About Chester


Lying on the River Dee close to the Welsh border, Chester is a historical city in north-west England.

The city's four main roads - Eastgate Street, Northgate Street, Watergate Street and Bridge Street - follow routes laid almost 2,000 years ago when Chester was founded as a Roman fort. This fort was one of the three main Roman army bases in Britannia.

Also dating from this time, Chester's civilian amphitheatre is Britain's largest known military amphitheatre, while the Minerva Shrine is the only rock cut Roman shrine still in situ in Britain.

A distinguishing landmark of Chester is its city walls. Marking the boundaries of the medieval city, these are Britain's most complete city walls, most sections of which are listed Grade I.

Chester's 'rows', another distinctive medieval feature, are unique in Britain. These consist of buildings with shops or dwellings on the lowest two storeys; those on the ground floor are entered by steps, while those on the first floor are accessed behind a continuous walkway. Rows in one of Chester's shopping centres are believed to hold the oldest shop front in England.

Despite its reputation as the "English medieval city par excellence" (much of its characteristic black and white architecture looks medieval), most of Chester's buildings actually date from the Victorian era. The Grosvenor Museum and Chester Town Hall are two such examples.

The city's principal surviving medieval structure is Chester Castle, a Norman castle built by William the Conqueror. Other attractions include Eastgate Clock (reportedly England's most photographed clock after Big Ben), Chester Zoo (the UK's largest zoological gardens) and numerous pubs and bars. Chester is also the setting of the soap opera Hollyoaks (although most filming actually takes place around Liverpool).