Chester-le-Street stands on the River Wear between the city of Durham and Gateshead in Tyne and Wear.
The historic town developed on the site of a Roman fort (known as Concangium), established to control the main road from Newcastle to Durham.
Known as 'Conganis' by the Romans and 'Caestre' by the Normans, the town later became known simply as 'Chester'.
By the 17th century the name 'Chester-le-Street' had been adopted to distinguish the settlement from the ancient town of Chester on the River Dee near the Welsh border.
The 'Street' is the paved Roman way (running north - south through the town) on which the ancient settlement grew up. Today this is known as Front Street.
In 883 AD monks from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, fleeing from Viking attacks, arrived at Chester-le-Street with their great treasure: the uncorrupted body of St Cuthbert. The monks took refuge in the Roman ruins and founded a cathedral here (now the site of the parish church of St Mary and St Cuthbert). St Cuthbert was reburied at Chester-le-Street and lay at rest here for 112 years before being transferred for greater safety to Durham in 995 AD.
The monks also brought with them the Lindisfarne Gospels and it was at Chester-le-Street that the Gospels were first translated from Latin into English. Considered to be the most important manuscripts in the development of Christianity in the British Isles, the Lindisfarne Gospels are now housed in the British Library in London. However, a facsimile can be viewed at the Anker's House Museum beside the church.
In the 19th century Chester-le-Street became a coal mining centre and grew rapidly
Although the town owes its prosperity to the coal industry, the mines and factories have long since disappeared, and today Chester-le-Street is a fast-growing dormitory town.
With its a wide range of shops and busy indoor market (held Tuesday, Friday and Saturday), the town is now one of the most popular shopping venues in County Durham.
Another important feature of the town is the Riverside Cricket Ground. This is home to Durham County Cricket Club, which became a first class county in 1992.
Beamish Cottage Gardens 4.8 miles Visit this informal garden.
Finchale Priory 3.0 miles Explore the ruins of this Benedictine priory.
Washington Old Hall 3.9 miles Take a look around the house and gardens associated with the American President George Washington.
Crook Hall & Gardens 5.1 miles A lovely house with gardens.
Ankers House Museum This small museum traces the history of the local church.
Beamish - The North of England Open Air Museum 4.0 miles A famous, and very popular, open-air museum.
Washington 'F' Pit Mining Museum 4.1 miles Discover more about the area's coal mining industry heritage.
Durham Light Infantry Museum & Durham Art Gallery 5.0 miles The history of the local regiment, and an art gallery to visit.
Angel of the North 4.0 miles Now probably the most famous landmark in the area.
WWT Washington Wetland Centre 4.6 miles Come and see the wildlife and birds at this wetland centre, complete with flamingos.
Wharton Park 5.3 miles A lovely park for a stroll.
Causey Arch and Picnic Area 5.3 miles A nice picnic spot next to the old railway bridge.
Towns Near Chester-le-Street To Visit - straight line distance:Washington (3.59 miles) Stanley (4.93 miles) Durham (5.72 miles) Gateshead (7.19 miles)