Chester Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Chester

Chester is a city with many worthwhile landmarks. Eastgate Clock, Chester Castle and Chester Roman Amphitheater are just a few of the wonderful sights in this fine city. So, if you're looking for a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, travel along a route that takes you to the most remarkable spots in the city.
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Chester Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Chester Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: England » Chester (See other walking tours in Chester)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Chester Town Hall
  • Chester Cathedral
  • Eastgate and Eastgate Clock
  • Chester Rows
  • Guildhall
  • Grosvenor Museum
  • Chester Roman Gardens
  • Chester Roman Amphitheatre
  • Grosvenor Park
  • St John the Baptist's Church
  • Chester City Walls
Chester Town Hall

1) Chester Town Hall

Chester Town Hall is in Northgate Street in the centre of the city of Chester. In 1698 an Exchange was built to accommodate the city's administrators. This building burnt down in 1862. A competition was held to build a new town hall and this was won by William Henry Lynn of Belfast. It was officially opened on 15 October 1869 by the Prince of Wales who was accompanied by W. E. Gladstone, the Prime Minister. On 27 March 1897 the council chamber on the second floor was gutted by fire. It was restored by T. M. Lockwood the following year. In 1979 a clock was installed in the tower with three faces.

The hall is built in banded pink and buff sandstone with a grey-green slate roof. The building is nearly symmetrical, in ten bays, and in the Gothic Revival style, applying features of late 13th-century Gothic architecture to a modern use. Above the central two bays is a tower which terminates with gables and a short diagonal spire. The spire rises to a height of 160 feet (49 m). The building has a semi-basement, two main storeys and a dormer attic. The entrance is approached by two opposed flights of steps. Above the porch are four sculptures in Bath stone depicting episodes from the history of the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chester Cathedral

2) Chester Cathedral (must see)

Chester Cathedral is the mother church of the Church of England Diocese of Chester, and is located in the city of Chester. The cathedral, formerly St Werburgh's abbey church of a Benedictine monastery, is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since 1541 it has been the centre of worship, administration, ceremony and music for the city and diocese.

The cathedral is a Grade I listed building, and the heritage site, including the former monastic buildings, lying to the north of the cathedral is also listed Grade I. The cathedral, typical of English cathedrals in having been modified many times, dates from between 1093 and the early 16th century, although the site itself may have been used for Christian worship since Roman times. All the major styles of English medieval architecture, from Norman to Perpendicular are represented in the present building.

The cathedral and monastic buildings were extensively restored during the 19th century amidst some controversy, and a free-standing bell-tower was added in the 20th century. The buildings are a major tourist attraction in Chester, a city of historic, cultural and architectural importance. In addition to holding services for Christian worship, the cathedral is used as a venue for concerts and exhibitions.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Eastgate and Eastgate Clock

3) Eastgate and Eastgate Clock (must see)

Eastgate and Eastgate Clock in Chester stand on the site of the original entrance to the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix. It is a prominent landmark in the city and is said to be the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben. The original gate was guarded by a timber tower which was replaced by a stone tower in the 2nd century, and this in turn was replaced probably in the 14th century.

In the medieval period the Eastgate was the most important entrance to the city. Its design was possibly influenced by Caernarvon Castle, which makes the early 14th century its most likely date for its construction. It consisted of a tall rectangular tower with octagonal corner turrets. At its flanks were lower towers which also had octagonal turrets. During an excavation in 1971 a portion of the northern flanking turret was found, consisting of cream-coloured sandstone (in contrast to the red sandstone normally used in Chester).

By the 18th century the city walls were no longer needed for defensive purposes and so, rather than being pulled down, they were converted into walkways. The medieval gateways were obstructing the traffic into the city and were replaced by wider arched gateways with balustraded parapets. The first gateway to be replaced was Eastgate in 1768 which was rebuilt as an "elegant arch". It was built at the expense of Richard Grosvenor, 1st Earl Grosvenor, and designed by Mr Hayden (or Heyden), the earl's surveyor of buildings. The present gateway is a three-arched sandstone structure which carries the walkway forming part of Chester city walls.

