Chester History

2000 years of action packed events

Chester is one of Britain’s finest heritage cities with an action-packed history and great treasures from the past.

2000 years ago, the Roman Empire built Fortress Deva here to suppress fierce Welsh tribes across the border and stayed for over 300 years.

They established the pattern of the city’s streets, built the original City Walls and created the largest Amphitheatre ever uncovered in Britain where 7000 spectators watched spectacular events including circuses and gladiatorial combat.

Today, you can follow in the footsteps of Viking raiders, discover an Anglo-Saxon township ruled over by warrior queen, Aethelflaeda – the daughter of Alfred the Great and explore Chester Castle, built by the Norman invaders under the orders of Hugh Lupus, a nephew of William the Conqueror who also commissioned the creation of the 1000-year-old Cathedral.

In the Middle Ages, Chester was the largest port in North West England and welcomed sailing ships from across the world until the River Dee silted up and became un-navigable.

Chester has always been a city built on trade and commerce and 700 years ago its merchants developed the city’s unique heritage – the world-famous ‘Rows’, the two-tier galleries of fascinating shops with their distinctive black and white, half-timbered style.

The local economy flourished and prospered until the outbreak of the English Civil War when the city supported King Charles I in his battle for control of the State.

The nearby Battle of Rowton Moor in 1645 sealed the King’s fate: the Royalist city of Chester was under siege for 2 years by Parliamentarian armies and their formidable cannons until starvation and disease forced the citizens to surrender.

Chester has always shown resilience in the face of adversity and recovered to become once again a major centre for business, its success reflected in the splendour of buildings constructed in the Georgian and Victorian eras.

Today, it’s a bustling city renowned for its great shops, restaurants and nightlife surrounded by architectural gems from the past 2000 years just waiting to be discovered.

Explore and enjoy