6 Fascinating Facts about Chester

Nov 29, 2018

Crowned one of the prettiest cities in Europe, historic Chester is the perfect blend of historic architecture and premier tourist attractions. Here are a few fascinating facts about this ancient Roman city:

Britain’s oldest sporting venue

Way back in 1539, some enterprising fellas decided to jump on the back of a few horses and start racing one another. So, the oldest racecourse in the nation was born.

Chester Racecourse, known affectionately as the Roodee, has hosted horseracing events ever since that first 16th-century outing, making it the oldest sporting venue in continued use.

Are you not entertained?

Chester is home to some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Northern Europe, from the remains of the city fortifications to the underground heating systems once found around the back of an old Spud-u-Like.

Gladiators once battled to the death in the Roman city’s amphitheatre, the remnants of which are Britain’s largest surviving example of a Roman fighting arena.

Centuries of Chester life had walked atop the hidden ruins of the amphitheatre, which were unearthed in 1929 during a period of construction work.

Shopping with a difference

Shoppers from far and wide might flock to the nearby Cheshire Oaks, the largest out-of-town shopping extravaganza in the country, but nothing rivals the experience of a Saturday spree on the Chester Rows.

These covered wooden walkways are a historical marvel and an entirely unique experience found nowhere else on the planet. Lining the city’s four main streets, the double-levelled shopping rows have made Chester’s centre an architectural marvel since the mid 13th-century.

Attraction Central

Largest amphitheatre? Check. Largest shopping centre? Check. How about one of the top-ranked zoos in the world? The much-celebrated Chester Zoo is located just out of town and is a biological ode to the natural world; home to all manner of species from Asian Elephants to Giant Otters.

Not an animal fan? The city is also home to the most popular attraction in the North West: Chester Cathedral.

No Welshmen allowed!

Bad news if you happen to be born across the border but back in 1403, Henry, Prince of Wales passed a law that expelled all Welsh folk from Chester.

The future King Henry V ordered that no Welshman should enter the city walls before sunrise, or stay beyond sunset, on pain of death.

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