Locals Guide to Chester, England

To see previous City Spotlights here

The city of Chester in the north west of England is one of the most fascinating and charming cities in the UK – that’s exactly why I’ve made my home here for the past two years! As a Canadian living abroad I am perpetually amazed and in awe of the ancient history that can be seen around every corner in places like Chester, and I love learning more and more about the past everywhere I go. It might be a trek up if you’re staying in London, but the 2 hour train ride is more than worth it once you arrive in this little living museum.

What makes Chester magical?

Chester was settled by the Romans and was established as a Roman fort, or castrum, in the year 79. Since this time a city has sat along the banks of the River Dee in Cheshire, growing in size and influence all the while.

This long history means that Chester is packed full of fascinating history, from the Roman City Walls and amphitheatre, to Victorian Grosvenor Park, right up to the shops and restaurants of modern times. Just a simple stroll up the main street gives you glimpses into the city’s history, with leaning Tudor buildings mingling with elegant Georgian facades.

If I only had one day in Chester, England what would you recommend?

If you only have 1 day in Chester the first thing you have to do is take a walking tour of the Roman City Walls that still guard the city centre. These city walls are the most complete in Britain and a walk around the whole of the monument will take you no longer than an hour, including stops to read the historical interpretation provided along the way. Along the way you’ll glimpse the beautiful River Dee, go under the historic Eastgate Clock (the second most photographed clock in Britain), and pass by the magnificent Chester Cathedral. There really is no better way to see the city.

After your walk along the walls head down to ground level to explore the shops and attractions that make up the city centre. At the Chester Visitors Centre you can sign up for a guided city walk which will give you insights into the city that you never would have discovered on your own. My favourite little tid-bit? It is believed that Catherine of Aragon, first with of the infamous Henry VIII spent a night in a room that is now part of a sofa shop!

 

What are your 3 favorite free things to do there?

Everyone likes to save a little while travelling, and it’s much easier to do that in the North of England than it is in London. It’s easy to find free, or inexpensive, things to do in Chester and not feel like you’re missing out.

  1. Visit the Grosvenor Museum – Many museums in the UK are free to enter and Chester’s little museum is one of them. Here you can watch a movie about the history of Chester, learn about its Roman heritage, and take a tour through a recreated Victorian household.
  2. Take in the Races – The Chester Racecourse, also known as the Roodee, is set right in the centre of the city and dates back to the 16th century. Throughout the summer there are numerous horse races held here, all of which you can watch for free from the street side.
  3. Take a Walk Along the Canal – Along with the River Dee, Chester also has a beautiful canal that winds its way through the city. On a sunny day there are few things nicer than walking along the water in the countryside, and maybe popping in to one of the local pubs for a pint in the sun!

 

A trip to Chester is great whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway or a family summer holiday. The city centre is compact and virtually car free so it’s easy to get around, and with North Wales, Liverpool, and Manchester just a short drive or train ride away there are endless things to do and see. Make sure that the next time you visit the UK you venture out of the capital and come and visit the little places like Chester that make the UK great.
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Beverley, the gem in England you didn’t know before now…

Beverley, a true gem in Yorkshire, England!

The following post is from Charlotte from Web Cottages. She is enthusiastic about travelling around the UK and has made it her aim to visit as much of it as possible in recent years! She loves going on holiday and taking photos of the places that she has been to.

Beverley has to be one of my favorite places in the UK. The town sits in the shadow of the Beverley Minster, a stunning cathedral like building and is tucked away in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Beverley is situated near to the city of Hull and not far from the stunning city of York so is really easy to get to from almost anywhere in the UK. The think I love about Beverley and the thing that makes it different from other places, it that it has managed to retain a lovely small town like feel, people still know and speak to each other and most of the shops in the town centre are still independently owned. It really is a gem!

What makes Beverley so magical?

