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2017 RACING FIXTURES M AY Boodles May Festival Chester Cup Day Ladies Day City Day

Wednesday 10 Thursday 11 Friday 12

Roman Day

Saturday 27

JUNE Summer Saturday

Saturday 10

Ladies Evening

Friday 30

J U LY Summer Festival

Saturday 1

City Plate Day

Saturday 15

Midsummer Meeting

Saturday 29

AUGUST Family Funday

Sunday 6

Ladies Day

Saturday 26

SEPTEMBER Chester Stakes Day

Saturday 2

Autumn Festival

Friday 15 Saturday 16

Season Finale

Saturday 30

POLO FIXTURES Friday 2 & Saturday 3 June Friday 8 & Saturday 9 September

Tickets and badges are available from £10. Hospitality packages available from £57.50 +VAT. 01244 304 600 I

Kids Go Free! Children aged 17 and under are eligible to attend all racedays at Chester completely FREE of charge.


With 15 days of racing, 4 days of polo and 365 days of dining, there’s always something happening on the Roodee. The Racecourse, Chester, CH1 2LY I 01244 304 600 Chester Racecourse I Chester Polo 1539 Restaurant, Bar & Roof Lounge I The White Horse Gastro Pub


CONTENTS WELCOME .................................................................09 Welcome to Cheshire – a region like no other!


HISTORY AND HERITAGE ..................................10 If you’re interested in the past, there’s plenty to occupy you here. Published by Kingfisher Media Ltd PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This publication, its title and content, is wholly owned by and the copyright of Kingfisher Media Ltd. It is entirely independent and does not endorse, and is not supported or endorsed by, any official or private body or organisation. Reproduction in whole or in part by any means without written permission from the publisher is strictly forbidden. The publisher accepts no responsibility for errors, omissions or the consequences thereof. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for the views expressed by contributors, or for the accuracy of claims made by advertisements appearing in this publication. KVGWTC-88-0417-BB

DAYS OUT................................................................... 12 Whatever the time of year, and whatever the weather, there’s always plenty to do here.

10 THINGS YOU MUST DO ................................30 There are loads of things to do here – but make sure you don’t miss these.

EATING OUT............................................................. 32 Top-end fine dining, adventurous independents and a great range of ethnic cuisine means you’ll never go hungry here.

48 HOURS IN CHESHIRE ................................... 38 EMS 531994

You can pack a lot into a couple of days – try this itinerary to make the most of it.

Printed by Bell and Bain Ltd –


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High street chains, one-off independents and quirky specialists – they’re all waiting for the shopaholic.










Joseph Benjamin Restaurant

One of Chester’s most popular independent restaurants, Joseph Benjamin is run by two brothers and made its name providing exceptional quality food and impeccable service in an unfussy, unpretentious style. Winner of many local and national awards (including a coveted Michelin ‘Bib Gourmand’, one of only a handful in the North), their regularly-changing menus and inspirational wine list make this a must-visit in the city. Perfect for a lunchtime salad or sandwich pit stop as well as the full three-course experience, Joseph Benjamin is an inspiring take on the local neighbourhood bistro and perfect for any occasion.

PORTA tapas bar

Owners Joe and Ben Wright, responsible for the spectacular Joseph Benjamin Restaurant next door, opened this authentic tapas bar in 2012, creating a relaxing dining and drinking experience akin to the tapas bars of Barcelona. Informal seating and a no-bookings policy reinforce the buzzy, festival atmosphere, easily making it one of the most relaxing nights out in Chester. Classic tapas dishes are faultlessly represented including fine Jamon, tomato bread, padron peppers, croquetas and patatas bravas – all simple but delicious and incredibly moreish. No tapas bar is complete without superb sherries and wines; Porta keeps things simple with a regularly-changing chalk board of stunning Spanish examples. 140 Northgate Street | Chester | CH1 2HT (next to Joseph Benjamin Restaurant)

Open from 5pm every night (last food orders 10.30pm) No bookings

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138 Northgate Street, Chester, Cheshire CH1 2HT T. 01244 344 295



ARTS AND CULTURE............................................ 54 There’s a rich cultural history on offer in Cheshire.

10 REASONS TO LOVE THIS REGION..........64 There are dozens of reasons to love it here – check out a few of our favourites.

NIGHTLIFE.................................................................. 66 Whether it’s trendy clubs or old-fashioned pubs, you’ll have lots of fun here – with a bit of star-spotting thrown in.


SPORT.......................................................................... 70 Whether you want to watch or take part, there’s always plenty on offer here.

GETTING HERE AND AROUND....................... 72 Getting to and around this region couldn’t be easier.


FURTHER AFIELD.................................................. 78 If you have some time to spare, why not head slightly further afield and see what lies on Cheshire’s doorstep?

BUSINESS...................................................................80 Cheshire – and Chester in particular – has a long and fascinating business heritage.

PROPERTY................................................................. 84



People come to Cheshire for many reasons – and stay for a lot more!



If the worst happens, I know that Dogs Trust will care for him.

When I’m not here to love him, I know that Dogs Trust will be. Now I’ve got my free Canine Care Card, I have complete peace of mind. It guarantees that Dogs Trust will love and look after my dog if I pass away first. Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity with 20 rehoming centres nationwide and they never put down a healthy dog.

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Call: 020 7837 0006 or email:

Please quote “113124”

This service is currently only available for residents of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands & the Isle of Man. Reg Charity Nos: 227523 & SC037843


WELCOME! from Katrina Michel, Chief Executive, Marketing Cheshire


outlet village – a must for shopaholics. Further afield you can enjoy villages with designer boutiques such as Tarporley and Alderley Edge, small towns with foodie markets and festivals such as Nantwich and Macclesfield, and marinas where you can hire a boat and really enjoy the countryside nice and slowly. Cheshire is famous for its gardens, and Tatton and Arley Hall are just two of the many to be enjoyed. And if you enjoy something more challenging, get the wind in your hair in the Cheshire Peak District – don’t forget to stop off for a pint at the Bollington Brewery. When you are done with exploring, relax with a game of golf at one of our many excellent golf courses or golf resorts, or wind down in one of our gorgeous spas. Have a great unwind in Cheshire and don’t forget to give us your feedback via Twitter @MktgCheshire. q


hank you for choosing to visit Cheshire where traditional English country life happily exists alongside chic shopping and Michelinstarred restaurants. I hope you will have a chance to take a good look around Chester, acknowledged as one of the prettiest cities in Europe. It is completely unique with its black and white timbered buildings, a walkable Roman wall that encircles the town, the famous “Rows”, England’s oldest racecourse, an impressive Cathedral that is free to everyone and a beautiful river frontage much loved by rowers. Chester is also a vibrant place to shop and has many lovely places to eat or just enjoy a glass of wine in the sunshine. Just outside Chester you will find Chester Zoo, one of Europe’s finest, and home to many endangered species, and Cheshire Oaks, the UK’s largest designer



