I grew up on the Wirral and went to College in Chester so I have seen it change and grow. The other week when we had a bit of time to spare, we decided to head down for an afternoon to Chester to walk the walls, explore the Rows and wander down the Dee.
As it is under and hour and a simple route from Manchester (straight down the M56 to the M53). It is definitely a trip that you can do on the fly.
The thing I love about visiting places that I know really well is visiting from a tourist’s point of view. Taking photos of then icons and exploring the tourist paths. We even bought a bag of doughnuts from the shop in the wall which makes me feel all nostalgic!
We parked in the Station car park (not cheap at around £6, but it gets you in a good location for the motorway home) and wandered through the park to get to the river. The sun was shining and felt all autumnal with the leaves drifting to the floor and the dappled sunshine barely warming us.
There are plenty of other places to park in the city, but some ca have you waiting around for a space for ages when for a few quid more you can get set up and on your way. I like parking at stations, too, as there tend to be free toilets to use after and before your journey.
The River Dee
Chester is famous for the River Dee and usually during the summer you can’t move for the number of visitors feeding the birds, eating an ice cream or just enjoying the views, so it was lovely to find it peaceful and quiet. It gave us the opportunity to enjoy the views as well as actually walk near to the water for a change.
The walls in Chester are from the Roman times and wrap around the city to protect it from invasion. We are lucky in Chester that they are intact and still in excellent condition allowing you to walk them and experience the city from a different angle. It is a fun walk too and pretty gentle, although there are stairs.
I love peeping through the little side entrances and gaps as you also get a new perspective on the environment around you.
Over the Race Course
The walls turn to road for part of the way taking you past Chester Race Course. I’m not into racing, so I have never been inside, although we did think it would be fun to have a picnic right in the middle! When the races are on, you can barely move around this part of the city and the rest isn’t much better either – I made that mistake only once!
Back on the walls
Surprisingly even the walls were pretty quiet. For such a sunny day, I expected more people to be out for a wander. Lucky for us though as we had the whole thing to ourselves.
Visiting Chester to walk the walls is a great way to see the city, and it isn’t too far or challenging of a walk too. Most of the surfaces are hard standing, but there are some uneven parts.
Unfortunately on this visit we didn’t have time to have a wander around Chester Cathedral and the gardens, but we did get to watch a wild bird display from a distance – which is apparently a regular thing in the grounds now. I remember having picnics here a lot with my friend Jill when we were at art college in Blacon. Much better than sitting in a stuffy college canteen!
When you hit the middle part of the walk you will be met by Chester’s world-famous clock tower. Trying to get a people free shot is a miracle, even at off-peak times – but I almost managed it that day!
From the bridge
Before you head down to stairs to grab some doughnuts, make sure you take time to look out over the city. It looks just like a Lowry painting!
Now, if you’re feeling peckish by this point, make sure you head down the stairs to find the little tiny doughnut store below the bridge. They will make the doughnuts fresh while you wait (and they are AMAZING!) and are perfectly washed down with a nice takeaway cup of instant coffee. Who needs all those fancy things when you can get something simple and delicious while helping support a local business.
Getting the shot!
While you’re down on the ground enjoying your coffee and wait to get the shot of the clock minus the posing tourists!
After a swift wander around the walls and through the precinct we headed back to the car for a cup of tea and some chocolate as a treat.
Flying visit to walk the walls
Unfortunately, it was quite a flying visit to Chester this time, but it certainly reminded us that we should make the trip more often. Especially when we are staying at my parents’ house – although the pull of Wales is often way too much!
Next time, I will be sure to visit (and photograph) more of the rows and the buildings as well as trip to the Cathedral.
Looking forward to the next visit.
Have you ever been to Chester? What was your favourite part from either your visit or my latest visit?
Share in the comments below 🙂