Beverley’s small town charm stems from the fact that it is a town surrounded by countryside and lovely pasture land. It really does have the perfect blend of town and country! You can stay in the countryside and still be only a couple of miles from the Beverley’s cobbled streets that make up the buzzing town centre. There are loads of options of places to stay, from smart hotels in Beverley itself to stunning holiday cottages in Yorkshire, just outside of the town.

 

Animals graze freely on the Westwood, just outside the town centre and only cattle grids stop the animals coming all the way into the town. Beverley Beck runs for just under a mile from the River Hull to near the town centre of Beverley and is a lovely place to go for an afternoon stroll, or head to for a picnic. Both are just a short walk from the town.

 

Great places to eat in Beverley

Beverley is home to some truly fantastic places to go for delicious home cooked food. If I could only have one meal during my stay in Beverley and money was no object, I would take a trip to Whites Restaurant. Whites is a small restaurant that serves truly fantastic food all made on the premises by head chef John Robinson.

 

If you fancy a delicious light lunch or scrumptious cake, Lempicka at Wednesday Market is a fantastic café. Offering lovely panini’s, salads and quiches all served in a quirky café or outside in the sunshine weather permitting, this place is not to be missed! The cakes are amazing too, huge slabs of homemade delights. The perfect time to treat yourself!

What about a drink?

You will be spoilt for choice for places to drink in Beverley! Although there are plenty of swish cocktail bars and wine bars, my favorite place has to be Nellies. Its real name is the White Horse, but it is known locally as Nellies after one of the past landlords of the pub. The atmosphere is dark as the only lighting is by gas lamp and the furnishings are well worn but that is the appeal! I really don’t think I have ever been anywhere like it!

London Street

Saturday Snapshot: London’s Street Atmoshpere

ring my trip to England I fell in love with the city’s charming streets infused with character. Filled to the brim with fellow tourists, locals (whmo I could listen to talk in thick British accents all day!), performers, cafes and shopping stands. One of my favorite attributes were the hanging light bulbs, I believe they were up as Christmas decor since we were visiting the week of America’s Thanksgiving holiday but maybe they are up all time?

 

If you know more about the hanging lights I would love to hear about it in the comments since google didn’t provide much insight.

London Hostel Review: Kings Hotel

We loved our stay at The Globetrotter Inn during our first few days in England but after returning from Paris we wanted to stay in other places near London just to get different experiences. Well Location is about the only good thing we experienced at Kings ‘Hotel’ the name does not reflect the accommodations at all.

To clarify, I’m pretty easy to please, I’m not picky, I’m not a germ-a-phob and I enjoy getting a good deal over having all the accommodations, it takes a lot for me to really not like a place. I would never recommend this hostel. I thought perhaps since my stay was in November 2006 its possible they have improved since then but as I look over the recent reviews it seems pretty clear to me that they haven’t.

BedsFor starters the manager who helped us could have cared less about us or our stay, he didn't even try to hide the fact that we rudely interrupted whatever show he was watching. Then the room… super tiny, by tiny I mean the bed was against 2 walls and there were maybe 3 feet between the edge of the bed to the other two walls. The tv didn't work, it was really cold, and the bed was historic, I'm surprised it didn't come crashing down when I sat on it. But all this is just what you could see with your eyes.

Kings HotelThis happened to be the last night during our trip in London and since there was no alarm clock we went to bed early and hoped we would wake up in time. At about 2 am we were woken up by a huge commotion going on above us, not the funny 'OMG listen to those fools' kind of commotion it was the 'OMG do we call the cops, I wonder who is going to survive this' kind of commotion. We can hear unintelligible yelling then car doors opening and shutting through the sound of the pouring rain. As I peek out the window to see what is going on, relaying to my friend that some people just showed up and are on the sidewalk yelling back at whoever is above us.

I lay back down not wanting them to see me watching them and as we layed in silence and awe we all of a sudden hear glass shattering and something hit the ground.

