Don’t you love it when even after visiting a place over and over again, you can still discover something new about it?
Well this happened to us one weekend whilst on a trip back to my hometown. After deciding what to do with our Sunday, we headed to the lovely city of Chester. It’s a city which hosts a range of great shops, trendy restaurants and quaint cafes – as well as gorgeous views, family-friendly activities and a whole load of history.
With a bright blue sky and the sun blazing down on us, we started our exploration of the city at the River Dee. Heaving with families, friends and even some classic motorbike enthusiasts, the river is arguably a great place to spend a few hours. As we walked along the river, the amazing smell from Hickory’s restaurant tempted us all – but we resisted as my Dad was pretty quick to point out we had our own BBQ waiting for us back home. Men and their BBQ’s!
Along the river there was so many things going on. Boat tours were passing up and down with passengers waving to those on land. Children were running around, playing with their toys whilst parents queued up for Cheshire dairy farm ice cream. And then there was us – strolling along, taking in the views and nattering, wondering where our feet would take us next.
After passing so many dream houses, we reached the peak of the pedestrian passage near the water sport hut. With signs pointing in different directions, we decided to continue uphill where we found Grosvenor Park.
I was so surprised at discovering Grosvenor Park. After visiting Chester for over twenty years, I felt pretty ashamed – yet surprised – at our discovery. I knew Chester had some stunning places, but when the majority of trips to the city have been mainly for shopping purposes, unfortunately it’s all too easy to cast a ‘blind-eye’ at the sites around you.
Grosvenor Park was a heaven of greenery with beautiful trees and flowers, soaking up the gorgeous sunshine. Aside from the flowers, breathtaking views overlooking the rural parts of the city were something else entirely. I almost forgot I was in a city.
After a little stroll through the park, we stumbled across St John’s Ruins. Now when I say ‘ruins’, I really mean it. There were boulders of stone and arches surrounding the site which was formerly a chapel – along with a coffin dating back to the fourteenth century up high in the wall. Spooky stuff, I know.
But that’s one thing about Chester which I love – the history. It makes it unlike any other city and you can’t help but spot the little touches of history throughout the streets, up along the bridges and even where the shops lie.
Next we headed towards the Roman Amphitheatre. I know, it sounds a little strange writing that there’s an amphitheatre so nearby my home! The amphitheatre was a really interesting site to see, but unfortunately my tourist/blogger hat wasn’t on and I forgot to take a picture. I’m not going to say it’s like Rome – as I was expecting… but it’s quite cool to see. There’s a model which shows what it would have looked like, which helps to put it into perspective and bring it to life, which I thought was a pretty good touch.
We made our way up onto the City Walls which made me feel like I was a real-life explorer – mature, I know. But as we were walking along the City Walls, we passed the Roman Garden which looked really charming. It was quite odd to see on one side of the bridge a Roman garden, and on the other side Tudor houses – a pretty quirky and unique touch.
After a pleasant walk along the walls, we were all in the mood for ice cream. We spotted a cafe hidden in the walls as we walked along – suitably called Cafe at the Walls! There we treated ourselves to some really tasty ice cream. I can’t for the life of me remember the flavours, but if you’re stopping by Chester I would definitely recommend a visit. As we were walking back through the city we were all in silence – presumably because we were enjoying the ice cream too much to talk!
We ended our day trip to Chester with an alfresco coffee break at Cafe Rouge. It only felt right to finish the day of exploring by basking in the sunshine, dreaming of the huge feast we would have once we got home… And oh my, what a BBQ it was!