Chester Amphitheatre is a Roman amphitheatre in Chester, Cheshire. The site is managed by English Heritage; it is designated as a Grade I listed building, and a scheduled monument. The ruins currently exposed are those of a large stone amphitheatre, similar to those found in Continental Europe, and although it was long believed that a smaller wooden amphitheatre existed on the site beforehand, excavations since 1999 have shown that the wooden grillage is the base of the seating. Today, only the northern half of the structure is exposed; the southern half is covered by buildings, some of which are themselves listed.
The amphitheatre is the largest so far uncovered in Britain, and dates from the 1st century, when the Roman fort of Deva Victrix was founded. It is a peculiarly English myth that the amphitheatre would have been primarily for military training and drill; all the evidence recovered from excavation shows that it was used for cock fighting, bull baiting and combat sports, including classical boxing, wrestling and, probably most importantly, gladiatorial combat. The poet Oppian wrote that the Romans inherited the Greek passion for the cockfight, which was held "on anniversaries . . . as a solemn rite", a consecration, in effect a sacred cockfight, to remind men that they should be "perpetual imitators of the cock".
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Helen Ryle | Jan 28, 2018
Atmospheric roman ruins in many areas of Chester. Walking high up along the city walls is a lovely experience. Recommended.
Andy | Feb 17, 2018
Useful boards, but lots of concrete. Mainly a replica than anything else. But interesting to wander for half and hour or so. Not bad as it's free.
Kip Kigen | Dec 5, 2017
The moment you walk in through the doors, you could immediately feel the weight of history. It is rich and thought-provoking, yet serene and sacred. We're here today, and tomorrow we're gone...but the memories are everlasting, at least in places like this.
Katherine Hodgson | Feb 3, 2018
It's an interesting sight to see but doesn't take up much time. There isn't much left of it but it's free to walk around.
Pragya Chaube | Oct 16, 2017
History, right there in the heart of Chester. Beautiful place. Isn't very tricky to get there. Free. Roman gardens on one side, St. John Church on other and very close to Grosvenor park and groves - another very very beautiful site. History is well explained if you take time to read all the history plaques in the amphitheatre and the Roman gardens.
Helen Lane | Mar 11, 2018
Great afternoon with the family at the Viking Market ran by volunteers in Viking character. Kids had fun taking part in re-inactment battles, handmade crafts available & interesting explanations about how life would have been for Vikings in Chester during the 10th Century. Visiting every 2nd Saturday of the month through to August.
Tobias Farrow | Apr 4, 2018
Lovely Roman history. Not much to keep you there though
Sarah Walker | Apr 15, 2018
Had a great time here. Enjoyed the talk by the Roman soldier. Good interpretation which does not take away from the site
Mat Hall | Apr 20, 2018
Given the significance of it, the whole thing feels a bit half hearted - not much in the way of information, nothing to give any sense of scale for the original structure (even a pole where the outer wall was to show its height would be a start), and the mural is pretty badly painted. Worth a look if you happen to be passing, but not worth a trip in its own right.
Mark Atkinson | Apr 17, 2018
Amazing but sombre place, largest in England if your into history etc then it's a must. Lots to look at on route, Roman gardens worth a look, Roman walling, pillars, examples of mosaics , take nuts for squirrels.
Michaela Robinson | May 22, 2018
Fairly well preserved historical ruins. Nice site. Need good weather to fully appreciate it.
Hannah Bryant | Jun 2, 2018
The largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain. Half of the foundations have been excavated and can be explored. The amphitheatre is free and has some interpretation signs, but is completely outside so better in good weather. Near to the Roman gardens, the museums, Grosvenor Park and the river so good as part of a sightseeing day in Chester.
Julian Johnson | May 20, 2018
It's a historical point and translates into a small event square which would certainly of been fascinating on its day. Sadly now barely a ruin with a main road going past. It's hard to take much away from this space now (once England's largest amphitheatre) but imagine there must be a few entertaining events that make good use of the space.
Janet Braide | Jun 3, 2018
Somewhere for visitors to the City would probably want to see. Not far at all from the shopping centre. Nice to take a coffee and sit down for half an hour. Could do though with being kept a bit cleaner by Chester City Council
Reet Petite | May 27, 2018
Enjoyed sitting here in the sun learning from the Centurion guide who was leading groups of children around the Amphitheatre. Wonderful to see the results of the restoration and reflect on the history of Romans times.
Robert Rae | Jul 17, 2018
Are inspiring place to visit surrounded by all the artefacts of modern life. There are sufficient information boards to give you he feel for the place. Standing in the arena you can readily imagine what it might have been like despite a service bus passing by a little above you. Roughly half of the floor of the arena is uncovered and a well executed mural on one side gives an impression of the rest. Certainly a highlight of visiting Chester.
Michael Slade | Jul 12, 2018
This is the biggest Roman amphitheatre in the UK so would be worth a visit just for that. One must use imagination to think what it would have been like nearly 2000 years ago and more would be gained from a visit by having a guide to tell of what happened where. Nevertheless taken in with nearby Roman remains it provides a fascinating and free place to go to step back in time.
Lee Burkitt | Jun 27, 2018
How could you not give such history 5 stars! Right in the centre of Chester it's a magical place to sit and think of gladiators of old. The walls make a lovely walk as well. Chester is a great place for a break.
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