When we think of England, we often think about quaint, old, and posh English cities. We typically think of London in particular. But England has many interesting and utterly stunning towns and villages. One that is chief among them is the small city of Chester. This city is a treasure trove of English history and attractions. It is also small and compact with most of the attractions being conveniently close together. One day is enough to see and do most of the things in Chester.
Chester is easy to get to. It is only a 200-mile drive from London or a 30-mile drive from neighboring Liverpool. It is also linked by train to England's efficient and convenient rail network. It's only a short walk from the impressive train station to the town center.
- When To Go: Year Around (But Spring And Summer Are Better)
Chester's Roman Character
Chester is a walled cathedral city in England close to the border with Wales. Like many cities in England and Wales, it was first founded by the Romans. It was founded by the Roman Legio II Adiutrix during the reign of Emperor Vespasian in AD 79 - this Roman fort here was uncommonly large for Roman forts in Britain. Indeed its name "Chester" is from the Latin word "Castrum" which was the word for a large fortified Roman military camp. These forts were normally built to set plans and were all square or rectangular in shape. This is also where English cities like Manchester and Worchester get their names.
The City of Chester is unique among English cities as the city preserves the old Roman layout and the medieval walls (still standing) of the city and the streets within all follow the Roman town. Parts of the Roman ruins have been excavated but it's difficult to excavate much as the modern city is sitting on top of the Roman ruins. But still, the city so faithfully follows the old Roman plan, that with a little imagination you can see the old Roman fort that grew become a trading center and then a city.
Roman Attractions Of Chester
Roman Amphitheatre: Perhaps The Most Important Roman Ruin In Chester
Dewa Roman Experience Museum: Comprehensive History Of The Roman Period
Grosvenor Museum: For Comprehensive History Of Chester
Roman Gardens: Display Many Of The Roman Artifacts Discovered
Chester's Tutor Character
The city boasts some of Britain's best architecture. The city's center is characterized by classic Tutor housing (many of them date from the Tutor period but dig a little deeper and many are Victorian built to imitate Tutor style). The streets are full of these distinctive black and white buildings - making the streets some of the quaintest in England to enjoy a brew.
The Cross Chester
The Cross Chester is located in the heart of this old city and sits at the ancient Roman Principia, the military HQ of the Roman army of this region of Britain. Besides being central and beautiful, it remains the site of daily proclamations by the city's Town Crier. Chester is one of many cities and towns in the UK that maintain town criers for the tourist and amusement of their populations.
Time Of Proclamations: 12:00 (noon)
Crier's Duty: To Read Out Court Proclamations And Other General News For The Townsfolk
Crier's Dress: They Wear Elaborate And Traditional Dress
Chester's cathedral is truly magnificent. It is well maintained. Its construction started way back in 1,093 - almost a thousand years ago! This means that it spent half of its life as a Catholic cathedral and was initially a Norman cathedral. It has of course been significantly expanded over the years. Most of the cathedral has been built since 1,283.
On the inside, it has a warm-mellowish appearance due to the sandstone it is constructed from. The cathedral is without a doubt one of Chester's principal attractions. Like so many modern cathedrals across the United Kingdom, Chester Cathedral comes with a gift shop and a cafe so that you can really relax and take your time on your visit.
Chester Cathedral Information
- Denomination: Church Of England
- Admission Cost: Free (Donations Recommended)
- Opening Times: Monday - Friday 09:00 - 19:00
- Opening Times: Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
- Opening Times: Sunday 12:00 - 17:00
Chester Town Hall
The Chester Town Hall is one of the main building attractions in Chester. This proud building is constructed out of grey and red sandstone in a Gothic style. Today this magnificent Victorian building remains a center for seminars and conferences is one of the main attractions every visitor should see.
- Date Completed: 1869
- Height Of Tower And Spire: 160 feet
Like all English towns and cities, you will be spoilt for choice for bar or restaurant in which to have a refreshing ale or to wine and dine. The main streets are filled with dining and shopping establishments. There are also plenty of accommodation options including hotels in old Victorian buildings.
In summary, Chester is just a small city but it is rich in history and showcases English architecture at its very finest.