Chester

Chester Travel Blog

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Sometimes, I go touristing in places very close to home.  Today, I went to Chester.  Chester is a very nice city, although very little about it is as it seems.  For example, most of the gorgeous, medieval looking houses in the city centre are Victorian.  The pretty city gates?  at least one of them is built in teh 1930s.  But they are well enough established now not to feel too Disney world, and Chester is definately worth a trip out of Manchester at least once.

Cheshire is a very rich part of England, and this shows almost as soon as you get off the train.  There are big cars, and designated pigeon feeding places, but beggars like something out of Dickens around the Cathedral.

Ancient Coffin
  One of my clearest memories of the city is a beggar with an Irish accent running up to a cluster of other beggars, with a cry of "watch out, it's the Peel!"  I had previously thought that Peel as a nickname for the police had been replaced with old bill, filth, or pigs years ago (that's not what I think of the constabulary, by the way - just what I've heard shouted at them in the street.  Britain should be proud of a police force that can deal with that level of abuse without resorting to violence, or at least campaigning for arms - they are a very patient lot).

The cathedral was lovely, but the loveliness was slightly damaged by the number of signs that say don't - don't touch, don't come too near - it got a bit tired after a while.  Still, the courtroom from the middle ages was interesting and there was some lovely woodcarving.

The Rows
  OUtside, there was an old fashioned tour bus that was really cool, although I chose not to go on it today.  I wandered through the Rows, which are the two tiered shopping street, and found my way to the river round the walls.

I wanted to go and see the Roman Amphitheatre, and wandered along the river looking for it.  I almost missed it.  Just past one of the fake bridges, there it was - and it is being refurbished by English Heritage and has no more atmosphere than any other building site.  It looks to me like they are going to build a reconstruction, so it might be cool in a year or two.  But not right now.  Dissapointed, I went into St John's church.

St John's church is far more interesting, and lovelier even than the Cathedral. It is older, adn has elegant Norman arches and a reconstruction of the shrine of the holy cross, which was one of the most holy relics in medieval Europe.

Dry well
  It's also surrounded by ruins, because when it was no longer a holy site of pilgramage they didn't need some of the space and jsut let it fall down.  High in the walls of the ruin is an ancient coffin, with the engraving "dust to dust" - it was set up there by a churchman as a reminder to the public that they would die and ought to pray.  It's a bit macabre, and I do wonder what happened to the body that should have been inside, but it's still cool.

Afterwards, I had an icecream on the banks of the river and a walk in the park.  England does parks extremely well, and the flowers were lovely.  Then I went home.

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Ancient Coffin
Ancient Coffin
The Rows
The Rows
Dry well
Dry well
Ice cream shop
Ice cream shop
Bridge over the Dee
Bridge over the Dee
Grosvenor park
Grosvenor park
Ruined Church - probably heavily r…
Ruined Church - probably heavily …
Ruins
Ruins
Sculpture in the Garden for the Bl…
Sculpture in the Garden for the B…
St Johns
St John's
Ruins at St Johns
Ruins at St John's
Remains of tower
Remains of tower
Bicycle statue things
Bicycle statue things
Ruins of Roman fort
Ruins of Roman fort
Eastgate
Eastgate
Former car factory!
Former car factory!
Not at all what I expected
Not at all what I expected
Cool... superdrug, as it happens!
Cool... superdrug, as it happens!
Town Hall
Town Hall
Cathedral
Cathedral
Cloisters
Cloisters
Carving of a monkey in the cloiste…
Carving of a monkey in the cloist…
Tour bus
Tour bus
River from the walls
River from the walls
Cathedral
Cathedral
Blossom
Blossom
Hippocaust - Roman central heating
Hippocaust - Roman central heating
Bridge in the walls - 1930s, but q…
Bridge in the walls - 1930s, but …
Chester Sights & Attractions review
St John's Church
St John’s church is the original cathedral church of Chester, which was downgraded in favour of the current cathedral. It is nicer and more interes… read entire review
Chester Sights & Attractions review
Chester Cathedral
Chester Cathedral is a lovely cathedral in the North West of England. Like Gloucester, it has intact cloisters. The cathedral itself is made of red … read entire review
Chester
photo by: Hummingbird