established
the Anglo-Saxon position in the area. The Saxons extended and
strengthened the walls of Chester to protect the city against the
Danes. After the 1066 Norman Conquest, Chester Castle was built as
another defense from the Celts. Along with this, the Normans built what
is now Chester Cathedral. In the Georgian era, the city became again a
center of affluence, a town with elegant terraces where the landed
aristocracy lived. This trend continued into the Industrial Revolution,
when the city was populated with the upper classes in amongst the
industrial sprawls of Manchester and Liverpool.
The Duke of Westminster
who owns an estate at Eaton near the village of Eccleston owns a
significant amount of land in Chester. Grosvenor is the Duke's family
name. In 1969 the City Conservation Area was designated. Over the next
20 years the emphasis was placed on saving historic buildings, such as
The Falcon Inn, Dutch Houses and Kings Buildings. On January 13, 2002,
Chester was granted Fairtrade City status.
Place Of Interest
In a big Victorian building opposite the Roman amphitheater, is the
largest uncovered amphitheater in Britain. The center has a gift shop
and a licensed restaurant serving meals and snacks. Admission is free.
In the center of town much-photographed Eastgate clock is situated.
Another interesting activity is to climb the nearby stairs and walk
along the top of the city wall for a view down on Chester – Passing
through centuries of English history, the River Dee, formerly a major
trade artery, and many 18th-century buildings. The wall also goes past
some Roman ruins, and it's possible to leave the walkway to explore
them. The walk is charming and free.
Eastgate Street is now a pedestrian way and musicians often perform for
pleasure beside St. Peter's Church and the Town Cross.
The Rows are double-decker layers of shops, one tier on the street
level, the others stacked on top and connected by a footway. The upper
tier is like a continuous galleried balcony.
Museums & Art Galleries
Grosvenor Museum, Cheshire Military Museum, Ellesmere Port Boat Museum
Hack Green (Secret) Nuclear Bunker, Moldsworth Motor Museum are the
main museums to visit in Chester. The city has two cinemas and a
theater, the Gateway Theater, and in the summer the city hosts the
annual Chester Music Festival, the Chester Midsummer Watch Parade and
the Chester Mystery Plays, the latter of which dates from medieval
The city Chester is a popular shopping center, with its unique 'Rows'
or galleries (basically two levels of shops) which date from medieval
times. The city is heavily populated by chain stores both in the center
and on retail parks to the west, and also features two indoor shopping
centers, an indoor market and a department store, Browns of Chester,
once known as 'the Harrods of the North', now absorbed by the Debenhams
chain. There are two main indoor shopping centers, The Grosvenor Mall
and the Forum. The latter refers to the city's Roman past, and is to be
demolished in the Northgate Development to make way for new shopping
streets, a new indoor market, a new library and a performing arts
Food & Drink
Chester has wide variety of eating establishments, covering a whole
range of culinary areas. There are many national restaurant chains and
a wealth of high quality local restaurants. The Bell Pepper, Fat Cat
Café, Praslin, Chez Jules and Bella Pasta are some famous
restaurants providing foods from different cuisine. Numerous pubs
populate the city, some of which are medieval, as do wine bars at
night, and Chester also has five night-clubs.
Like any major town and city Chester has a wide range of educational
facilities for every age group. University College Chester and West
Cheshire College are the place for higher education. The Hammond School
of Dance and Education is the institution that combines dance and drama
tuition with normal educational studies.
The city has a football team, Chester City FC, who play in the Deva
Stadium and a national basketball team, the Chester Jets, who play in
the city's Northgate Arena leisure center.
Hotels & Accommodation
Being a city that attracts thousands of tourists and business people
every month, there has to be a large number of hotels in Chester. Chester Grosvenor, De
Veer Carden Park, Grosvenor Pulford Hotel, Mill Hotel, The Queen Hotel
– these are some prime hotels with star rating in Chester. Beside all
these hotels Chester hosts a number of lodges, youth hostels and budget
hotels. Among them Alton Lodge Hotel, Dene Hotel, Green Bough Hotel, Ba
Ba Guesthouse, Bowman Lodge, Chester Youth Hostel are some to mention
about. Comfort Inn Chester, Holiday Inn Chester South, Holiday Inn
Ellesmere Port, Moat House Chester are some of the famous hotel chains in Chester.
Tours and Sightseeing
Chester has a few organized tour operator and car rental agencies.
Organized tours include all the main tourist attractions. Different
group or individual tour are arranged by different tour operators –
some tours consist of Guided Walking Tours. Specialized tours are
conducted by the government tourist authority in the following
languages: French, Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Cantonese,
Mandarin, Shanghai, Romanian, Russian, and Dutch.
Chester Airport known as Hawarden Airport
is the only way to reach Chester by air. It's well connected with all
the cities in UK and Europe. Chester has a railway station to the North
East of the city center, designed by Francis Thompson with an
impressive Italianate frontage dating from 1848. Trains go from here
along the North Wales Coast Line, as well as to London Euston,
Liverpool, Crewe, Manchester, Wrexham and Shrewsbury. Bus transport in
the city is provided by the council owned and operated Chester Bus.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chester had an extensive
tram network from Saltney in the west at the Welsh border to Chester
General station in the North West.
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