Chester, England - July 2021: Visitors walking on an elevated section of  the walk around the city's old wall.

Ceri Breeze/Getty

City Walls

Top choice in Chester

A good way to get a sense of Chester's unique character is to walk the 2-mile circuit along the walls that surround the historic centre. Originally built by the Romans around AD 70, the walls were altered substantially over the following centuries, but have retained their current position since around 1200. The tourist office's Walk Around Chester Walls leaflet is an excellent guide and you can also take a 90-minute guided walk.

Of the many features along the walls, the most eye-catching is the prominent Eastgate, where you can see the most famous clock in England after London's Big Ben, built for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

At the southeastern corner of the walls are the wishing steps, added in 1785. Local legend claims that if you can run up and down these uneven steps while holding your breath your wish will come true.

Just inside Southgate, known here as Bridgegate (as it's located at the northern end of the Old Dee Bridge), is the Bear & Billet pub, Chester's oldest timber-framed building, built in 1664, and once a toll gate into the city.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Chester attractions

1. St John the Baptist Church

0.16 MILES

Built on the site of an older Saxon church in 1075, it's been a peaceful ruin since 1581. It includes the remains of a Norman choir and medieval chapels.

2. Roman Amphitheatre

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Just outside the city walls is what was once an arena that seated 7000 spectators (making it the country's largest); some historians have suggested that…

3. Grosvenor Museum

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Excellent museum with the country's most comprehensive collection of Roman tombstones. At the back of the museum is a preserved Georgian house, complete…

4. Dewa Roman Experience

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5. Rows

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Besides the City Walls, Chester's other great draw is the Rows, a series of two-level galleried arcades along the four streets that fan out in each…

6. Chester Cathedral

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Chester Cathedral was originally a Benedictine abbey built on the remains of an earlier Saxon church dedicated to St Werburgh (the city's patron saint);…

7. Chester Zoo


The largest of its kind in the country, Chester Zoo is about as pleasant a place as caged animals in artificial habitats could ever expect to live. It's…

8. Blue Planet Aquarium

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