HISTORY ALL AROUND! If you’re interested in the past, there’s plenty to occupy you here

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hen it comes to UK cities, few have such a rich history as Chester. Founded originally as a fort named Deva by the Romans in around 75 AD, the city was the scene of battles between warring Welsh and Saxon kingdoms throughout the post-Roman years until the Saxons strengthened the fort against raiding Danes. Roman Chester was also the time when the city’s future foundations were laid by craftsmen, including bakers, butchers, carpenters and blacksmiths. Roman Chester was also a busy little port and luxuries such as wine and finely made pottery were imported. The 7000-seat amphitheatre, which still remains the largest in the country, entertained locals who came to watch gladiators, cock fighting and bear baiting. However in the 4th century Roman civilisation began to break down, and people began to drift away from towns like Chester, leaving them in many cases, totally abandoned. It is still unclear what exactly happened to Chester when the Romans left, but soon after, England and Wales split into rival kingdoms. By the 7th century, the city was

invaded by the Saxons who gave Chester its name. Streets were laid out in the 10th century, and people were encouraged to come and live in the city. Soon, Chester was a flourishing place boasting a mint and a weekly marketplace, and a population of 2000. Over the years, many of its most famous landmarks were built, including the weir across the River Dee, the Kaleyard Gate, and the Water Tower. In 1541 Chester Abbey became Chester Cathedral and population steadily grew. Chester was known for its leather industry and there was still was also still a wool industry and a thriving wine port. To this day, Chester Racecourse is Britain’s oldest sporting venue in continual use. The first race at the Roodee took place in 1539, replacing the famously bloody Shrove Tuesday football game, and the Roodee has been synonymous with the city ever since. During the Napoleonic Wars from 1793-1815, the Chester shipbuilding industry boomed as did lead working, and the surviving shot tower was built in 1800. But Chester was not

transformed by the industrial revolution in the way other northern towns were, remaining a genteel place popular with well-to-do tourists. In 1866 the affluent Grosvenor Hotel was built. More growth was to come, with the building of the Grosvenor Bridge in 1833 and the central railway station shortly afterwards. Life in Victorian Chester gradually improved with the Grosvenor Park which was laid out in 1867 and a new Town Hall, followed by the first free public library, the Grosvenor Museum and the Eastgate Clock. In the 1920s and 30s, houses that still remain today were built to replace the recently-demolished disease-ridden slums known as ‘the dens of iniquity’. 1931 saw the arrival of Chester Zoo, opened by George Mottershead who dreamed of building the world’s first zoo without bars. Over the next years, the Grosvenor Shopping Centre was built along with St Martin’s Gate and an inner ring road in 1972 transformed the city to how we can recognise it today. ❑



LET’S GO THERE! Whatever the time of year, and whatever the weather, there’s always plenty to do here

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t is one of the top zoos in the world and a leader in conservation of rare and endangered species. So visitors should set aside a whole day to visit Chester Zoo’s more than 20,000 animals from 500 different species, set in 125 acres of parkland, including black rhinos, giraffes, elephants, lions, tigers, reptiles, birds and bats. Daily talks by keepers, animals being fed, and children’s faces painted as lions or tigers

are just some of the things you can expect. A monorail ride gives visitors an aerial view that can help them plan a tour or just catch sight of animals they haven’t managed to see. And it’s definitely worth a visit to the Zoo’s recently-opened £40m exotic Islands project, a recreation of the islands of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi. Attractions include the Monsoon Forest and the Lazy River Boat Trip which allows

you to get a different view of each individual island, and even sample cuisine from each island. The sandy beaches make you feel a million miles away from Chester, and truly like you’re in another world. In the heart of the city is Chester Cathedral where highlights include the popular visitor attraction “Cathedral at Heights”, allowing a behind-the-scenes view of the magnificent building, including a 216 steps climb to the top of the bell tower (at 125 feet the >> p16





Discover the secret world of nuclear government. For over 50 years this vast underground complex remained secret, hidden on the outskirts of a sleepy Cheshire town. Declassified in 1993, the 35,000 sq ft underground bunker would have been the centre of Regional Government had nuclear war broken out. It was built in the 1950s as part of a secret radar network code-named ‘ROTOR’. The bunker today offers a warm welcome to anyone looking for a different day out. Tons of authentic equipment in original settings fire the imagination, with an exciting glimpse into England’s dramatic Cold War past.

*EXPIRES 31/03/2018

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Website: Telephone: 01270 629219 Sat nav post code: CW5 8AL

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Cheshire Falconry, Blakemere Village, Chester Rd, Sandiway, Northwich, CW8 2EB.



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T: 01606 888090


highest accessible point in the city). Visitors are able to get up close to marvellous stained glass, peer down on 14th-century quire stalls and Victorian organ, amble along galleries, and take in a panoramic view of the city and five counties from the roof. And the Cathedral’s bespoke Falconry Centre and Nature Reserve has also proven a popular attraction with families. Nowhere else will you be able to see some of the most spectacular birds of prey up close, right in the middle of Chester City Centre. As well as daily flying displays, you can also use the large green space to enjoy a picnic and for the children to run around and play whilst exploring natural habitats. You’ll also find magnificent birds of prey at the falconry centre at Blakemere Craft Centre in Northwich. Here, at Cheshire Outdoors, get to fly all kinds of birds including hawks, owls and eagles for a unique experience you’ll never forget. But that’s not all you can get here. At the same place you can try your hand at some amazing activities all the family are sure to enjoy. Whether it’s archery, segway,