My friend believes it was a body, I lean more towards an inanimate object like a lamp or television set. Thinking back on it I wish one of us had looked just to indulge our curiosity but we never did so whatever/whomever shattered the glass above us & met the ground below will always remain a mystery to us.  

As if all this isn’t reason enough not to return the worst part for me was just about to be realized… bug bites.

Lots & lots of bug bites, all over my entire body. My friend managed to only get a few bites choosing to wear jeans and a hoodie to sleep in. I’ve always gotten more bug bites (as in mosquitoes, never bed bugs) than my friends; so I figure I must have some really great blood! I can understand having more bites BUT paying for a bed to sleep in at the very least should mean I’m the only one in it! unacceptable

There are so many hostels in London and at pretty good prices that there is no need to settle for staying at Kings Hotel which I am sure can only mean its fit for the king of bedbugs!

On a wonderful side note I've had a couple guest posts come out this past week on some of my favorite blogs, If you have a minute please check them out!

Tips for bartering to Paraglide in Mexico 

- 5 Ways to Beat Homesickness

- 5 Tips to Making your Dreams Come True

- Lessons from my First 6 Months of Travel Blogging

- Tips from my First 6 Months of Travel Blogging

The 15 day International Travel Challenge: Day 11

Day 11: Did you have any milestones or firsts while traveling or living abroad?

Honestly, if I travel and don't have a first or a milestone while I am there, it isn't a trip I'm looking forward to. I wanna see new things, learn new things, try new things. Otherwise what's the point?

So instead of picking just one, here are 15!

1) The first time I traveled to one of the worlds greatest wonders.

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2) My first tradition for christmas, collecting an ornament each time I travel. It brings happiness to a holiday I'm not fond of. Thanks to my sister, it was her idea & I can't imagine holidays without it!

3) I first started to appreciate the concepts of living more with less as traveling has become a bigger & more influential force in my life. 

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4) When I first learned that travelling was my passion & made me happy!

5) Living in Russia was the first time I realized I needed to learn to cook the food I like so I don't have to wait until next time i'm there.

6) The first time I traveled to a country without religious freedom, in Palestine & Israel.

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7) When traveling I learned firsthand that translation doesn't have to be through words in the same language, emotion & humanity are an international language.

8) The first time I went out of state on vacation with my mom, saw a 'big city' play, went shopping on Michican Ave. in Chicago, fell in love with Crate & Barrel, visited & purchased something at Tiffany & Co.

9) Traveling taught me for the first time what fair trade is ans why its important.

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10) I first learned about Kiva & its crucial role in crushing economies. Not the American economy's version, the third world version. 

  

 

 

11) My first time having street tacos & ordering fresh fruit on the beach.

Ice Cream in Lithuania

 

 

12) The first time I had the best ice cream ever in Lithuania!

 

 

 

 

 

 

13) The first time I learned what a permaculture farm is in Bethlehem.

 Olivetree

14) The first time I found myself sitting around a large hookah with five Palestinian men learning about the stuggles of leading a family into uncertain times.

15) The first time I had to learn where an American Embassy was.

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Day 01 – Favorite place(s) you’ve been to?

Day 02 – Where you’d like to travel next?

Day 03 – An adventure/challenge you had while traveling or living abroad.

Day 04 – A picture of you in another country.

Day 05 – What do you bring with you when you travel?

Day 06 – What does “home” mean to you?

Day 07 – Besides people, what did/do you miss from home?

Day 08 – A favorite food from another country/culture.

Day 09 – A favorite foreign movie.

Day 10 - A song you like from another country/language.

Day 11 – Did you have any milestones or “firsts” while traveling or living abroad?

Day 12- Someone who influenced you to travel abroad. 

Day 13- A favorite travel quote.

Day 14- What did you learn from traveling abroad?

Day 15- Advice to someone who’s thinking about traveling to another country?  

What firsts or milestones have you had while traveling or living abroad?