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Chester Roman Amphitheatre

Chester, Cheshire

The largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain, used for entertainment and military training by the 20th Legion, based at the fortress of 'Deva' (Chester). The ruins currently exposed are those of a large stone amphitheatre, similar to those found in Continental Europe, although a smaller wooden amphitheatre may have existed on the site before. Only the northern half of the structure is exposed; the southern half is covered by buildings.

It is said to be the largest so far uncovered in Britain, and dates from the first century CE, when the Roman fort of Deva Victrix was founded, making it around 2000 years old. It would have been primarily used for military training and drill, but would also possibly for circuses, cock fighting, bull baiting and combat sports such as gladiatorial combat. In use through much of the Roman occupation of Britain, the amphitheatre fell into disuse around the year 350.

For all images - click on the images to see larger versions

No-one knew that Chester had an amphitheatre until it was discovered in 1929, when one of the curved walls appeared while an underground boiler room was being built onto the south side of Dee House. During the early 1930's parts of the western entrance, outer wall and arena walls where then found. It is located outside the south-east corner of the legionary fortress, it's main entrances face east and west. Between each of these entrances were two doorways giving access to a corridor which ran around the outside of the building with staircases running up to the seats above.

Latest excavations by English Heritage and Chester City Council in 2004-5 revealed two successive stone-built amphitheatres with wooden seating. The first included access to the upper tiers of seats via stairs on the rear wall, as at Pompeii, and had a small shrine next to its north entrance. The second provided seat access via vaulted stairways. The two buildings differed both from each other and from all other British amphitheatres, underlining the importance of Roman Chester.

As well as taking photographs within the site you could also take a photo of it from up on the City Walls.

It is managed by English Heritage although access if free to everyone.

Further information Grid



Chester Roman Amphitheatre, Little St John Street, Chester

Ceremonial County: Cheshire

Grid Reference:


Map Link:


Aerial photo:

Multimap Aerial Photo

Google Aerial Photo



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:

Wiki    EH   Wiki2

Nearby Locations:

Chester Castle    Chester City Walls

Roman Gardens

Other Relevant pages:

Cheshire Attractions

Roman Britain



Date Updated: 08/2008


Planning Grid


Chester Roman Amphitheatre, Little St John Street, Chester

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

From the A51 follow the inner ring and then the brown tourist signs towards the River Boat Trips. Or alternatively head for the Castle there is a large car park here where you can then walk along the river path towards the Bandstand and up through the Roman Gardens will take you into Pepper Street under the walls on your right you will then see it in front of you.


From city centre just outside Newgate City walls through gate, access to amphitheatre floor is via wooden steps.


No onsite parking, plenty of parking in Chester City Centre close by



Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Remains of the amphitheatre

What to take:

wide angle lens

Nature highlights:



off Little St John Street






Opening times:

All year - any reasonable time



Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: No disabled access to amphitheatre floor
Special Needs Facilities: None on site
Children Facilities: None specific
Dogs Allowed: Yes

CIN Page Ref:


Date Updated: 08/2008

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