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Visitors should set aside a whole day to visit Chester Zoo’s more than 20,000 animals from 500 different species, set in 125 acres of parkland laser clay shooting or crazy golf that you prefer – this is the place to get out into the fresh air and have a go at something fun and exciting. There is guaranteed to be something that suits everyone here. Over in Warrington, it’s well worth a visit to the stunning Walton Hall and Gardens. Wander through the impressive specimen trees and shrubs which feature an extensive display of rhododendron and azaleas in early summer. It also boasts ornamental ponds, resplendent rose gardens, herbaceous borders and a children’s zoo where you can watch the animals being fed. Sweet tooth? For something

different, pay a visit to The Old Fire Station Chocolate Shop in Tarporley. This venue has been featured on dozens of TV shows and it’s not hard to see why. Treat yourself to some of the shop’s tasty offerings, which range from traditional confectionery, hand-made truffles and delicious fudge, to name but a few. Cheshire is a county of canals and there are two key tourist attractions to delight lovers of waterways. The National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port celebrates its 40th year in 2017 and has been a firm favourite to the public for decades. Boasting a unique fleet of historic boats and displays, it tells the fascinating story of Britain’s >> p23




x Pick & mi activities!


ay as you s, ll of a Segw ri th e e. Air Rifle th y Enjo dland Glid o o r u W r yo u o st soon te experience w Tag will o p rr u A g d in n tt a e Archery mention g ill. Did we ent birds aim and sk ith magnific w n o sd n a h close and more! nd there’s of prey? A ture with ies & adven Fun activit air...Get Outdoors! lot’s of fresh

combat AirSoft

cycle hire

& more! T:01606 882223

25min from Chester

Cheshire Cutdoors, Blakemere Village, Chester Road Sandiway, Northwich, Cheshire CW8 2EB

Visit Bramall Hall One ofOne England’s most striking black and of England’s most striking black and white timber framedframed manormanor houseshouses set in 70 white timber set in 70 acres of beautiful parkland. acres of beautiful parkland. This magnificent has witnessed This magnificent house house has witnessed seven seven centuries of colourful from medieval centuries of colourful history history from medieval beginnings to present beginnings to present day. day. Reopened 2016 following Reopened in 2016infollowing £2.2 £2.2 restoration million million restoration of nationally important UniqueUnique suite ofsuite nationally important Tudor wall paintings Tudor wall paintings Newcentre, visitor centre, gift shop New visitor gift shop and café stylish café and stylish

GuidedGuided tours tours Family Family trails trails For more information For more information Stockport, SK7 3NX Stockport, SK7 3NX

/bramallhall SMBC_Museums /bramallhall SMBC_Museums



STOKE-ON-TRENT Recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics, Stoke-on-Trent is home to a host of award-winning ceramic attractions, museums, and factory shops as well as outstanding family attractions and beautiful gardens. Stoke-on-Trent is in great proximity to Cheshire with excellent road and rail links. For information about great places to visit, things to see and do, fantastic events and accommodation in the area... Call 01782 236000 Email or go to




ocated just 40 minutes by train from Manchester Picadilly and conveniently positioned by Junction 15 of the M6, Stoke-onTrent is a unique city affectionately known as The Potteries. With its rich industrial heritage it has respectfully claimed the title of World Capital of Ceramics. The city boasts many visitor centres, award winning museums, authentic factory tours, over 20 pottery shops and the exclusive Staffordshire Hoard. The World of Wedgwood is a brand new visitor experience in Stoke-on-Trent. This latest City landmark is the fruition of a £34 million development programme at Wedgwood’s headquarters in Barlaston. The all-new state-ofthe-art visitor experience features an interactive hands-on factory tour, and the chance to spend time in the Wedgwood Museum, buy fine china and ceramics in the flagship store, and dine in the elegant Wedgwood Tearoom or Restaurant. World-famous backstamps such as Wedgwood, Moorcroft, Spode and Portmeirion, along with world-class designers, are the obvious reasons why almost everyone in the world will have already heard of Stoke-on-Trent. But even if the behind-the-scenes factory visits, and the opportunity to purchase some of the nation’s finest pottery and bone china remain a key reason for wanting to “make it” to The Potteries in the first place, it is still worthwhile delving a little deeper to discover what else there is on offer. The history and heritage of the area, of course, is well preserved at numerous locations across the

city including at Middleport Pottery, which opened in July 2014 following a £9 million restoration by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust; and the awardwinning Gladstone Pottery Museum, the most complete Victorian pottery factory in the UK, boasting interactive exhibitions and a “Flushed with Pride” tribute to toilets past, present and future! For the complete pottery experience follow the Ceramics Trail and discover, learn, try and buy! Enjoy a great day out at the Trentham Estate for shopping and eating out, peace and quiet, fun and action! Visit the award-winning Trentham Gardens, which have matured into some of the finest gardens in Britain. Indulge yourself in some retail therapy at the Trentham Shopping Village with shops, cafés, restaurants and the vast Trentham Garden Centre. Walk with 140 Barbary macaques at the Trentham Monkey Forest or take a high rope adventure at Aerial Extreme. The Trentham Estate has a great events programme throughout the year to suit everyone – from nature lovers, to the

green fingered and active kids to music lovers – all set in a truly stunning setting. Elsewhere – in a Cultural Quarter which also boasts The Regent Theatre and The Victoria Hall – The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is famous for housing the finest collection of Staffordshire ceramics in the world. These days, however, it is also ‘home’ to the Staffordshire Hoard – the largest ever ‘find’ of Anglo-Saxon gold treasure in the UK – valued by the British Museum at £3.285-million. Not only does Stoke-on-Trent have a proud industrial history but also a sporting one. Stokeon-Trent is home to two professional football clubs – Premier League’s Stoke City and League 1’s Port Vale. Come and experience the thrill and excitement of a match day at first hand at the Bet365 Stadium or Vale Park and see some of the biggest names in the world of football. For further details, log on to and


In the footsteps of the Leg XX.v.v.

Running 10 miles through the spectacular Dee Valley to CORWEN


Country walks from stations Facilities for disabled Tearooms & shops Picnic areas Picturesque views all the way along the line

Experience Chester with a Roman soldier An award winning experience for people who like something fresh, interesting, factual and fun.

City tours daily, all year, 12pm & 3pm Visitor Information Centre.

Telephone: 01978 860 979 Email:

Suitable for all ages, private and group bookings accepted.

For further information and bookings

Tel 01978 761264

Home of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest shop ice crInedualgm e. Enjoy. Play.

