Manchester and Day Trips Out


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by John Moss
unless otherwise credited

Chester – A Day Trip Out from Manchester

The Historic City of Chester

Situated about 40 miles west and slightly south of Manchester, and
reached by the M56 Motorway directly, Chester makes a pleasant and
rewarding day trip out of Manchester.
When Daniel Defoe, author of “Robinson
visited Chester, he described it as
“a city well worth describing”
, and when James Boswell, another
great writer, came to the city in the 18th century he said “I was
so delighted that I found it difficult to quit” . Chester has much
to offer by way of attractions for the tourist.
This 2000 year old city, with its encircling walls, is a good base
from which to tour the Wirral Peninsular and North Wales.
As the county town of Cheshire, it is often regarded as Britain’s
most outstanding “black and white” city, on account of the large number
of half-timbered medieval buildings which survive in its centre. Of
these, perhaps its unique 13th century “Rows”, half-timbered galleried
shops on two levels, are the most distinctive examples.
The city is also home to the largest Roman Amphitheatre in Britain,
the proud Victorian Eastgate Clock set on the city walls, and a magnificent
cathedral dedicated to St Werburgh, with a 900 year old history.
It was in Chester Cathedral that the first ever performance was made
of Handel’s “Messiah”. Copies
of Handel’s original manuscript are on view in the cathedral. Also
available are cathedral tours and a restaurant which serves lunches
and light refreshments.

Chester City Wall and ClockChesters 13th century RowsThe City of ChesterThe City Walls at Chester
Left to Right: the distinctive ornate clock
on the city walls; Chester’s 13th Century Rows; shoppers; the city

On certain days the city’s Town Crier
can be heard shouting “Oyez! Oyez!” around
its neat clean streets. Chester was originally settled by the Romans
as the fortress called Deva, named after the River Dee on which the
city stands, and eventually it was to become one of Britain’s largest
garrison for Roman soldiers.
After the Romans abandoned Britain in the 5th century AD, and Chester,
like most of Britain, fell prey to marauding Viking invaders. By the
10th century, Aethelflaeda, a daughter of King Alfred the Great, had
moved to Chester, driven out the Norsemen, and strengthened and extended
the city walls.
After 1066, William the Conqueror appointed his cruel nephew, Hugh the
Wolf, (Hugh Lupus) as the first Earl of Chester, a title still held
by the monarch’s son, Prince Charles, to this day. Hugh immediately
set about building Chester Castle to secure his title against a largely
unsympathetic and subdued populace.
Chester and the surrounding County of Cheshire, along with Yorkshire,
suffered the savage “harrying of the north” where one tenth
of the population were slaughtered, villages, townships and fields set
to the torch or razed to the ground in retaliation for Saxon resistance
to the new Norman occupying force. In the 1086 Domesday Survey, Cheshire
is descibed as “wasta”, that is, simply, “wasteland”
with little or no livestock, grain, property or produce worth noting
for taxation or census purposes; the Normans were nothing if not thorough!

Chester in the Civil Wars

During the English Civil War, Chester remained
staunchly Royalist against Cromwell’s Parliamentarian forces, and
it was from the city walls that King Charles I watched as his soldiers
were defeated at nearby Rowton Moor – this was followed by a 2 year
siege after which the city starved into submission and surrendered
to the Roundheads. For the tourist, the City Walls offer a leisurely
2 mile walk, as they are intact and entirely open to the public, presenting
spectacular elevated views of the city and surrounding countryside.

Cheaster Cathedral
Chester Cathedral. Aerial photograoh courtesy of Webb Aviation © 2008 all rights reserved.

The Deva Experience

The “Deva Experience” is an audio-visual
multimedia exhibition which gives a vivid introduction to Chester’s
Roman origins. Also worth visiting is the Broadcasting Museum with its
“On The Air” exhibitions, chronicling the development of British radio
and television broadcasting, from its early pioneers to the present

Chester Visitor’s Centre

Town Hall, Northgate Street, Chester,
Cheshire. Tel: 0845 647 7868. Website:
The Chester Visitor’s Centre was Britain’s first Tourist Information
Centre, and still functions as such, while displays and exhibitions
relating to Chester can be viewed at the Heritage Centre, the award-winning
Grosvenor Museum. Chester Toy and Doll Museum is also highly recommended.
Chester offers superb shopping facilities, and is hailed as one of the
UK’s premier shopping centres. A Shopping Guide to the City is available
from the Tourist Information Centre.

See Also:

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© John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom – all rights reserved.
This page last updated 16 Nov 12.