Skip to main content.
Guides

Arts and Culture in Historic Chester, a Jewel on the River Dee

Find a place to stay

With its riverside location, 2,000-year history, and full calendar of cultural events, Chester is one of England's most inviting cities. You can explore its Roman ruins, visit the cathedral, picnic on the castle grounds, and enjoy a day trip to Wales or the Lake District. Culture lovers can time their visit to make the most of the annual arts festival, music festival, and open-air theatre season.

Chester's historical and cultural heritage

 

You can start exploring Chester’s history with a visit to the Roman amphitheatre - the largest in Britain - and a walk along the ancient city walls. The medieval covered walkways of the Rows give the town centre its distinctive charm, while the daily proclamation of the town crier preserves a tradition lost elsewhere in Britain. At Chester Cathedral, you’ll find all styles of medieval architecture within the 1,000-year-old walls.

 

Chester's city walls

 

Chester’s ancient city walls encircle the city and are the most complete in Britain. You can walk their entire circuit, following in the footsteps of medieval archers and Victorian gentry, while taking in panoramic views.

 

Official Visitor Information Centre, Town Hall Square, Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HJTel: +44 8456 477868

 

 

The Rows

 

Unique in Britain, the Rows are black-and-white half-timbered galleries that form a second level of shops above the street. Some of the original buildings are 700 years old, while others are Victorian, making them the oldest shop fronts in Britain.

 

Bridge Street; Watergate Street; Eastgate Street. Chester CH1 1NG. Tel: +44 1244 402110

 

Cathedral and Cloisters

 

Dating back to Saxon times, Chester Cathedral is an architectural and archaeological national treasure. Its multifaceted architecture includes Norman arches and Gothic columns, while the interior has outstanding 14th-century woodcarvings and 19th-century stained glass windows. Together with its cloisters, Chester Cathedral is one of Britain's most complete medieval monastic complexes. Today, it plays a central role in the city’s civic as well as religious life, hosting orchestral and choral performances, weekly organ recitals, and other cultural events.

 

Chester Cathedral

 

You'll find much to marvel at when visiting the cathedral, with its 1,000-year history evident in the different architectural styles. You can have refreshments in the refectory, set in the 13th-century monk’s dining hall, then stroll through the peaceful cloisters.

 

12 Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2HU. Tel: +44 1244 324756

 

Chester Cathedral website

 

theatre, music, film

 

Besides its history and heritage, Chester has a vibrant cultural scene with festivals and events throughout the year. These include open-air theatre at Grosvenor Park in spring and summer; Moonlight Flicks film festival, with screenings across Cheshire in summer; Chester Music Festival in May and June; and the Winter Watch Parade at Christmas.

 

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

 

You can enjoy an evening or matinee performance at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, which presents Shakespeare as well as new works. Its plays are staged in the round, with open and covered seating, and there are picnic terraces too.

 

55-57 Watergate Row South, Chester CH1 2LE. Tel: +44 1244 409113

 

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre website

 

Museum and castle

 

Head to Grosvenor Museum to immerse yourself in the history of the city and its surroundings, or to visit changing art exhibitions. Families can enjoy reliving Roman times at the Dewa Roman Experience, complete with reconstructions of the fortress and interactive activities. At Cholmondeley Castle, the woodland and landscaped gardens offer the perfect setting for leisurely, tranquil strolls.

 

Grosvenor Museum

 

Chester’s main museum features permanent displays of the city’s history, with an emphasis on the Roman period. It also offers a program of rotating exhibitions and family events.

 

27 Grosvenor Street, Chester CH1 2DD. Tel: +44 1244 972197

 

Grosvenor Museum website

 

Cholmondeley Castle and Gardens

 

Built in the 19th century, the castle overlooks acres of ornamental gardens and historic parkland. The gardens can be enjoyed at any time of year, and the grounds also offer a nature trail, lakeside walk, tea shop, and picnic areas.

 

Cholmondeley, Malpas, Cheshire SY14 8AH. Tel: +44 1829 720383

 

Cholmondeley Castle and Gardens website