Historic Chester

Chester is one of the prettiest historical towns in Britain, with a rare, two-mile ring of Roman and medieval walls surrounding an atmospheric cluster of Tudor and Victorian buildings. Together, these old buildings tell the colourful story of a city that was once the largest Roman fortress in the British isles. Today, Chester is also home to Britain’s most popular zoo and a spectacular aquarium.

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Chester's historic attractions

Chester began as the mighty fortification of Castra Devana, a Roman settlement established by its 20th Legion, and significant parts of the wall built in AD70 remain. Walking its length is one of the great attractions in Chester.

Along the way you’ll also discover the Eastgate Clock, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897, and probably the second most famous giant timepiece in Britain after London’s Big Ben. Nearby you’ll find little shops selling bric-a-brac, secondhand books and jewellery, and a leisurely browse here is of best things to do in Chester for finding original gifts and souvenirs.

Near the top of your list of architectural attractions in Chester must be The Rows, a series of medieval galleried arcades along streets fanning out from the city’s historic centre. Unique in the world, this ancient mall once housed cobblers and ironmongers when Chester was renowned for its cheese, cloth and horse fairs. Current vendors mainly serve modern shopping needs but the Ancient World emporium offers medieval replicas, armour and Celtic statues.

Chester Cathedral was founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092, but even older parts of the building remain – including medieval wood carvings featuring hunting scenes, angels, dragons and even an elephant carrying a castle. Take the tour to the bell tower, where the view is one of the best things to see in Chester.

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