“ Pierpoint Lane / Off Bridge Street / Chester / Tel: 01244 343407 / Fax: 01244 347737. „
NAME OF LOCATION: Deva Roman Experience, off Bridge Street, at Chester. BACKGROUND: Whilst walking up Bridge Street on a weekend trip to Chester, my boyfriend Robert and I were trying to find the toy museum (we were following the pedestrian black signs but never found it), we saw an advertisement for the Deva Roman Experience, which had a cut-out of a roman soldier and some red leaflets on it. Curious, we stopped to pick one up and decided to visit this instead of the nonexistent toy museum. ATTRACTIONS Step onto a Roman Galley (ship), take a stroll through a reconstructed street of Chester, discover Roman, Saxon and Medieval remains in the on-site excavations, visit a hands-on room where there are activities for children and adults alike to try including trying on legionnaires armour. I found that the street scene was rather scary and quite dark, but I have found that with the Jorvik centre and the various Dungeons (London and York) that I have been in, but I still put myself through it. May be a problem for really young children, though so needs bearing in mind. TRANSPORT We visited Chester by coach and walked from outside the walled city to the street. You could take a sightseeing bus round the town (and if you do, you will get 50p off all adult, senior and student admission charges when you show your bus ticket). The sightseeing bus does not go past the museum as it is on a pedestrians only zone but it is near stops 7, 11 and a short walking distance from 12. Chester has a railway station but looks on the map to be some distance from the town so you would need a taxi or bus to get into the town itself (although the sightseeing tour goes past it, and picks up opposite it near the Queens Hotel. (Adult fare £8, Senior Citizens £6.50, Children £3.00, Family £19 for 2 adults and up to 3 children (or £2.50 more if want the boat trip) but valid for 2 days and entitles you to a hop on hop off service every 30minutes (more frequent in summer)). PRICE Adults £4.25 Child £2.50, OAPS £3.75 OPEN 7 days a week (except Christmas day and Boxing Day) Feb-Nov 9am to 5pm (last admission) Sunday Feb-Nov 10am to 5pm (last admission) Dec-Jan 10am to 4pm (last admission) Groups welcome by arrangement contact the Booking Officer. GOOD POINTS 1. Rather like the Jorvik Viking centre in York but on a smaller scale it recreates the Roman period with a galley ship and street 2. Hands on room had plenty of activities to interest both young and old BAD POINTS 1. For the price, it didnt have enough to occupy a person for much longer than a couple of hours (if that). 2. The light activity to show where medieval, Saxon and roman archaeology was found, were positioned over some of the lights so the person pressing the button could not see them. 3. Although there is disabled access, several areas need to be visited properly by going down rather steep ladders. Wheelchair access is available above these areas with viewing platforms, though. The Hands On Room is up a steep set of stairs, with no lift provided. AFTERWARDS There was a gift shop to browse with some good quality souvenir items and literature about other local places to visit. Unfortunately, there wasnt a café I would have liked to rest a while and enjoy a drink there. Although toilets were available, I did not use them, so cannot comment on them. MORE INFORMATION FROM Deva Roman Experience, Pierpoint Lane, Bridge Street, Chester Cheshire, CH1 1NL Telephone 01244 343 407. Despite trawling the net, I have been unable to find a specific website for the Deva Roman Experience. However it is mentioned on lots of other tourism websites including http://www.iexplore.com/dmap/England/Where+to+Go and http://www.e-travelguide.info/chester/attract.htm It is accessible from Bridge Street pedestrian zone and also from Watergate Street/Eastgate Street (near the East gate clock) via Pierpoint Lane.