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Mob: 07885 403485

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Hawarden Estate Farm Shop is an award-winning farm shop and cafe serving locally produced food and set in 20 acres of farmed land in Flintshire. It has an expert butchery, where provenance is key for its locally reared meat. With a play fort and large play area, pick your own fruit and nature trail, there is plenty for all the family. Chester Road, Hawarden, Flintshire CH5 3FB 01244 533442   @hawardenestatefarmshop  @hawardenestate

The Glynne Arms is a 200 year old traditional coaching inn which is listed in the Michelin’s Eating Out in Pubs Guide for the third year running. Its philosophy is simple; to provide a warm, relaxed pub environment and excellent, locally sourced food in the restaurant. Visitors receive a warm welcome at all times, whether for a quick drink, a morning coffee or a meal… and dogs are positively encouraged. 3 Glynne Way, Hawarden, Flintshire CH5 3NS 01244 569988   @TheGlynneArms  @TheGlynneArmsHawarden

WHERE HISTORY COMES ALIVE FORTHCOMING EVENTS Student Textile Exhibition 1 April to 4 May Easter Boat Gathering 14 to 17 April Water, Locks & Linocuts Art Exhibition by Eric Gaskill 12 May to 9 July Stilling the Flow Art Exhibition by Jim Cooke 2 June to 2 July Bicycles and Boats 9 July Changing Places, Film & Video Umbrella Exhibition of moving images work 11 August to 17 September Horses at Work and at War 13 August Santa Cruises â&#x20AC;&#x201C; weekends in December

Please visit the website for museum opening times, prices and for more on our boat trips and events. SOUTH PIER ROAD, ELLESMERE PORT, CHESHIRE CH65 4FW

T: 0151 355 5017


canals and waterways over the years. The Anderton Boat Lift at Northwich was called one of the Seven Wonders of the Mechanical World when it opened in 1875. Re-opened after a public campaign in 2002, it lifts boats 50 feet between the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal using two huge counter-balanced water filled containers (caissons) – as one is raised to the canal the other is lowered to the Weaver. Visitors can take a 30-minute boat trip through the lift and surrounding waterways. Nearby, and part of a new industrial heritage trail, is the Lion Salt Works visitor attraction. Having recently undergone an £8m restoration, it tells the story of salt – going back 2,000 years. The Crocky Trail is a one-mile long outdoor adventure trail offering a series of activities with mazes, swings, slides, bridges and tunnels along the way, although there is always a way around the more challenging obstacles. This is a mud and fun day in fields at Waverton on the outskirts of Chester – it’s for adventurous families and children and definitely not a sanitised theme park softened by health and safety regulations. Budding scientists should pay a visit to the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes


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– an interactive centre that aims to make science exciting and accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Here you can find out how the products of chemistry are used in everyday life – from medicines to Meccano, and learn about the ‘chemistry’ industry and its role in our lives, past, present and future. You don’t need to leave Cheshire to swim with sharks – you can do it at the Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port. The centre has Europe’s largest collection of sharks which can be safely viewed by visitors walking through 71 metres of underwater tunnel. The aquarium has more than 100 exhibits and thousands of animals from around the world. It is a safe bet that a visit to Chester Racecourse will provide lots of fun in a great atmosphere. Horses have competed at Chester’s picturesque Roodee course since 1539, making it the oldest racetrack in England. Race days have developed into an enormous fun social occasion and are a wonderful time to visit the city. Visitors will spot football players, soap stars and famous faces while racing purists mix easily with families, and L-plated brides-to-be and their entourages have a laugh

with corporate partygoers. It underwent a major renovation in 2016 so the Norton Priory Museum & Gardens in Runcorn is better than ever. It’s a fascinating combination of historical, archaeological and natural beauty featuring medieval monastic ruins, a large Georgian walled garden, and acres of gardens, woodland walks, pear and apple orchards, as well as the National Collection of Tree Quince. There are more four-legged friends to admire at the Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre near Tarporley. There’s something magnificent about these gentle giants, descendants of animals which were used to carry knights in armour, drag heavy guns through muddy battlefields, and which once provided the industrial muscle in fields and roads. The 50-acre site also has wildlife and an adventure walk which takes about an hour. For anyone who has ever fancied themselves as Tarzan there is Go Ape in Delamere Forest, a tree-top adventure of zip wires, rope bridges and high wires providing an exhilarating adventure with stunning views across Lake Linmere. And for anyone who hasn’t got a head >> p27



12-15 October 2017 & 8-11 February 2018 ART ~ DESIGN ~ ANTIQUES Jewellery


Genuine Decorative Furnishings for sale by 40 stands over 3 floors of the County Grandstand, Chester Racecourse. Every FEB & OCT since 1989 Enq: 01886 833091



wildlife getaway

THE FINEST GO KARTING EXPERIENCE IN THE NORTH WEST The circuit is one of the largest indoor go karting tracks in the North West. Our sleek, modern facility has been designed to deliver the best racing experience imaginable for both advanced drivers and younger drivers.


Drop into

Burton Mere Wetlands

Please call a member of the team in order to book

Half price entry offer when you quote promo code • Six nature trails • Cosy reception hide • Light refreshments

• Two viewing hides • Unrivalled views + tranquillity • A wealth of wildlife @RSPB_BurtonMere

The RSPB is a registered charity in England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654

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WELCOME TO CHESHIRE Babbage Road | Engineers Park Sandycroft | Deeside | CH5 2QD


Image by Sam Ryley

01244 531 652

Promo code: WTC 17

@Apex Kart: The Circuit Raceway





NE2W 017


2 Amazing Attractions for 1 Great Price

N E FO W R 201

7 LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob configurations, the Minifigure and LEGOLAND are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2017 The LEGO Group.

Relaxing Cruises on the River Dee in historic Chester and stunning rural Cheshire Daytime Cruises

Evening Cruises

On a Half Hour City Cruises you will sail past

Disco and BBQ Party Nights Afloat Cruise

spectular properties and tranquil meadows,

most Friday and Saturday evenings year

whilse listening to informative commentary

round. Plus Fish and Chip Cruises and Curry

about the City sights. Sailing every 30 minutes,

and Quiz Cruises.

11AM – 5PM, April – October (plus selected

Alternatively, celebrate your special occasion

dates November – March, 11AM – 4PM).

with a Private Charter of one of our fleet.

The 2 Hour Iron Bridge Cruise is a relaxing

Bespoke private parties with a wide range of

journey from Chester through the Duke of

food, drinks and entertainment choices.

