Day trip to CHESTER, UK & 12 months of Marriage!

If you follow me on any of my social media profiles you will have noticed that this past week I have been talking about how it is 12 months since we travelled over to New York to get married (NYC post). So despite desperately missing NYC we decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary by taking a day trip over to the historic city of Chester.

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Bear with me, bit of sentimentality first, skip past the NYC photos for the main CHESTER action!

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To begin, As I said it is 12 months since that amazing day in New York and, Ok, I will admit it I am a little weird when it comes to things like this, as much as I am happy I get sad at the same time too, I am the same at birthdays and Christmas too. I think it stems from the fact that that day was just everything I ever dreamt our wedding day would be and more, and that it has happened and is over is kind of sad! What makes it special is that it is a one off, it’s supposed to be the best day of your life, but I guess I am someone who always wants to one up myself, I mean, after getting married in New York I was determined the honeymoon would be in Tokyo! I think being stuck in the UK on landmark days just makes me feel a little unsatisfied but I know that in years to come we WILL be travelling on our birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas’, but for now I am concentrating on my MA and saving for said travelling.

New york, times square, wedding, nyc, travel, travel blog, adventure, exploration, marriage, anniversary, love, america, usa, dress, suit, times square, grand central, 1920's

The last 12 months however have been, on reflection, a whirlwind of adventure, hard work and realisations. Since the 13th June 2013 we had another 6 days left in NYC, took a day trip to WASHINGTON DC, had a honeymoon in TOKYO, Travelled to beautiful BUDAPEST, Visited Ireland for the first time with our recent trip to DUBLIN and conquered mountains, multi-pitch climbs and needle ridges doing both THE THREE PEAKS and our adventures in SNOWDONIA, WALES, not to mention countless other adventures both climbing and urban exploring. All this whilst still studying for my Masters part time and working too.

Along the way came the realisation that we in fact want to travel for much longer and our outlook on work, the 9-5 and mortgages has changed dramatically, deciding that once shorty finishes his college course and we have saved enough money we will be quitting our jobs to travel indefinitely, searching out our own path and trying to make a career out of blogging, publications and freelance work as well as volunteering and finding out what is out there along the way. I feel I have picked up much more direction in the past 12 months and a lot of that is down to the fact that shorty always offers me an alternative view point when I get myself stuck in a rut, together we work well as a team in overcoming the challenges we each face and can’t wait to travel the world together!

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So, On to our day in CHESTER! We have spoken about heading over year for a whilst now since our trip over to YORK a few years ago, and you know we are suckers for history and culture so being only an hour and a half out of Manchester we though it would make a nice change of pace for the day. Chester is also somewhere we have never been before, so although it is still in the UK, which is always a little bit rubbish, it is still someone new, and that is always exciting!

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The city seen from the walls!
 

City Walls

Chester is a small city and can be walked around at a leisurely pace which makes a change to dashing around the bright lights of Tokyo or New York! The City Walls are around 2 miles long and allow you to see the different features and layers of this roman fortress city. They are in fact the most complete the most complete Roman and medieval defensive town wall system in Britain. Building of the original construction started in around 70-80 AD with mounds of earth, the sandstone structure was then began around 100AD and took 100 years to build…which makes it pretty old! This history of the walls tells the history of the city, being started by the Romans the fortress of Deva Victrix, being improved to protect the city during the Norman conquest and being completed during the Medieval period of the 12th century, only to be then further improved during the English civil war of the 17th century. There are numerous towers and features dotted along the track too and they give you a great vantage point on which to see the city.

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roman, medieval, Chester, Cheshire, uk, travel, travel blog, history, grade 1 listed, cathedral, walls, rows, beautiful, England, English, old, city, city walls, games of thrones, kings, historical, river dee, norman, conquest, invasion,

The Rows

One of the cool features of Chester and one of it’s most famous sights are “The Rows”. They are I guess Chester’s version of something like “The Shambles” and date back to the Medieval period of the city’s history. They are in fact quite unique and nothing like this really still exists elsewhere in the world, made up of four main streets of shops they were constructed upon the rubble of the old Roman town. The have stone undercrofts and wooden upper structures and barring some small modern blockages, the “Rows” themselves can be walked through continuously on the middle level, creating a covered walkway which I imagine would be particularly useful on a rainy day! They are quite striking to look at too and if you look a little closer they have some really interesting features and writing, I also like the fact the signs for the shops within are done is a style sympathetic to the buildings.

