Visiting the Roman town of Chester – by Darren, the Wandering Worker

Off
World Citizen, Ninja

Introducing Darren, the Wandering Worker

Darren, the Wandering Worker has been working globally, goes wherever he finds exciting and high paying jobs! Darren is the author of the blog TheWanderingWorker  and I wanted him to share some of his travels with you here at the Guest Posts section! I would recommend reading his blog, he has some exciting stories to tell! And now – If you’d like to see Giraffes in Northern England – Chester is the place to go! If you’d go back to the World Citizen’s posts, click here!

A little introduction from Darren:

Hi, my name is Darren, first thanks to Gabor for inviting me to do a guest post on his blog. I started to travel almost 5 years ago after quitting my job running a high-end cocktail bar. Since I was young I’ve always planned to go travel however I obtained my business degree beforehand. So far I have slowly travelled to over 30 countries worked/volunteered in at least 10. I was working in Australia for almost 18 months so my travels were on hold. Now I’m back on the road.

Visiting the Roman town of Chester

Wandering Worker chester roman town

Chester is a historic city located in the Northwest of the United Kingdom, in the county of Cheshire, founded by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. The city, best known for its Roman walls made out of locally sourced red sandstone that circle the city.

In the heart of the old town, you will find the Rows, a shopping district that is distinguished by 2-level covered arcades and Tudor-style half-timber buildings. In amongst the Rows, you will find the Grosvenor shopping centre and the Grosvenor Hotel.

As you wander around the cobblestone streets of Chester, you will soon find that there are a strong coffee and cocktail culture. Take a stroll down Watergates street and you will find a range of coffee shops such as Costa and smaller independent brands. In terms of Cocktails, you have Kuckoo and Bar lounge.

Outside the Walls

Just outside of the walls, alongside the River Dee, you have the half exposed Roman amphitheatre, the south half remains buried. There were talks of excavating the buried 80% many years ago however those hopes were quashed by Historic England. One of the reasons stated was that Dee house another historic building (built-in 1730) sits on top of the buried section.

Another must do in Chester would be the East gate clock, the 2nd most photographed clock in England after Big Ben. The clock sits upon the gateway that was once the entrance to the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix, it was erected as a tribute to Victoria’s 60th year as Queen and Empress.

What to see – according to the Wandering Worker

Chester Cathedral

The Cathedral sits opposite the Town hall and is a must-see attraction when visiting Chester. When I attended Chester University almost 5 years ago, my graduation ceremony was held there, a tour of the building and its grounds is a nice way to spend the morning. Close to the Cathedral you can access the city walls.

Chester roman town Wandering Worker

View of the Cathedral from the walls

View of the Cathedral from the walls

 Bronze Elephant Statue

You can’t say you have visited Chester without taking a picture with Janya Chester’s bronze elephant statue, designed by the renowned sculptor Annette Yarrow. The statue, a gift from Chester zoo, The UK’s best zoo to demonstrate and reaffirm its connection with the city. Chester’s Elephant also mirrors the bronze statue that sits outside the Zoo’s entrance.

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo, is a stone throw away from Chester city centre, a 10-minute car ride or alternatively you can catch a Bus from the City’s new bus exchange. The zoo voted the best Zoo in the UK and 3rd in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017 receives no government funding so it relying solely on visitors. The zoo is a crucial centre for conservation but also provides an educational and fun family day out.

I took my younger brother there on a recent visit to the UK, I haven’t been in over 8 years so was pleasantly surprised with the new exhibits. One of my favourite exhibits is the Fruit bat forest, a cave where bats fly around you freely.

I recommend purchasing tickets at Chester town hall, they’re cheaper and valid for 1 year 

Chester zoo giraffe Wandering Worker

Giraffes at Chester Zoo

Cheshire Oaks

After exploring Chester City centre, which can be done in less than one day. Take the short bus journey to Cheshire Oaks, a designer outlet centre that sits in between Chester and Ellesmere Port.

The centre encompasses all your high-end shopping needs and entertainment needs, you will find everything from Ralph Lauren, Gucci to Armani as well as some restaurants and an entertainment section that houses the Vue cinema, indoor golf, bowling and freedom there’s something for all the family.

Story-house

Story house is Chester’s newly opened theatre library and cinema showcasing the home-produced and internationally acclaimed work.  On June 14th the Queen and Megan Markle officially opened the building, the last time I was in Chester this building was undergoing works, I found it to be a great meeting spot, I regularly sat in the onsite restaurant with a coffee catching up on work.

It would be an ideal venue for a Friday night show before heading into the city for dinner and cocktails I recommend Kuckoo for drinks

Roman tour’s

For those interested in learning about Chester’s Roman history, there are the roman tours similar to the usual walking tours however the guides are dressed in Roman Armor and are known to do enactments you can check out their tours here

Final thoughts

Overall Chester is the perfect long weekend destination, steeped in history ideal for a city break or as part of a shopping trip. With Liverpool, Manchester and Wales on its doorstep, it would make a great filler in any Northern Europe itinerary.

However, it saddens me to see Chester has lost a lot of its vibe in recent years, shops and restaurants are closing due to high rent, entertainment venues such as the cinema were closed to make way for big supermarkets. Chester lacks options in terms of healthy food or food that fits a specific diet such as vegan although some venues are adapting to shifts in consumer tastes.

There is an excessive number of coffee shops popping up, saturating the market and limiting available venues for other much-needed services I would love to see more creative and healthier venues popping up.

still it’s defiantly worth a visit if you find yourself in the North-west of England

Share your experience, post a comment!