Westminster’s Estate, with breathtaking views

Prices & Booking Tickets

of a magical riverscape teaming with wildlife. Sailing 12 Noon and 2:30PM on weekends and selected dates in May, June and September as well as daily sailings in July and August.

Prices for all our cruises can be found on our website. Tickets can be purchased on boarding the boat.

Combine either of these cruises with a City Sightseeing Open Top Bus Tour, offering two great tours and all the famous sights. Make the most of your visit to Chester. A fantastic discount

Alternatively, book your cruise tickets online to save £££s (excludes already discounted combined boat and bus tickets).

awaits if you buy your Combined Boat and Bus

Cruises subject to weather, correct at time

Tour ticket on the boat.

of print.

Or join us for a delightful Vintage Afternoon Tea Cruise on Mother’s Day (26th March), St.

Departure Point

George’s Day (23 April) or Grandparents’ Day

All cruises depart from Souters Lane,

(10th September).

The Groves, Chester, CH1 1SZ/CH1 1SD.



Use the promo code “kingfisher” when booking online to get an extra 10% off Half Hour City Cruise, 2 Hour Cruise, Afternoon Tea Cruise, Fish & Chip Cruise or Curry & Quiz Cruise!

01244 325 394 | | The Boating Station, Souters Lane, The Groves, Chester, CH1 1SZ/CH1 1SD


for heights there is also mountain biking and forest walking – not to mention segways! A brand new attraction opened in Chester in 2016 – but do you dare try it? Sick to Death blends blood and guts with science, fun and archaelogy. Set within the city’s famous walls, Sick to Death features never-before-seen bone discoveries and lets visitors re-live the plague-ridden, disease infected eras of days gone by. There is also an appearance from Chester’s infamous Plague Doctor who is often seen wandering the streets at night. A must family attraction! Offering a more sedate experience are the many notable gardens in Cheshire which attract thousands of visitors each year. Arley Hall gardens between Northwich and Knutsford are amongst the finest in Britain, having been lovingly created by the same family over 250 years. Outstanding features are the renowned double herbaceous border, the avenue of giant Ilex columns and Victorian Rootree.


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These award-winning gardens boast a national and international reputation with flowers, shrubs and trees, in particular rhododendrons and azaleas and a national collection of sorbus

If you have a penchant for brain teasers that set your heart pumping, why not now indulge in Chester’s very own ‘escape room’? Escapism Chester locks teams of 2-5 people into one of the live Escape Rooms – you’ll have to use your brain power and work as a team to escape within the allotted 60 minutes. What could be more fun? Cholmondeley Castle’s extensive ornamental gardens are dominated by a romantic Gothic castle, built in 1801 of local sandstone. The castle is not open to the public but there are wonderful gardens with lakeside and woodland walks, picnic site, children’s play area, farm animals and aviary birds. The gardens are only open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and bank holidays from early April to the end of September. Ness Botanic Gardens are set on the banks of the River Dee with breathtaking views across to North Wales. These award-winning gardens boast a national and international reputation with flowers, shrubs and >> p29



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<< p27 trees, in particular rhododendrons and azaleas and a national collection of sorbus. Tatton Park, near Knutsford, is one of the UK’s most impressive historic estates, with a stunning neo-Classical mansion, 1930s rare breeds farm, Tudor old hall and 50 acres of award-winning gardens. Reflecting over 200 years of design and history, visitors can enjoy the Italian garden, topiary, maze, ferney and rose garden. The Japanese Garden is one of the finest in Europe and the walled kitchen garden produces historic varieties of fruit and vegetables. A year-round programme of events includes the RHS Show Tatton Park, outdoor theatre and picnic concerts, food festival and country show. Little Moreton Hall, Britain’s most famous timber-framed, moated Tudor manor house, was the home of Mary Fitton, Maid of Honour to Elizabeth I and supposed “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets. There is a delightful historic Knot Garden and traditional fruit trees of apple, pear, medlar and quince. This National Trust property was used as one of the settings in the TV dramatisation of Daniel Defoe’s saucy romp, Moll Flanders.

Back to the watery attractions, spring and summer present a wonderful opportunity to enjoy boating on the River Dee, rowing boats and pedalos for the energetic or a choice of cruises on showboats Lady Diana and Mark Twain. Trips are 30 minutes or two hours and can also be combined with an open top bus tour of the city. Summer evening cruises are themed to include Abba hits and music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Chester’s important historical credentials can be explored at the Dewa Roman Experience, just off Bridge Street, with its atmospheric reconstructions, genuine archaeological remains and also offers a Roman Soldier Patrol of the city. Deva (pronounced Dewa in Roman times) is the fortress built almost 2,000 years ago which lies beneath modern day Chester. Stroll along a reconstructed street, experiencing some of the sights, sounds and smells of life inside the Roman fortress. A certain hit for young visitors is Cheshire Farm Ice Cream at Tattenhall – and with 40-plus flavours, plenty of adults love it, too. There are outdoor play

areas, an animal corner for children to meet the farm animals and watch cows being milked, kids’ quad bikes, and mini golf. And, thanks to a £4m investment, it is now known as the world’s largest family-friendly ice cream parlour adventure park. As well as the largest indoor sand and water play area in Europe, a ‘snow-emitting’ life-size magical ice cream tree sits at the heart of this world of fun, which includes attractions all the family will love, such as Honeycomb Canyon, Fudge Farm, and the Fun Factory. Not far from the ice cream farm is the Cheshire Candle Factory where you can try your hand at the traditional craft of candle-making. There is also a range of activities for all age groups, including pottery painting, making spoon puppets, fridge magnets and badges at the factory in Burwardsley near Tattenhall. Families with young children will also find lots to do at Gulliver’s World Theme Park at Warrington where they will find more than 90 rides for youngsters aged 2-13. Parking and picnic areas are free. q




YOU MUST DO! There are loads of things to do here – but make sure you don’t miss these


{01} Row a boat


Hire a rowing boat on the River Dee on a sunny day, and impress or embarrass friends and family with your Steve Redgrave imitation. Then recover eating a Cheshire ice cream listening to the sound of brass performed on Chester’s riverside bandstand.

{02} Drive a racing car If canals are too slow for your taste, why not try your hand behind the wheel of a racing car speeding around Cheshire’s famous Oulton Park track? There are various options available including the chance to test your skills behind the wheel of a single seat racing car.

