Chester, UK

This will be a quick post, partly because I want to finish it before I board a flight in 30 minutes, and partly because I don’t have many pictures to share this time. The lack of pictures is purely due to the weather during my visit and also to feeling a bit burnt out on travel that day – definitely not because of a lack of subject matter. Chester is a fascinating and picturesque city, and a decent photographer on a day with a bit of good light could take some really amazing shots of the buildings, streets and sights around the city. So it’s a shame, really, that I was feeling very tired on the day I was there and didn’t see all the city has to offer.

Chester has similarities with York, another UK city that I have really enjoyed. It has a lovely gothic cathedral, Roman ruins, and interesting streets filled with little shops. One of the most interesting features in Chester is the city wall. It is one of the most complete – maybe the most complete – city walls in the UK and runs for more than 2 km around a central area of the city. In parts of the wall you can see original Roman wall foundations and stones.

Chester’s wall is also interesting because of the way that the city is integrated with it. Shops and apartment buildings can be accessed from some parts of the wall, and the wall is actually quite a convenient walking path between some areas of the center. In York, the wall is generally isolated and runs beside roads and green-spaces, but in Chester the wall is a part of the city, and people live and work around and on it.

Though Chester plays up its roots as a Roman fortress, today it is largely a Victoria creation. Much of the city’s decor is Victorian restoration, and they developed a sort of mania for the ornate style of black and white buildings, which fill much of the central area of Chester.

Another interesting bit of Chester is The Rows – two city blocks of shops that are on two levels. There are the street level shops, and then above them a level of shops that are accessed by a balcony or sort of boardwalk that run along the outside. Sort of like a modern shopping mall.

Aside from the buildings, Chester is also lovely because of the rivers, canals and parks that are prevalent in it. The cold and misty weather on the day I was there was perfect for a brisk stroll along the river to enjoy the “winter” sights.

The gothic cathedral is of local red stone.

And it has an unusual freestanding bell tower.

The English in general, and the people of Chester in particular, do not seem to have any hatred for pigeons. Behind the cathedral there is a large pigeon coop, and this is an area where you can legally feed the birds.

So, it was a quick visit but pleasant. Chester is well worth a stop on any UK itinerary.


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March 2012
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