In 1899 a clock was added to the top of the gateway to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria two years earlier. It is carried on openwork iron pylons, has a clock face on all four sides, and a copper ogee cupola. The clock was designed by the Chester architect John Douglas. The whole structure, gateway and clock, was designated as a Grade I listed building on 28 July 1955.

After souvenir hunters stole the hands of the clock, the city council glazed the clock faces in 1988. In 1992 an electric mechanism replaced the original wind-up mechanism. In 1996 the clock faces were restored with their original colours.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chester Rows

4) Chester Rows (must see)

Chester Rows are a set of structures in each of the four main streets of Chester, in the United Kingdom, consisting of a series of covered walkways on the first floor behind which are entrances to shops and other premises. At street level is another set of shops and other premises, many of which are entered by going down a few steps.

Dating from the medieval era, the Rows may have been built on top of rubble remaining from the ruins of Roman buildings, but their origin is still subject to speculation. In some places the continuity of the Rows has been blocked by enclosure or by new buildings, but in others modern buildings have retained the Rows in their designs. Undercrofts or "crypts" were constructed beneath the buildings in the Rows. The undercrofts were in stone while most of the buildings in the Rows were in timber.

Today about 20 of the stone undercrofts still exist, but at the level of the Rows very little medieval fabric remains. Many of the buildings containing portions of the Rows are listed and some are recorded in the English Heritage Archive. The premises on the street and Row levels are used for a variety of purposes; most are shops, but there are also offices, restaurants, cafés, and meeting rooms. Chester Rows are one of the city's main tourist attractions.
Sight description based on wikipedia

5) Guildhall

The Guildhall, formerly Holy Trinity Church, is a redundant church in Watergate in the city of Chester. The church closed in 1960, became known as the Guildhall, and was converted to be used for secular purposes. The original building, which had a north aisle, probably dated from the 14th century. The east end and south side were rebuilt in 1680. The present church was built between 1865 and 1869 to a design by James Harrison.

It is built in red sandstone with grey slate roofs. Its plan consists of a continuous nave and chancel with a clerestory, a west porch, a detached south spire and porch, and a vestry to the south. The tower has three stages with double doors to the east and above this a relief sculpture of Christ enthroned. The second stage has a lancet window and clock faces to the east and south. The third stage has two-light bell-openings, corner buttresses, a pierced parapet and a recessed octagonal stone spire with three lucarnes to each face.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Grosvenor Museum

6) Grosvenor Museum

Grosvenor Museum is located on Grosvenor Street in Chester. Its full title is The Grosvenor Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, with Schools of Science and Art, for Chester, Cheshire and North Wales. It takes its name from the family name of the Dukes of Westminster, who are major landowners in Cheshire. The museum opened in 1886, it was extended in 1894, and major refurbishments took place between 1989 and 1999. Its contents include archaeological items from the Roman period, paintings, musical instruments, and a room arranged as a Victorian parlour.

The museum is in Ruabon red brick with sandstone dressings, and it has a red tile roof in free Renaissance style. Above the door are spandrels with carvings representing Science and Art. The Dutch gables are carved with peacocks flanked by the supporters of the Grosvenor arms. In the entrance hall are four columns made from Shap granite, and a mosaic which features the city arms, which was made by the firm of Ludwig Oppenheimer. The museum has over 100,000 visitors each year. The museum contains a collection of Roman tombstones. It also owns 23 paintings by Louise Rayner, which is the largest number in any public collection. The museum also holds six recorders made by Peter Bressan; four of these form the only complete set of Bressan recorders in the country.

Operation hours: Monday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm;
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chester Roman Gardens

7) Chester Roman Gardens (must see)

Roman Gardens was formed in 1949 and offers a collection of Roman artifacts, columns and underfloor heating systems popular to ancient times. Visitors may follow the path in the park which runs from Pepper street to the river Dee. The park is generally very quiet and relaxing. It is a good spot to relax with children and learn more about the Roman influence on Chester.
Chester Roman Amphitheatre

8) Chester Roman Amphitheatre

Chester Amphitheatre is a Roman amphitheatre in Chester. The ruins currently exposed are those of a large stone amphitheatre, similar to those found in Continental Europe, although a smaller wooden amphitheatre may have existed on the site beforehand. Today, only the northern half of the structure is exposed; the southern half is covered by buildings, some of which are themselves listed.

