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Places to Visit in Chester
The information presented on these Chester pages is based on the Chester City Centre Street Map and Guide
CHESHIRE MILITARY MUSEUM, The Castle (B5). Tel: 327617. Open every day 10am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm). Closed for 2 weeks around Christmas and New Year. Four famous regiments have connections with Cheshire: the Cheshire Yeomanry which was the last cavalry regiment to be in action during the Second World War; the 22nd Cheshire Regiment; the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards; and the 3rd Carabiniers, who were at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The museum has displays on the regiments, their battles, and famous members of the regiments. Wheelchair access.
CHESTER CASTLE, Castle Square (B5). Tel: 402008. Open 10.30am-5pm (summer), 10.30am-4pm (winter). Built by Hugh the Wolf, the terrible and cruel nephew of William the Conqueror, shortly after 1066. It was substantially rebuilt in the 19th century for civic use. The Agricola Tower has some recently discovered early medieval wall-paintings. Changing exhibitions. Free entry.
CHESTER CATHEDRAL, St Werburgh Street (C3). Tel: 324756. Open 7.30am-6.30pm daily. Chester Cathedral has a history that spans over nine centuries. An Anglo-Saxon church dedicated to St. Werburgh, a Mercian princess, was built here in the 10th century, and in 1092 a Benedictine Abbey was founded on the site. In 1541, after the dissolution of the monasteries, the Abbey Church became the Cathedral of the diocese of Chester. Much of the original Cathedral building has been replaced or restored over the centuries. However, some medieval architectural treasures remain, including the 13th century Refectory, Chapter House and the Lady Chapel, with its early 14th century shrine to St. Werburgh. There are interesting memorials and monuments, inspiring stained glass windows, and a picture painted on cobwebs. The intricately carved choir stalls date from the 14th century. Handel rehearsed "The Messiah" here in 1742. There is a video presentation and an exhibition about the history of the Cathedral. Tours of the Cathedral can be pre-booked. Refreshments are provided in the wonderfully atmospheric Refectory. Gift shop.
CHESTER COMMUNITY HISTORY AND HERITAGE,
Bridge Street Row (C4). Tel: 402110. www.chestercc.gov.uk/heritage/history/home.html.
CHESTER ZOO, Upton-by-Chester (off B1), 2 miles north of the city centre. Buses run from the Bus Exchange (B3) every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday. Tel: 380280. Chester Zoo is the largest garden zoo in Britain and considered one of the best in Europe. There are over 6000 animals in 110 acres of award-winning park and gardens. Many of the animals are in outdoor "near-natural" enclosures. As well as a Children's Farm, and favourites like lions, chimps and elephants (especially the new baby Asiatic elephant), there are plenty of activities for all the family. Be amazed at the new Monkey Islands development, and dare to enter the Twilight Zone Bat Cave. You can see exotic birds flying free in the Tropical Realm, and penguins swimming underwater in the New Penguin Pool. Relax while you enjoy excellent views of the Zoo and gardens from the "Zoofari" overhead railway. There are shops, restaurants, a public bar and a picnic area. Excellent disabled access and facilities. Baby-changing facilities. Allow a full day (at least) to see it all. Open from 10am daily. Phone for admission charges and closing times, which vary according to the season.
THE CROSS (C3), carved from sandstone in the 15th century, marks the historic hub of Chester. It was smashed up during the Civil War, but has since been reassembled. Chester's Town Crier may be seen here at midday from Tuesday to Saturday in the summer.
DEWA ROMAN EXPERIENCE:
GROSVENOR MUSEUM, 27 Grosvenor Street (B5). Tel: 402008. Open Monday to Saturday 10.30am-5pm, and Sunday 2pm-5pm. Closed for major access improvements from November 1999 to January 2000. This award-winning museum has such a wide range of exhibits there is something to appeal to everyone. There is an outstanding collection of Roman artefacts that shows how the Romans used to live, at home and at work; paintings of Chester and work by Chester artists in the Art Galleries; a collection of Chester silver; and the Kingsley Natural History Gallery. The changing fashions and lifestyles of people from the late 17th century through to Victorian times are displayed in the Period House. Plus, there is an ever-changing programme of special exhibitions. Wheelchair access is difficult as the museum is on three floors (major improvements to access will be in place from February 2000). Books, souvenirs and gifts are available from the Museum Shop. Baby changing facilities. Tea & coffee. Admission is FREE but donations are gratefully accepted.
KING CHARLES TOWER in the north-east corner of the City Walls (C2). During the English Civil War between 1642-1646, Chester supported King Charles I against the Parliamentarians. Legend has it that on September 24th 1645 the King stood on the tower and saw his army suffer defeat at Rowton Moor. The Tower is normally closed to the public, but group tours can be arranged. Tel: 402008.
ON THE AIR BROADCASTING MUSEUM,
42 Bridge Street Row (C4).
ROODEE RACECOURSE, The Roodee (A4), dates from about the 5th century and is probably the oldest racecourse in Britain. It stands on the site of the Roman harbour and parts of the harbour wall can still be seen. Chester Races are held from May to September. The Chester Cup is in May.
TOY AND DOLL MUSEUM, 13a Lower Bridge Street Row (C4). Tel: 346297. Open 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday (Sunday opening can vary, but normally open). Has a large collection of Matchbox cars, Meccano models, Hornby trains, and other classic toys, dolls and teddies from all eras. There is an original Punch and Judy, amusement arcade machines and an old jukebox. A museum of nostalgia for people of all ages. Collectors shop.
WATER TOWER, in the north-west corner of the Walls (A2). Chester was an important port in Roman and medieval times. The Water Tower was built in the 14th century to extend the City Walls into the river after Bonewaldesthorne's Tower became unusable as the harbour defence when the River Dee silted-up and changed course. The course of the river has since changed again. The Tower is surrounded by attractive and extensive gardens.
OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST include the magnificent Town Hall in Northgate (B3), designed by W. H. Lynn, which opened in 1869, and the Tudor House (c.1500) in Bridge Street (C4), said to be the oldest house in Chester. There are several interesting historic bridges spanning the River Dee: the Old Dee Bridge (C5) was built in the 14th century, Grosvenor Bridge (A6) was the longest single-span bridge in the world when it was built in 1832, and Queen's Park Footbridge (D4) is an elegant suspension bridge built in 1852. There are some ancient inns in Chester, including The Blue Bell (1494) and the 16th century Pied Bull, both in Northgate (B2), and the Bear and Billet (1664), in Lower Bridge Street (C5) which was the townhouse of the earls of Shrewsbury. The windows contain over 1000 panes of glass.
For further information about Chester, including a free visitor pack, please contact the Chester Visitor Information Centre.
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