Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – England chapter Manchester, Liverpool and Northwest England has to say about Chester’s Rows:
Besides the City Walls, Chester’s other great draw is the Rows, a series of two-level galleried arcades along the four streets that fan out in each direction from the Central Cross. The architecture is a handsome mix of Victorian and Tudor (original and mock) buildings that house a fantastic collection of individually owned shops.
Just inside Southgate, known here as Bridgegate (as it’s located at the northern end of the Old Dee Bridge), is the Bear & Billet pub, Chester’s oldest timber-framed building, built in 1664, and once a toll gate into the city.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
I first heard of Chester while listening to a podcast of a Rick Steves’ radio programme. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about him:
“Rick Steves is an American travel writer, author, activist and television personality. Since 2000, he has hosted Rick Steves' Europe, a travel series on PBS. Steves also has a public radio travel show called Travel with Rick Steves and has authored numerous travel guides.”
Over the past several years, I learned to listen to his podcasts before we set off to see a new European destination. I picked up quite a few good suggestions on how to get off the beaten track, instead of just following the tried a true routes. The first great tip I learned from him was to explore the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece instead of rushing to see the islands.
I came across one of his programs where he invited two English tour guides to suggest a few cities in England that most tourists overlook. The first guide mentioned Plymouth right away, and the second suggested Chester. Of course I’d heard of Plymouth before because of its connection to the Mayflower and America’s Founding Fathers, but I’d never heard of Chester and had no idea where it was.
When the tour guides talked about Chester being a walled city I was already intrigued, and then they talked about The Rows I was bound and determined to add it to my list of must-see destinations. The fact that it is situated near Liverpool only added to its appeal.
As you will have seen from the entries in the installment of my travel journals, we added both Plymouth and Chester to our plans to visit southwest England during this current venture into Britain.
After touring around Devon and Cornwall we took a train from Plymouth to Chester despite the fact that the weather forecast in the Liverpool/Chester area looked rather bleak. We planned to explore northern Wales after a few days in Chester and a day trip to Liverpool. However, before leaving Plymouth we felt we had to make a decision as to when to leave England, and with the weather in Wales predicted to be wet, we booked our flights to Bulgaria and decided to see Wales another time.
Our first morning in Chester was overcast and cool, but after two hours in the Chester Cathedral, we stepped out into sunshine. For the rest of our stay in the region, we had plenty of sun and no rain at all. Kapoor luck strikes again. Wales remained under cloudy skies and had scattered showers here and there, so we felt we’d made the right decision.
Our visit to The Rows in Chester was as interesting and unique as we’d hoped it would be. Overall, Chester is a delightful city – probably one of the best-kept secrets in all of England.