{03} Visit the zoo The zoo has a worldwide reputation, with 11 miles of footpaths, wonderful gardens and thousands of creatures large and small.

{04} Go underground Britain had plans to go underground in the event of a nuclear attack. Recreate the chill of those Cold War nightmares at the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker near Nantwich. Not a secret anymore – it is a visitor attraction which traces the history of the

bunker which grew from being an important WW2 radar control site to the nerve centre of regional government from Cheshire to Cumbria in the event of a nuclear war.

Bennet Way, a 34-mile two-day ride from near Beeston Castle to Whitchurch.

{08} Anderton Boat Lift

Pack your hiking boots and experience the rural splendour of Cheshire viewed from the Sandstone Trail – 34 miles of sandstone ridges, cliffs, crags and caves, open woodland and ancient forest through gentle, undulating Cheshire farmland.

Take a ride on the Edwin Clark boat trip to experience the awesome Victorian masterpiece of engineering, the Anderton Boat Lift. Regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Mechanical Age, the lift raises and lowers canal boats 50ft between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the River Weaver at Northwich.

{06} Pageant of Power

{09} Go to the races

Experience the Pageant of Power – three days of racing cars, historic and modern, speedboats, aerial displays and helicopter rides, all in the settings of Cholmondeley Castle gardens.

Chester Races is a colourful social event embraced by the whole region and much more than just watching horses galloping around a track where it is believed Romans raced their chariots. A great opportunity to don the glad rags, enjoy the atmosphere, and lose a few pounds.

{05} Walk the Sandstone Trail

{07} Ride a horse Saddle up, Cheshire has miles and miles of bridleways to welcome experienced and novice horse riders. Equestrian centres, riding schools, bed and breakfast accommodation with stables make this a horse-friendly county. Experience the 22-mile Delamere Loop through the countryside or the Bishop

{10} RHS flower show Cheshire has many wonderful gardens open to the public – but the hugely popular RHS flower show at Tatton Park – is a wonderful bonus for visitors. It is the north west’s biggest garden party. q




A TASTE OF CHESHIRE – AND THE WORLD! Top-end fine dining, adventurous independents and a great range of ethnic cuisine means you’ll never go hungry here



hether you’re a sucker for traditional and hearty pub grub, or your tastes expand to the exotic, Cheshire is groaning under the weight of eateries that have something to offer all foodies – and some of the county’s best are highlighted for you here. Last year saw an influx of new eating spots opening their doors in Chester, and one of these is Opera Grill. The last occupant to launch within the new Pepper Street dining quarter, the 400-cover ‘glamorous’ restaurant will be a flagship venue for Manchester-based Individual Restaurants featuring three bars over two levels including a glazed pavilion on the first floor at the rear. Diners can expect a ‘deli experience’ where they can choose their food and watch it being made. And there is a stage area for live performers including DJs, singers and even opera. If it’s Greek food you favour, the newly opened Olive Tree Brasserie puts a modern twist on old-fashioned

classics. Nestled away on Chester’s historic rows, it features rustic interior and a bona fide olive tree. And now for some elegant luxury. The five-star Grosvenor Hotel’s famous Arkle restaurant was renamed in 2008 as the Simon Radley restaurant to recognise the culinary wizardry of their executive chef. Oozing with elegance and sophistication, the Grosvenor’s restaurant has retained its Michelin star since 1990, adding four AA rosettes and showing remarkable staying power to continue to top the list of favourite places to eat in Chester with a menu to die for and a wine list to convince you that you have arrived in heaven. The Simon Radley influence has been extended to the garden restaurant at the quirky Oddfellows boutique hotel in Lower Bridge Street as part of a 10-year management agreement with The Grosvenor following a multi-million pound makeover which features a replica of a Valkyrie bomber aircraft wing as a reception desk, vintage typewriters on the wall and 6ft tall woodland animals as murals in the bar. >> p37




Leading executive chef moves North to Victor’s Eatery in the heart of Hale village, Cheshire. Part of the East Coast Concepts restaurant group, Victor’s Eatery in Hale provides a contemporary American dining experience.

Sophisticated yet relaxed, the restaurant offers not only lunch and dinner but weekend brunch, Sunday lunch and afternoon tea*

Ingredients are sourced locally with flavours creating insatiable mouth-watering dishes

The executive CHEF

Victor’s has recently welcomed a new executive chef to the team with an impressive CV. Lee Stretton, has moved to the north from London, having previously worked as head chef at Fortnum & Mason and executive chef at the Wardorf Astoria, Browns Hotel and Daphne’s restaurants. His CV also includes Le Caprice, The Ivy and The Savoy Hotel. Lee will focus on honing Victor’s unique take on casual fine dining with luxury ingredients.

To make a reservation, please call Victor’s on 0161 928 4651 *Afternoon tea is available every day but must be booked at least 24 hours in advance

169 Ashley Road, Hale, Altrincham WA15 9SD

W W W .V I C T O R S H A L E . C O . U K

East Coast Group currently includes: Victor’s, Hale, Neighbourhood in Spinningfields and Neighbourhood, Liverpool. A further three sites are scheduled by the end of 2017.



ALE HOUSE Fine food and a fantastic selection of real ale await visitors to The Brewery Tap which is set in a medieval Grade II listed hall in the heart of Chester.

Steeped in history, The Plough Inn offers you a traditional English country pub experience, boasting a wide selection of traditional real cask ales and fine wines. With its richlyfurnished, comfortable bars and cosy nooks, it is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing drink with friends and family. Our menu changes on a weekly basis to ensure that you are getting the very best locally-sourced ingredients, all home cooked. When the weather permits, The Plough Inn has a well maintained beer garden for you to enjoy.

The award-winning pub belongs to the Spitting Feathers brewery. A lifelong love of good beer and an interest in quality ale production were the inspiration behind the Spitting Feathers brewery. Fresh, local produce, including pork reared on the brewery farm and honey from the bee hives, is used in the kitchen to create traditional and tasty pub meals for a good value menu which changes daily. Gamul House, 52-54 Lower Bridge Street, Chester CH1 1RU tel: 01244 340 999 email:


Züger’s All the food is prepared on the premises. Wherever possible, farm produce from local suppliers is used with daily deliveries to ensure maximum freshness. The menus at all branches change seasonally but always include such Swiss staples as Alpine Rosti, Wiener Schnitzel and Apple Strudel. The Bromborough shop opens during the day Monday to Saturday and can be booked in the evening for private party groups. The Chester shop (which has recently won Chester’s Best Café Gold Award for the third year running) is open during the day, 7 days a week.

