View along the main street in the centre of Chester, Cheshire, UK.  Shops can be seen on either side of the road and people can be seen walking and sitting on benches. The rows of upper level shops are pictured on left.



Top choice in Chester

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 direction from the Central Cross. The architecture is a handsome mix of Victorian and Tudor (original and mock) buildings that house a fantastic collection of independently owned shops.

The origin of the Rows is a little unclear, but it is believed that as the Roman walls slowly crumbled, medieval traders built their shops against the resulting rubble banks, while later arrivals built theirs on top.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Chester attractions

1. Dewa Roman Experience

0.09 MILES

What was life like in Roman times? Begin your journey in the hold of a galley ship, where Grapus the Oars Master talks about the dangers of life at the…

2. Chester Cathedral

0.12 MILES

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);…

3. Roman Amphitheatre


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…

4. Grosvenor Museum


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

5. St John the Baptist Church

0.26 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.

6. City Walls

0.27 MILES

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…

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

4.96 MILES

Things aren't done by halves around Chester, where you'll find Blue Planet, which was the country's largest aquarium when it opened in 1998. It's home to…