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Chester tourist attraction celebrates successful first month

Chester's Sick to Death attraction. Photo: Big Heritage

Chester’s newest tourist attraction, Sick to Death, is celebrating after welcoming around 5000 people through its doors in the first month of opening.

Big Heritage, who run the attraction, say that they have had double the number of visitors originally predicted.

Sick to Death is a history of medicine and public health attraction based in the medieval church of St Michael’s in Chester.

It’s based on Bridge Street and tells the story of how medicine has developed over 2000 years through a maze of hands-on and interactive displays, exploring plagues, pandemics, the birth of science and the future of medicine.

The attraction, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust, is owned and operated by Big Heritage, who created a pop-up version – alongside a now infamous Plague Doctor – in the city’s Water Tower in 2015.

The new venue was set to open in 2020, but Covid-19 meant that the planned opening was delayed until May this year.

Overwhelmed with visitors

Site manager, Rob Foulkes said: “We have been overwhelmed with visitors, who have universally loved the attraction. We’re still being cautious with numbers due to Covid-19 restrictions, which has meant quite long queues for visitors, but we’re lucky to call Chester Rows our home.

“We have the world’s most historic and weatherproof waiting shelter just outside!”

The site also has a waiting list for schools who are signing up for new ‘history of medicine’ tours of Chester to compliment the attraction. Sick to Death also offers the opportunity to explore the story of vaccines and germ theory, in addition to debunking a number of pseudoscientific theories.

A gory exhibit at Sick to Death. Photo: Big Heritage

Big Heritage founder, Dean Paton said: “Sick to Death is the culmination of a lot of hard work and creativity, and is everything Big Heritage is about in terms of educating, exciting and pushing boundaries in public engagement.

“We’re really pleased and relieved that visitors have responded so well to what we have created, and proud to bring a new and exciting family offer to Chester. If trends continue, it will be the most popular paid tourist attraction in the city centre by the end of this summer.”

Big Heritage have also recently acquired the nearby Deva Roman Experience, which will provide visitors with two attractions and a Roman walking tour of the city for one ticket by Autumn 2021.

About Angela Ferguson (215 Articles)
I'm a writer, journalist and blogger, as well as the founder and editor of culture webzine wearechester.co.uk. I'm also a university lecturer in journalism and media communications and a radio presenter for hire.

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