Take a guided tour of the tower and ruins of this 11th-century castle, which served as a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War.
Chester Castle is an ancient royal fortress located at the edge of Chester city. Guided tours of the castle offer a glimpse into its 900 years of history. Wander between the ruined castle walls, visit a chapel, admire wall paintings and enjoy panoramic views from the battlements.
William the Conqueror ordered the construction of an earth and timber fortress on this site in 1070. Building of the stone structure began in the 1100s and continued into the late 1200s. It was home to dukes, earls and kings. Both Henry III and his son Edward I started invasions of North Wales from the castle. Royalist leader John Byron held his headquarters here in the Civil War of the 1640s and it later became a military garrison.
The surviving medieval features of the castle are in the inner bailey, which is the fortified enclosure. It also contains barracks and a weapons room. Read information about the castle in the former guardroom.
Rising above a corner of the inner bailey is the 12th-century Agricola Tower. This was once the main entrance to the castle and is notable for the vaulted ceilings on the ground floor level. Climb to the tower’s second floor to find a chapel dedicated to St. Mary de Castro. The chapel’s walls are adorned with murals.
Steps lead from the tower onto the castle walls, from where you can enjoy superb views of Chester. Spot the Old Dee Bridge, which is the historical river crossing into Wales, and a defensive gun platform built to ward off attacks launched by Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The castle is a short walk from Chester’s city center and other major attractions such as Chester Cathedral and the Grosvenor Museum. Parking is available for a fee near the castle.
Chester Castle is open for guided tours on the first Tuesday and third Friday of the month between April and October. Ask at the Town Hall Visitor Information Centre for details of other opening hours.