Things to do in Chester
Chester’s Roman Amphitheatre was built in the late first century AD, when many such buildings were being constructed throughout the Roman Empire. It lay just outside the south-east corner of the Roman legionary fortress, and was probably used both for entertainment and for practising troop manoeuvres and weapon training. The amphitheatre was the largest in Britain.
Founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092, Chester Cathedral has a rich and varied history. The original church was built in the Romanesque or Norman style, parts of which can still be seen today. This church was subsequently rebuilt from around 1250 onward in the Gothic style, a process which took about 275 years and resulted in the incredible structure seen today.
With the most complete set of monastic buildings in the country, a Georgian square and series of streets, the remains of Roman barracks on the Dean’s field and the largest open green spaces within the walls, visitors can experience everything the cathedral has to offer.
The city walls in Chester are the oldest, longest and most complete in Britain, parts of which are almost 2000 years old. Chester is the only city in Britain that retains the full circuit of its ancient defensive walls. Walking the complete circuit gives wondrous views down into the city and gives a fantastic insight into Chester’s long history.
The Roman Gardens at Chester stand to the south east of the city, just outside the city walls near the Newgate and Chester Roman Amphitheatre. The gardens were constructed in 1949 by Graham Webster, then curator of the Grosvenor Museum, and Charles Greenwood to display the building fragments from the Roman legionary fortress of Deva, including pieces from some of the most important military buildings, the main baths and the legionary headquarters and general artefacts found throughout the city. Most of the Roman building fragments now on display in the gardens were unearthed at the end of the nineteenth century during excavations in Chester.
Opened in 1931 by the Mottershead family, Chester Zoo is now home to over 21,000 endangered and exotic animals, from 500 different species, based in 125 acres of award-winning zoological gardens.
Opened in May 2017, Storyhouse is a library, theatre and cinema. Storyhouse had one million visits in its first year. The building was formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen and The Duchess of Sussex, on 14th June 2018.
The pioneering new library within Storyhouse, where members of the community work alongside city librarians, boasts the longest opening hours of any UK public library and is open every day until 11pm.
The organisation houses a highly successful theatre company which has gained national acclaim for its home-produced new stage adaptations.
Cheshire Oaks Outlet Village
Located just 15 minutes from Chester, off Junction 10 of the M53, Cheshire Oaks Outlet Village is the largest outlet centre in the United Kingdom. It has over 145 stores and was the first designer outlet village in Europe when it opened in March 1995.
14 miles outside Chester, Beeston Castle is one of the most dramatic ruins in the English landscape. Built by Ranulf, 6th Earl of Chester, in the 1220s, the castle incorporates the banks and ditches of an Iron Age hillfort. Henry III seized the castle in 1237 and it remained in royal ownership until the 16th century. In the Civil War it withstood a long siege in 1644-5, before being surrendered by the Royalists and partially demolished.
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