City Orientation Walk (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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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: England » Chester (See other walking tours in Chester)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Author: rose
1
Chester Town Hall

1) Chester Town Hall (must see)

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.

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Sight description based on wikipedia
2
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.

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Sight description based on wikipedia
3
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. The present gateway dates from 1768 and 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.

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4
Guildhall

4) Guildhall (must see)

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.

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Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Watergate

5) Watergate

The Watergate is in Chester and spans the A548 road between Watergate Street and New Crane Street.

It was built between 1788 and 1790 for Chester City Council and replaced a medieval gate. The architect was Joseph Turner. It is built in red sandstone ashlar and consists of a basket arch of short rusticated voussoirs. The parapet consists of stone balusters interspersed with panels. A drinking fountain, which is now dry, is fixed to the north abutment and is dated 1857.

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Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Chester Racecourse

6) Chester Racecourse (must see)

Chester Racecourse is a truly unique landmark of the city as it features the oldest race course on the entire English peninsula. History places the prominent landmark all the way back to the 13th century, however the first recorded race did not take place until 1539. Over the centuries, the venue has been used for local markets, circus performances and other activities.
7
Grosvenor Museum

7) Grosvenor Museum (must see)

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;

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Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Roman Gardens

8) 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.
9
Chester Roman Amphitheatre

9) Chester Roman Amphitheatre (must see)

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.

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10
Grosvenor Park

10) 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).

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11
St John the Baptist's Church

11) St John the Baptist's Church (must see)

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.

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12
Chester City Walls

12) 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).

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13
Old Dee Bridge

13) Old Dee Bridge

The Old Dee Bridge, in Chester is the oldest bridge in the city. It crosses the River Dee carrying the road which leads from the bottom of Lower Bridge Street and the Bridgegate to Handbridge. A bridge on this site was originally built by the Romans and the present bridge is largely the result of a major rebuilding in 1387.

The original bridge was built by the Romans and was probably constructed of stone piers with a timber carriageway. It is likely that this structure was still present at the time of the Norman Conquest. Repairs were made to it during the next two centuries but in 1279–80 the timber superstructure was swept away. Further repairs were carried out in the 1340s and the 1350s. In 1387 the citizens of Chester were allowed to convert the murage for a further repair. It is likely that this work resulted in the bridge which is present today. In 1825–26 it was widened by Thomas Harrison to provide a footway on the upstream side. Around this time it was decided that it was becoming inadequate for the expected traffic and it was decided to build an additional bridge to link the city with North Wales.

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14
Chester Weir

14) Chester Weir

Chester Weir is a weir which crosses the River Dee at Chester slightly upstream from the Old Dee Bridge. This was originally the site of a causeway across the River Dee. The weir was built in sandstone in 1093 for Hugh Lupus, 1st Earl of Chester, for the Benedictine Abbey of St Werburgh. It was designed to provide a head of water for the medieval mills on the river. The mills were demolished during the 20th century and the weir was restored to serve the Chester City Council's hydro-electric power station, which operated from 1913 to 1939 on the site of the former mills.

The weir continues to provide three essential roles in maintaining the very substantial water abstractions from the River Dee. It prevents tidal water ingress up-river for all but the highest tides; it provides the water head for an abstraction immediately behind the weir and it holds back what is a long linear lake which enables that largest abstraction to be taken at Huntington for the North West Water supply to the Wirral and surrounding areas.

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15
Chester Castle

15) Chester Castle (must see)

Chester Castle is located at the southeast boundary of the city walls. Only the remains of this once great medieval castle exist today. It dates back to 1070 and was designed by the architect Thomas Harrison. The complex is a Grade I listed building. It also houses Crown Courts and the military museum.

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: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Family Entertainment in Chester

Family Entertainment in Chester

Chester offers fantastic opportunities for the whole family. Inside the city, parents and children alike will find places of interest, including but not limited to the Miniature Railway, Dewa Roman Experience and The Old Sweet Shop. Take a day out with the family and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere, fun and pleasant memories for your children.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Chester Churches

Chester Churches

Chester is a city with wonderful churches, as the vast majority of the structures offer special architectural and cultural value (most Grade I or Grade II listed buildings). Visitors will admire the beauty of these religious structures, some of which date several centuries back. Additionally, the churches are active in the city life, providing religious services, organizing various events and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Chester Museums and Art Galleries

Chester Museums and Art Galleries

Chester cultural and historical heritage is both rich and various. Thus, the museums and art galleries of the city are a must-visit. The popular attractions are well preserved, structured and easily one of the greatest entertainment and educational venues in Chester. Take this tour to experience and learn about everything Chester has to offer.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
Chester Historical Architectural Tour

Chester Historical Architectural Tour

Chester is a phenomenal city for fans of architecture. Here you will find interesting houses, rows and terraces. Additionally, the vast majority of the structures are listed by the English Heritage and include work from such famous architects as James Harrison, T.M. Penson, John Douglas and others.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Chester's Black-And-White Architectural Tour

Chester's Black-And-White Architectural 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