“Zugers Is by far the BEST TEA ROOM ever! Visit here frequently. Exceptional food, drink, service, atmosphere! You cannot fault it. The staff are so friendly and professional, they always strive to please and they do! The food is of excellent quality and fresh, amazing combinations and addictive cakes, glorious cakes!!! Would highly recommend Zugers!”

We offer: Breakfast / Toasties / Hot Dishes Snacks / Tea / Coffee / Fruit Juice / Sandwiches / Cakes / Ice Cream / Outside Catering

“The food is absolutely amazing, highly recommended to visit!” Bromborough Shop 150 Allport Road, Bromborough, Wirral, CH62 6BB Tel: 0151 334 1904 Chester Shop St. John Street, Chester, CH1 1DA Tel: 01244 348 041



Take our unique visitor guides with you on the move today

Chester’s hidden secret… Off the ‘Beaton’ track, hidden in a tranquil setting next to Chester Cathedral, is Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop. We offer bright, elegant décor, a range of light lunches cooked to order together with delicious homemade cakes and scones. Why not try one of our 30 loose leaf teas on our secluded outside balcony overlooking the cathedral? Come and experience Beatons’ gracious hospitality!

BELL TOWER, BELL TOWER WALK, CHESTER CH1 2DY Open 7 days, Tel 01244 950 761


@Beatons Tearooms

Search ‘Kingfisher Visitor Guides’




BRAZILIAN GRILL NOW OPEN 01244 311839 www.p ic a n ha gril l .c o.u k Ne wga t e St . Che s t e r. CH1 1D Q

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A traditional pub with low ceilings and exposed beams, the menu at this place has been described as ‘an extensive bill of superior gastropub fare’

<< p33 Another multi-million pound investment transformed 18th century manor house Hoole Hall on the outskirts of Chester into the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel and included the introduction of the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill. Building a reputation for classic British food is The Architect, named in honour of the former resident Thomas Harrison, a prolific Georgian architect who designed the Grosvenor Bridge and much of Chester Castle, among many other classical structures. It is wonderfully situated next to the city’s racecourse and has enviable views to enjoy in the summer. Heading out of the city and idyllically positioned on the edge of the stunning Delamere Forest, the award-winning Fishpool Inn is a cosy, characterful inn which dates back to the 18th century.

Like wine and tapas? Try Las Ramblas in Warrington for classic and contemporary tapas, wine and cocktails and even some live music. If you’re looking to try something a little different, The Salt Bar in Macclesfield could be just the thing. Scandinavian cuisine is the name of the game here and you can expect such culinary delights as Swedish meatballs, pyttipanna and hjort gryta (No, us neither!). Nestled within the City Walls, overlooking the River Dee, award-winning Edgar House has recently partnered with new restaurant Twenty2 to provide delicious dishes from the a la carte menu, a special 7-course tasting menu, afternoon tea, and Sunday lunch. If you’re in Alderley Edge, stop by the Railway Kitchen. The menu takes inspiration from the Far East and offers small-sized plates or larger, depending on how hungry you are. Cheshire is known for its quaint and pretty

country pubs and The George and Dragon in Great Budworth doesn’t disappoint. A traditional pub with low ceilings and exposed beams, the menu at this place has been described as ‘an extensive bill of superior gastropub fare’. Featuring chef’s specials, Sunday roasts, new takes on old favourites like fish and chips and steak, mash and gravy, the only hard job will be making room for the sumptuous puddings on offer. Lemon meringue roulade, anyone? If you can’t quite decide which cuisine you’re in the mood for, Chester’s new world buffet eatery Panda Mami may be for you. Watch your food being prepared on the live cooking stations in front of you and you can choose from 120 authentic dishes from around the world. Another new one to try in Chester is Picanha by Fazenda. It fuses the traditional Brazilian gaúcho-style grilling and Rodizio dining that is now a favourite in the UK. You can go for the all-you-can eat grilled meats served at the table for a fixed price or there is a smaller, less expensive menu if you fancy a more informal dining experience. Described as a ‘hidden gem’, The Galley in Ellesmere Port is a must visit. Located next to The Waterways Museum, diners can expect stunning views as they enjoy fresh, homecooked food and friendly service. q



IF YOU’RE ONLY HERE FOR 48 HOURS… You can pack a lot into a couple of days – try this itinerary to make the most of it

Day one Cheshire is so beautiful with so much to offer that you’re spoiled for choice with just 48 hours to spare. If it’s history you’re most interested in, head to Chester’s ancient city walls to make the most of this picturesque walled city. You’ll see the Water Tower, the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, the tower where Charles I stood to watch the Battle of Rowton Moor, the much-photographed Eastgate

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Clock and the castle that was originally built by Chester’s very own Norman “Wolf”. Afterwards, explore the large variety of shops as you roam the magnificent streets which are lined with black and white Jacobean-style buildings, making sure to pay a visit to the stunning cathedral where you can not only observe its rich history, but you can also take a tower tour which truly enables you to immerse yourself in a unique blend of medieval and modern history.

Reward yourself with afternoon tea in the old Cathedral Refectory, or if you’re still up for a stroll – enjoy a drink at the ancient (and haunted) Pied Bull pub just up the road. That’s if you’re not scared of meeting its resident ghost, John Davies, who was said to have died in the pub’s cellar in 1690. Chester has some fascinating art galleries – including The Watergate Street Gallery and the newly opened Alison Bradley Gallery, which features some stunning local paintings,



so make sure you have a browse. Head to the city’s newly built Dining Quarter on Pepper Street for the choice of several cuisines for lunch, including Las Iguanas, Opera Grill, American-themed Coast to Coast and Mexican eatery Chimichanga. For a lighter bite, independently owned Ginger Wine Bar and Delicatessen is hugely popular with the locals. Head slightly out of the city to burn off your lunch at Caldy Valley Nature Park, a delightful small area of wetland, woodland and meadows which is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Not too far away is Delamere Forest, with its dry sandstone paths or gentle forest roads and trails which are suited for the less able or families with children. For something a little different you might want to try The Blue Planet Aquarium in nearby Ellesmere Port. Ideal for families, you can get up close to awesome sharks and see real scuba divers in the daily feed shows in the centre’s Aquatheatre. There are plenty of food outlets to try in nearby Cheshire Oaks, but if you’re heading back to the city centre, take your pick from several cuisines. If Italian is your palate of choice, look no further than La Fattoria on

Lower Bridge Street. Ask any local and they will say this is without doubt one of the finest Italian eateries outside of Italy itself.

