Chester Roman Amphitheatre | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Chester Roman Amphitheatre

Chester, England, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

01 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Chester Roman Amphitheatre

Chester Roman Amphitheatre is Britain’s largest known Roman amphitheatre, whose remains give an idea of what was once a thriving centre of Roman life.

Chester Roman Amphitheatre history

Originally part of the Roman settlement of ‘Deva’, founded in around 79 AD in what is now Chester, Chester Roman Amphitheatre would have been able to seat between 8,000 and 12,000 spectators.

Two amphitheatres were actually built on the site of Chester Roman Amphitheatre, both stone-built with wooden seating but each quite different in other respects. The first had access to the upper tiers of seating using stairs on its rear wall, and had a shrine at its north entrance, while the second featured vaulted stairways as access to its seating. While both differed from each other, they also differed from the other amphitheatres found in the UK, indicating the significance Roman Chester held in the period.

At its peak, Chester Roman Amphitheatre was a training ground for Rome’s 20th Legion yet also an entertainment venue for the people of Deva. Recent findings have suggested that it was the site of gruesome gladiatorial shows, however the exact activities that would have taken place are unclear, with archaeologists still exploring Chester Roman Amphitheatre.

Chester Roman Amphitheatre today

Today, two-fifths of Chester Roman Amphitheatre lies visible to the public, yet provides a valuable look into Roman Britain. Though most of its materials were used to construct the Chester City Walls and much of it is buried under the modern landscape, the outline of the amphitheatre is clear, affording visitors an idea of its vast size.

In the sections that have been excavated, the remains of the shrine to Nemesis may be viewed alongside two entrances to the amphitheatre. Much of the original stone wall that lines the site is also on display, and in the summer military reenactments may be enjoyed there.

Getting to Chester Roman Amphitheatre

Chester Roman Amphitheatre is located in the centre of Chester on Little St John Street, with a number of car parks available in the city centre. A variety of bus services stop at Vicar’s Lane, a minute’s walk to the site, while Chester train station is also just a 13-minute walk away.

Featured In

Romand Sites in England

Discover some of the best Roman sites in England, from the iconic Hadrian's Wall to the country's largest Roman residence of Fishbourne Palace. With amphitheatres, mosaics, forts, and bath houses to explore, this guide will walk you through what remains of one of history's most famous Empires.

UK Historic Sites

Discover the best Historic Sites in the United Kingdom, from Lullingstone Roman Villa to Hatfield House and more, includes interactive Heritage Sites in Britain map.

Roman Sites UK

The ultimate guide to Roman sites in Britain, from Vindolanda to Segedunum, Durnovaria and more, includes an interactive map of Roman ruins in the UK.

Historic Sites in England

Discover the best historic sites in England, from Bodiam Castle to Beaulieu Abbey and more, includes an interactive map of English heritage attractions.

Roman Amphitheatres

Discover the best Roman amphitheatres from the Colosseum to Pula Arena and more, includes an interactive map of amphitheatres from ancient Rome.

Cheshire Roman Ruins

Discover the best Roman Sites in Cheshire from the famous Chester Roman Amphitheatre to 39 Bridge Street and more, includes interactive Roman ruins in Cheshire map.