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Exploring the ancient streets of Chester...3 hours from London.

One of Britain's oldest cities, Chester has more than 1,900 years of written history. So much time has passed since the earliest records that rivers have silted and defensive points on ancient walls now overlook meadows instead of the harbor.

Today, colorful narrow streets and pedestrian thoroughfares make this town near Liverpool a fine place to explore on foot.

Most noteworthy survivor of the centuries is the 2-mile loop of 12-foot-high Roman and medieval walls that surrounds a portion of the present-day city. Whatever the weather, a walk along the top offers unconventional glimpses into the remains of a 7,000-seat Roman amphitheater, ancient churchyards and cloistered gardens dating from the 9th century, Elizabethan row houses, 19th-century canals and ornate clock towers, and modern commercial businesses. You'll also have wide-ranging views of lush green countryside and the River Dee.

Within the walls, parts of Northgate and Eastgate streets are for pedestrians only. Here and on Bridge and Watergate streets are "the rows"--half-timbered covered galleries with shops one level above the street. April through September at noon and 3, the twon crier, dressed as a Victorian city bellman, cries the news and nonsense of the day.

Other streets also show great diversity of architectural styles: Grosvenor Street's Falcon Inn boasts a 16th-century facade and 13th-century cellars; nearby are fine restored 18th- and 19th-century buildings. One side lane here was first recorded in the 14th century.

The Chester Heritage Center on Bridge Street publishes walking tour booklets (about $1). The visitor center, on Vicar's Lane across from the Roman amphitheater, can help you plan your stay.

You can reach Chester by train from London's Euston station in about 3 hours. It is 18 miles south of Liverpool and only 5 miles from the Welsh border.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Mar 1, 1986
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