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Chester Heritage Tours

All aboard an Edwardian-style omnibus for a delightful sightseeing trip around the 2000-year-old city of Chester.

Open: Monday to Sunday at 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00.

Address: Mon – Sat: tours depart from the Town Hall. Sun: tours depart from Chester Cathedral.

Attraction Information

Starting from the 19th century Town Hall with its Tourist Information Centre, your replica vehicle with live commentary from a local guide dressed in period costume guide will transport you back in time to discover the oldest City Walls in Britain built originally by the Roman Empire to protect the Fortress of Deva against fierce Welsh tribes across the border.

En route, we will also show you the largest Roman Amphitheatre ever uncovered in Britain where 7000 spectators watched gladiators fight to the death, circuses galore and many other spectacular entertainments; and several hundred years later Viking raiders set up camp for their winter quarters.

Along the way, you will see Chester Castle built by the Norman invaders under the direction of Hugh Lupus, the nephew of William the Conqueror 1000 years ago who also established the magnificent Cathedral that showcases the different architectural styles from across the centuries.

We pass over the Old Dee Bridge with arches of different sizes and shapes to take a closer look at the River Dee and discover the Norman weir built to harness water-power  and drive the corn mills they established along the  river bank.

We’ll point out the Water Tower built in the Middle Ages to protect the Port of Chester, when it was the largest in North West England until the River Dee silted up and sailing ships could not reach the harbour to unload their cargoes. It was during this period that Chester’s world famous feature – the unique Rows galleries – were built to provide two -tiers of shops in the same street although their origins are still shrouded in mystery.

Close to the Water Tower, you will also catch a glimpse of the Canal Basin.

Our route passes by the oldest racecourse in the country, where horses have to compete for top honours from May until September. They replaced football matches on the site that were banned for being too violent in the past. It’s hard to imagine that the racecourse was once the location for a massive Roman harbour with parts of the quayside where Roman galleys used to tie up still visible.

Your guide will tell you about the English Civil War when the city was under siege for 2 years as we pass the King Charles Tower on the City Walls that Cromwell’s forces battered and smashed with their mighty cannons forcing the Royalist defenders on the point of starvation to surrender.

The city was economically devastated but bounced back thanks to the resilience of its citizens who witnessed its dramatic revival during the Industrial Revolution when canals, railways and tarmac roads shaped Chester’s cityscape forever.

We will tell you all about the renaissance of Chester as a busy commercial and retail centre as we drive past elegant Georgian townhouses and highlight the influence of our Victorian ancestors on the city we know today.

They remodelled the city in many different ways redesigning the look of the Cathedral, erecting the stunning Eastgate Clock to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, and creating the Grosvenor Bridge – the largest single span stone arch bridge in the world in 1832 -that was opened by Princess Victoria and we drive over during the trip.

The bus trip normally lasts about an hour and returns to the Town Hall for passengers to alight and discover the historic buildings and memorable landmarks we have passed along the route.

You can sit upstairs on the double-decker bus in the open-air and get a bird’s eye view of the city or take a seat in the equally comfortable downstairs section under cover.

The vehicle can carry 33 passengers with 17 sitting upstairs, and 16 downstairs in the First Class compartment in elegant Victorian style.

Let’s tell you a bit about the vehicle that has become a firm favourite with residents and visitors from across the world and has gained even greater coverage from its appearances on TV and film.

Believe it or not, it’s actually a replica of a London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) B-Type motorbus and is only 35 years old.

The original B-type motorbuses were launched in1910 during the Edwardian era.

They and were one of the earliest double-deckers in the world and designed to replace horse-drawn vehicles, which provided most of the public transport in major cities.

Its design and construction were considered revolutionary at the time, and by 1913, 2,500 omnibuses of this type had been built.

The vehicle was designed by the LGOC’s chief engineer, Frank Searle, who eventualy became the Managing Director of the Rover car company.

In 1914 at the start of the Great War, many were taken out of service and adapted for military use to take soldiers to the war front in France.

Some were converted to field ambulances and even mobile pigeon lofts for carrier pigeons, which played a vital role in battlefield communications.

The buses were highly adaptable and were renowned for being robust and dependable in the harshest and most extreme weather.

At the end of the war, the B-type omnibuses continued to provide reliable public transportation in London and other major cities until 1927.

Chester Heritage Tour is scheduled to provide sightseeing tours from 11am until 3pm from Monday until Sunday in 2017.

However, these dates and times may be subject to change occasionally because of adverse weather conditions and other eventualities.

You should always check at the time of booking that the bus is operating.

NB: Sightseeing tours of Chester are restricted on the following days and/or times:

15 September 2017. No 12pm tour
16 September 2017. Last tour 1pm
23 September 2017. 11am tour only
29 September 2017. First tour 1pm
30 September 2017. Last tour 1pm
05 October 2017. First tour 12pm

The Chester Heritage Tour bus is also available for private hire and weddings within a 25 mile radius of Chester and for local and national Film, TV and promotional work.

  • Weekday Tours begin and end at Chester Town Hall
  • Sunday Tours begin and end at Chester Cathedral
  • Both locations provide level paved access to the bus stop
  • Limited Short term Pick/Drop off facilities are available at both Bus Stops
Heritage Bus Tour
  • The vehicle itself is an accurate replica of a 1910 B-Type London General Omnibus open top double deck bus
  • Access on and off the bus from pavement level is via a rear platform and a series of small, deep steps which turn slightly towards the top deck
  • Step 1 Pavement to first step 10” (25cm)
  • Step 2 First Step to Platform 10” (25cm)
  • Platform measures 43” (110cm) wide
  • Step 3 Platform to Lower deck saloon 9” (24cm)
  • Entrance to saloon is 26” (65cms) wide
  • Staircase to upper deck 9 Steps each 9” x 18” (24cm x 48cm) fixed handrail on both sides
  • Fixed handrails are located throughout the lower deck saloon
  • Access for those with severe mobility impairments is limited
  • Wheelchair transfer can be undertaken to provide access to the lower deck saloon
  • Folded wheelchairs can be carried on the bus itself
  • Staff will always be willing to offer any assistance necessary
  • A designated seat next to the guide is allocated for the use of passengers with sensory impairments
  • Appropriate adaptations to the vehicle are currently being investigated (ramps, lifts, hearing loops etc.)
  • Assistance dogs are welcome to travel on the bus

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