Chester is a lovely place to visit but don't lose your head over it !
Chester is high on the list of places to visit in the United Kingdom, but if you are from just over the border in Wales you need to take care when visiting Chester. An ancient proclamation from King Henry 1V of England has never been repealed and "all manner of Welsh persons or Welsh sympathies should be expelled from the City; that no Welshman should enter the City before sunrise or tarry in it after sunset, under pain of decapitation.”
However, like the City Walls, the proclamation fails to keep the Welsh out and they and many other tourists visit the City of Chester. They receive the latest news and a mediaeval welcome from the Chester Town Criers at noon every Tuesday to Saturday, from May to August. A Town Crier Proclamation can be heard at The Chester High Cross where the four main streets of the original Roman fortress intersect. The High Cross has been the site of public proclamations since mediaeval times and remains so today.
Chester is situated in the county of Cheshire, in the north west of England, and the city boasts the original city walls, a complete circuit of walls (sections of which date back to Roman times) that ring its picturesque shopping streets and Norman Cathedral. Visit the Phoenix Tower also known as the King Charles Tower to commemorate the events of September 1645, when, during the English Civil War, King Charles I stood on the roof and witnessed the rout of his army by Parliamentary forces after the battle of Row ton Moor.
The inscription upon the tower states: 'KING CHARLES STOOD ON THIS TOWER SEPT 24th 1645 AND SAW HIS ARMY DEFEATED ON ROWTON MOOR'
Today the only battles are for the special offers at the sales. Many shoppers visit the famous Rows. The Chester Rows are unique two-tiered galleries built in the traditional black and white style, containing a wide range of shops selling goods from antiques to high fashion. In fact the city is very popular with visitors from North Wales and is indeed one of the top retail centres in the UK being ideal for a shop till you drop weekend.
Chester Cathedral: The Cathedral sits in the heart of the city and is a truly remarkable building, with a history spanning almost two thousand years. According to legend, a prehistoric Druid temple existed on the site, which was succeeded by a Roman temple dedicated to Apollo. In 907 a church was built by King Alfred's daughter, Queen Ethelfelda. Come the 11th century and the aftermath of the Norman Conquest and Hugh Lupus ('The Wolf'), Earl of Chester and nephew of William the Conqueror, decided to found a great monastery in the heart of Chester. The building of the monastery began at the east end in 1092, working from east to west; the style of the church was Romanesque.
Other attractions include Chester Zoo, the Grosvenor Museum, Cheshire Military Museum, the Rows, a Roman Amphitheatre, Chester Cathedral, Grosvenor Park, the famous Roodee Racecourse, and last but not least the beautiful River Dee. Take a trip on the open top tour buses to get a feel of what this 2000 year old city, a European Heritage Site, has to offer. Tours last approx. one hour but your ticket is valid all day so you may get on and off the tour as you please. You can hop on the bus from various stops around the city including the Station, the River Dee, Town Hall, and Lower Bridge Street. Save money with a bus and boat tour ticket that includes a trip with Bithells Boats on the River Dee. Tickets can be purchased from the Chester Visitor Centre, the Tourist Information Centre or from the driver of the bus.
New archaeological excavations are planned at the Roman Amphitheatre - the largest stone-built arena of its kind in Britain - with finds being put on show in a new exhibition at the nearby Chester Visitor Centre. The building offers one of the best views of the site from its top-floor gallery.
Chester Zoo: With 7000 animals, representing around 500 different species of animals and award-winning gardens, they offer first class facilities that ensure your day out really is as enjoyable as possible. The zoo, 2 miles north of Chester, is said to be the largest and finest zoological gardens in Britain. Set in 110 acres of landscaped gardens, it houses many rare and endangered creatures in its wide collection of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Recent improvements include an expansion to the Elephant House - Elephants of the Asian forest, a new Tsavo cafe and a new home for the Orang-utans - Realm of the Red Ape. From tiny Harvest Mice right up to Asian Elephants, Rhino's, and Tigers there is plenty to see at Chester Zoo.
Chester Races: There has been racing on the Roodee at Chester for over 450 years and the thrill of watching a race at Chester unfolding before you from the sophisticated surroundings of the course's enclosures or the vantage point of the City walls is an unforgettable experience.
There may not be many Welshmen who have lost their heads in Chester in the last few years but I'll bet that there are quite a few who have lost their shirts !