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I always expected people in Chester to be posh and speak like my family from Marple in Cheshire (Proper posh like!), but instead they all sound like scousers, which is a little odd given the surroundings but I guess it is quite close! But hey ho.

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Chester Cathedral

Being an English city in the proper sense Chester has a massive Cathedral right in the middle, and an impressive building it is too. We both noted how funny it is that we both hate religion and yet when we travel we always seen to visit at least one holy building! For me it is always the history and architecture I love, most cities histories are entwined with religion like it or not and so these places become a monument to their changing political landscape over the years. Chester Cathedral is also a grade 1 listed building and like many churches contains sections built over a lengthy period of time, the building itself dates from between 1093 and the early 16th century but the site has been used for worship since the roman settlement. The cathedral itself is free to enter and is great to wander around with many hallways and the garden too. You can pay for the “Cathedral at height” experience but it seemed a little steep for us so we gave that a miss.

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roman, medieval, Chester, Cheshire, uk, travel, travel blog, history, grade 1 listed, cathedral, walls, rows, beautiful, England, English, old, city, city walls, games of thrones, kings, historical, river dee, norman, conquest, invasion,

roman, medieval, Chester, Cheshire, uk, travel, travel blog, history, grade 1 listed, cathedral, walls, rows, beautiful, England, English, old, city, city walls, games of thrones, kings, historical, river dee, norman, conquest, invasion,

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Roman Amphitheatre

After this we took a walk down the River Dee, passing through the Roman Amphitheater and gardens on this way which were interesting little sites. It is impressive to imagine what this area would have looked like a few thousand years ago though and is again a grade 1 listed structure and is also the largest amphitheater uncovered in Britain to date, it is thought to have been built in around 274 AD replacing other earlier wooden structures on the site.

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River Dee

Along the River Dee is really a lovely walk and actually for once something quite relaxing for us two, the weather was really heating up at this point so it was nice to get down from the walls to the cooler riverside and sit back and watch the world go by. At the moment with uni work and all the other things we try and cram in it feels like we never get chance to just sit back and chill out, Chester is a city with a really laid back feel and one in which you can really take your time and wander round. We also bumped into a woman with a pug too and ended up talking for ages and playing with the little cutie! We always seem to see a pug wherever we go!

Chester, Cheshire, uk, travel, travel blog, history, grade 1 listed, cathedral, walls, rows, beautiful, England, English, old, city, city walls, games of thrones, kings, historical, river dee

Chester, Cheshire, uk, travel, travel blog, history, grade 1 listed, cathedral, walls, rows, beautiful, England, English, old, city, city walls, games of thrones, kings, historical, river dee

Cheshire Military museum

Not far from here is the Cheshire Military museum and as it was so hot outside we heading in here for a look around. The entrance price is pretty cheap too and the people who work there are clearly very passionate about the place and take good care of it. I am always fascinated by war museums and always take particular interest to WW1 artifacts (my great grand uncle died at Passendale), as well as having an interest in WW2 as well as the Suez conflict and Korean war (Both my grandads fought in these campaigns). It is not a massive place but it is packed full of interesting artifacts and stories and is worth popping in on your way around the city.

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After that we had something to eat over at a pub near the amphitheater and sat outside in the sun, we didn’t really have enough money for a slap up meal but given the choice I’d rather spend the day exploring a new city and have a pub lunch than just go for a meal! It was a nice little place though and they did a great veggie club sandwich full of mushrooms and other delights which makes a change to cheese and onion pie being the only suitable thing on the menu!!

St. John The Baptist’s Church

To finish up the day we had a wander around the nearby park and also headed over and had a look at St. John The Baptist’s Church and the ruins of the old former chapels. Again this building is grade 1 listed, starting in 689 the building has been through many changes in both structure and political surroundings enjoying both hosting kings as well as falling into ruin and sustaining major collapses over the years before taking it’s current form in 1886 the church is a patchwork of Chester’s history.

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Chester, Cheshire, uk, travel, travel blog, history, grade 1 listed, cathedral, walls, rows, beautiful, England, English, old, city, city walls, games of thrones, kings, historical, river dee

Chester, Cheshire, uk, travel, travel blog, history, grade 1 listed, cathedral, walls, rows, beautiful, England, English, old, city, city walls, games of thrones, kings, historical, river dee

Hope you enjoyed our little ramble through Chester. Have any of you been?

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Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.