The amphitheatre is the largest so far uncovered in Britain, and dates from the 1st century, when the Roman fort of Deva Victrix was founded. The amphitheatre would have been primarily for military training and drill, but would also have been used for cock fighting, bull baiting and combat sports, including classical boxing, wrestling and gladiatorial combat. In use through much of the Roman occupation of Britain, the amphitheatre fell into disuse around the year 350. The amphitheatre was only rediscovered in 1929, when one of the pit walls was discovered during construction work. Between 2007 and 2009, excavation of the amphitheatre is taking place for Chester City Council and English Heritage.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Grosvenor Park

9) Grosvenor Park (must see)

Grosvenor Park is a public park in the city of Chester. It consists of 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land overlooking the River Dee. It is regarded as one of the finest and most complete examples of Victorian parks in the North West of England. The land, which formerly consisted of fields, was given to the city by Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster. The Marquess also paid for the design of the park by Edward Kemp. It was laid out in 1865–66 and opened with great celebration in November 1867.

A number of cultural and horticultural events, including events in the Summer Music Festival, are held in the park. Also in the park is the Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway which was built in 1996 to commemorate the centenary of the Duke of Westminster's railway at Eaton Hall. It has a gauge of 7.25 inches (18 cm) and a circuit of 0.25 miles (0.40 km).
Sight description based on wikipedia
St John the Baptist's Church

10) St John the Baptist's Church

St John the Baptist's Church is in the city of Chester. It lies outside the city walls on a cliff above the north bank of the River Dee. It is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Chester and the deanery of Chester. Its benefice is combined with that of St Peter, Chester. It is considered to be the best example of 11th–12th century church architecture in Cheshire.

The church was reputedly founded by King Aethelred in 689. During the 11th century, Earl Leofric was a "great benefactor" of the church. In 1075 Peter, Bishop of Lichfield moved the seat of his see to Chester, making St John's his cathedral until he died in 1085. Peter's successor moved his seat to Coventry and St John's became a co-cathedral. After the Dissolution, much of the east end of the church was demolished and some of it remains as ruins to the east of the present church. Since the Dissolution, it has been a parish church.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chester City Walls

11) Chester City Walls (must see)

Chester city walls consist of a defensive structure built to protect the city of Chester. Their construction was started by the Romans when they established the fortress of Deva Victrix between 70 and 80 AD. It originated with a rampart of earth and turf surmounted by a wooden palisade. From about 100 AD they were reconstructed using sandstone, but were not completed until over 100 years later. The defences were improved, although the precise nature of the improvement is not known. After the Norman conquest, the walls were extended to the west and the south to form a complete circuit of the medieval city. The circuit was probably complete by the middle of the 12th century.

Maintenance of the structure of the walls was an ongoing concern. They were further fortified before the Civil War, and were damaged during the war. Following this they ceased to have a defensive purpose, and were developed for leisure and recreation. The walls are now a major tourist attraction, and form an almost complete circuit of the former medieval city, providing a walkway of about 2 miles (3.2 km).
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Chester, England

Create Your Own Walk in Chester

Create Your Own Walk in Chester

Creating your own self-guided walk in Chester is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Chester's City Walls

Chester's City Walls

Chester is the only city in Great Britain that maintained the full circuit of its ancient defensive walls. The main access through the walls is provided by four major gates. There are also towers along the walls such as Water Tower and Bonewaldesthorne's Tower. Today, tourists may travel down the ancient walls and learn about the rich history of this magnificent city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Chester's Tudor Architecture Walking Tour

Chester's Tudor Architecture Walking Tour

If you visit Chester the first thing you might notice is the magnificent black-and-white architecture. The Rows are unique in Great Britain, while the black-and-white revival and timber framing styles are prominent for Chester. These charming buildings will definitely catch your eyes and make your visit even more memorable.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles