One of Chester’s longest established tourist attractions is set up undergo a major revamp following the sale of the business to BIG Heritage. Established in the 1990s by local businessman Peter Dentith, at its height it welcomed over 60,000 visitors a year, but closed due to Covid-19 in March last year.
BIG Heritage, known locally for their work on projects such as Chester Unlocked and the recently reopened Sick to Death medical museum in Bridge street, also operate the popular Western Approaches Museum in Liverpool. Founder Dean Paton said “It is a very exciting acquisition for us, and provides us with the opportunity to create a Roman attraction worthy of Britain’s most Roman of cities. The site has revealed some of the most interesting visible archaeological remains anywhere in the North West, encompassing not only a series of impressive Roman structures, but a complete timeline of activity stretching over 2000 years.”
The attraction will reopen in August following the first phase of construction and will then close over Christmas for further investment. Georgia Hayes, Business Development Manager at Big Heritage said “We intend to make Deva the Chester equivalent to Jorvik – but with the added benefit of giving visitors the option of booking onto our Roman Tours and also visit Sick to Death. For the first time, it gives Chester a complete day package for tourists all under one ticket.”
BIG Heritage are promising exciting changes : “We are already working with a team of super talented people to invest in a series of digital innovations on site, from projection mapping trenches to holographic soldiers marching once again on the city. We are bringing the story of the Amphitheatre to life thanks to some cool Augmented Reality (think Pokémon GO meets Rome), placing a huge new emphasis on the story of women and Children in Roman Chester, and will be running regular Roman inspired food and drink events.”
Chris Matheson, MP for Chester said “Big Heritage have an unrivalled track record of success in Chester and beyond. They bring history to life and I am pretty clear this is a hugely exciting opportunity to develop even further Chester’s tourism and heritage offering. I can’t wait for them to get cracking and I will be one of the first to visit the new attraction when it opens – I can’t wait.”