The Victorian Fair descends on Chester from mid November until the beginning of January. Here you will find an open air ice rink, a large ferris wheel, Santa's grotto and a great variety of stalls selling local crafts, food and an outdoor bar with a heating seating area - perfect for getting in the spirit of Christmas with a mulled wine or defrosting with a hot spiced rum drink.
Grosvenor Park is a wonderful place to take a stroll, have a picnic and enjoy the wildlife. It is situated alongside the River Dee and is described as a fine example of a Victorian Park. During my visit in December I found some very hungry squirrels here who were very tame indeed and so cheeky
that they took food out of my hand and clambered up my legs to check for food in my coat pockets!! I went back the next day with Gareth (VT-er Balam) we were armed with plenty of peanuts for our furry little friends. I also attracted a rather large flock of pigeons!!
In the summer months you will find a miniature railway here, colourful rock gardens and a sensory herb garden.
The Grosvenor Museum is a fabulous place to visit if you want to find out all there is to know about the Roman Occupation and life in Chester in years gone by. There are many great galleries for you to browse around and 20 Castle Street which is a house attached to the rear of the museum which has each room decorated in a different period through the ages of the house, starting as a timber framed house in the 1660's.
I was particularly impressed with the local Roman artefacts held in the museum and the wonderfully engraved tombstones on display in the Graham Webster Gallery. Although the best thing about this great Museum is that Admission is Free!
Open Monday - Saturday 10:30am - 5pm, Sunday 1pm - 4pm
Closed 24th - 27th December, 31st December and 1st January
In the last few months Chester is plagued by an infestation of rhinos all over the city.
62 of them have appeared in different designs created by artists as well as school kids.
Here is one of a few that are in front of the town hall.
There are some dreadful lumps of metal and stone around the city of Chester masquerading as art but this bronze sculpture is an exception.
The 1 metre tall sculpture of an elephant calf by Annette Yarrow was donated by Chester zoo. The sculpture can be found opposite the town hall on Northgate Street
There is a bridge that crosses the Shropshire Union canal just off the city walls near the Northgate that dates back to 1793 and was built to allow condemned prisoners to walk from the gaol to the chapel to receive the last rights prior to execution.
Being honest I look at it, think of the one in Venice and sigh that it isn't the same one!
I wouldn't make a special journey to see it but if you're passing......
The original suspension bridge was built in 1852, Chester Corporation took over the responsibility for the bridge in the early 1920s and demolished it in 1922. It was replaced by a new bridge in 1923 and restored in 1998.
Here is a good thing to do while you are in Chester. You can buy one these post cards that feature a mere 26 of many historical pubs in the city and then you can steadily work your way through all these boozers having a drink in each.
It would be possible to reproduce a similar postcard as this with a similar amount of equally good and or historic watering holes that have somehow failed to make it on to the original card. Thankfully though my favourite ale house in Chester “Ye Olde Boot Inn” has made it on to the postcard.
If you happen to be visiting on a Sunday during the Summer make sure you are at the Eastgate Arch at Midday to watch the changing of the Roman Guard.
It is an hour long inspection and parade which can involve up to 25 soldiers in full Roman military costume.
Gods Providence House in Watergate Street was originally built in 1652 which was 4 years after a plague killed 2,000 Chester inhabitants in only 10 months.
The motto on it's frontage 'Gods providence is mine inheritance' is an expression of thanks that no members of the family died during the epidemic.
The Amphitheatre is the largest Roman construction in Chester but was only found by accident in 1929. It was situated outside the fortress and had walls 33ft (10m) high and 100 yards (90m) in diameter and would have been the largest of it's type in Britain being able to seat 7,000 people. Half of the arena has been revealed but the rest lays beneith more recent buildings.
Open Daily from Easter to 30th September 10:00 - 18:00
October to Easter 10:00 to 13:00 and 14:00 to 16:00.
Entry is free
This pub is one of Chesters oldest, the building originally belonged to a Medieval Merchant but the timber frame that you see today at Row level dates from around the time it opened as a pub in 1643. The facade was rebuilt abd restored in the late 19th centuary and again in 1988. Until then the actual pub was tucked away behind a barbers shop that used to be at the front. Before that it is thought that there used to be a brothel there.
We called in for a drink and to view the original wattle and daub wall here that can be seen on entering and on the stairs.
The Bear and Billet is a great old pub in Chester.
It was built in 1664 replacing a building destroyed during the civil war.
The Bear and Billet is a great example of a black and white half timbered building.
It was originally the town house of the Earls of Shrewsbury (the sergeants of the Bridgegate), The building has been an inn since the 18th century and it is said that the Earls of Shrewsbury leased to an innkeeper on condition that an suite of rooms was always kept available for the Earl and his family.
In a drawing of 1820 shows it is shown as the Bridgegate Tavern but is believed to have acquired its present name not long after.
The Bear and Billet is said to have several resident ghosts, including an old lady that greets visitors,
Stretching in gentle layers from Newgate down to the River Dee this lovely garden was first conceived in 1949 and developed in recent years using real Roman columns from the bath house that had previously been hidden beneith the rubble of centuries now set amongst authentic aromatic Italian trees and shrubs.
There is a great reconstruction of a Roman Hypocaust.
Although called The Nine Houses there are actualy only six of these nice looking almshouses. They date from around 1650 and are unique due to their timber framed structure on a sandstone base. These houses were saved from dereliction by the city council in 1969.
The little plaque SMP and SOP on the houses indicates the parish boundary between St Michael's and St Olave's Churches.
The best view of the houses is probably from the city walls.
Great treat for you and friends, Afternoon Tea at Grosvenor Hotel. After hard day shopping we had...more
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