Day two Make the most of one of Chester’s newest attractions – which is bound to be an unforgettable experience. The Sick to Death attraction is set inside two towers on the city’s ancient walls, just a short walking distance from the centre of town. Designed to transport visitors back through the gory history of medicine, Sick to Death features unique bone discoveries where you can re-live the plague-ridden, disease infected eras of the past. You’ll mingle with Chester’s infamous Plague Doctor, and view a series of interactive exhibitions that will shock, thrill and educate visitors of all ages. It’s a bit of a drive from Chester but you can’t visit Cheshire without going to Tatton Park in Knutsford. Welcoming

more than 800,000 visitors a year, it boasts a stunning 19th-century mansion, 1,000 acres of parkland, a working rare breed farm and Tudor old hall. No wonder Tatton is regarded as one of Britain’s finest historic estates. Or why not visit the Lion Salt Works in Northwich? Lots of time and money (£10 millon to be precise) has been spent to provide a fascinating and fresh insight into the story of salt, brought to life with fun, interactive and imaginative educational exhibits. And while you’re in the area, grab some traditional pub fare at The Hayhurst Arms which combines classic British dishes with ingredients from around the world and is simply oozing with rural British charm. End your day back in Chester by sampling some afternoon tea at Oddfellows with its stunning, huge Georgian windows, before heading over to Chester Cathedral for weekly choral evensong in the Quire. It really is a wonderful way to round off a trip to our beautiful county. q




LIKE TO SHOP? YOU’LL LOVE IT HERE! High street chains, one-off independents and quirky specialists – they’re all waiting for the shopaholic



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hester can truly claim a unique shopping experience. Its famous medieval Rows have nothing to be compared with in the world. And the Three Old Arches at 48 Bridge Street dating back to the 13th century are believed to be the earliest surviving shop fronts in England. The Rows are covered pedestrian walkways at first floor level on four of Chester’s main streets – the original shopping mall. The city is a compact shopping delight for visitors, four main streets reaching out from The Cross towards the Roman walls that encircle its central area. A five minutes walk will get you to most places – if you don’t look up. But the Rows, walls, fabulous architecture, street musicians and ornate Eastgate Clock – said to be second only to Big Ben in London for the number of times it is photographed – conspire to distract you. You could well find yourself drawn into the greetings shouted by the town crier at The Cross along with visitors from around the world. It makes for a leisurely stroll around the shops in


and around Eastgate Street, Northgate Street, Watergate Street and Bridge Street, the Rows, the Grosvenor Shopping Centre and the hidden gems of Chester. Godstall Lane at Row level in Eastgate Street is a pedestrian alley with fashion shops and a bar/ restaurant through to St Werburgh Street and Chester Cathedral. Its name refers to “God’s Place” and in medieval times it was it home to a hermit and an important route to the monastery that pre-dates the Cathedral. Even its shops, including a tailors, a luxurious lingerie boutique and popular bridal shop, give off an air of exclusivity. Rufus Court, just off Northgate Street is an award-winning restoration of listed buildings dubbed ‘Chester’s Hidden Oasis’. It is a courtyard community of quirky shops linked to the Rows and walls. The Roman legions that created Chester had their barracks in fields just behind Rufus Court. Containing a mix of bridal, fashion and athletic shops, it’s also a good place to grab a drink when shopping >> p44

Platinum set top-quality tanzanite and diamond ring. Other original designs are available at Balducci Jewellers.

Balducci Jewellers

12 The Cross Neston, South Wirral CH64 9UB Telephone 0151 336 5235

At Ecco, we are proud of our Scandinavian heritage, combining style and comfort in our extensive range of footwear and accessories. Our Chester store stocks a wide range of ladies and mens shoes as well as leather handbags and small leather goods. ECCO CHESTER 6-8 St Werburgh Street, CH1 2DY Tel. 01244 329 179

Imagination Boutique

Exclusive occasion wear Fabulous casual collections Beautiful hats and fascinators to buy or hire Evening and race wear Excellent personal service OPENING TIMES Monday-Friday 11am-4pm, Saturday 10am-5pm Sunday and late evening appointments available

34 High Street, Tarvin, Chester CH3 8EE 01829 741455

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becomes too much – with its ample choices of tea and coffee shops. Brown’s is a large department store that has occupied a central position since 1791 and was once regarded as the Harrods of the north. It became something of a faded beauty and was acquired by Debenhams in 1976 – the only store in the group not to be re-branded with the company’s name. A multi-million pound modernisation in 2012 has transformed its appearance and it hosts many prestigious designer names in perfume and clothing. The city’s main shopping mall is the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, which integrates with the Rows and Eastgate Street to provide a refuge from bad weather. The centre has recently undergone a £5m development, completed with an impressive glass fronted atrium. New stores TK Maxx and Sports Direct join the already popular


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selection of stores including Ann Summers, Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, and Gieves and Hawkes to name but a few. Chester is not really lacking in shops – it has something for everyone, whether that be high street names like H&M or New Look, or designer labels including Tessuti, LK Bennett or Reiss. There are also small boutiques and independents like City Gate Menswear in Bridge Street, which dresses well-heeled men and counts a number of footballers amongst its clientele. The city is a little haven for jewellery lovers with stunning designer pieces on show at Boodles and eye-catching windows of new and antique rings and brooches in the range of jewellers in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. Visitors can spend a happy time visiting antique shops, art galleries and rummaging in the knick-knack shops. There are plenty >> p48

The city is a little haven for jewellery lovers with stunning designer pieces and eye-catching windows of new and antique rings and brooches

26 Bridge Street Chester CH1 1NQ 01244 320888















All the wines and services you’d expect from the UK’s Outstanding Retailer of the Year*

Luxury Gifts & Designer Homewares An independent gift boutique available both online and at the newly opened shop at 25 Christleton Road, Boughton, Chester CH3 5UF. Beautiful gift solutions for all occasions, including stylish homewares and a luxury gift wrapping service. Prompt delivery service available to hotels, businesses and homes. Call Jackie on 07882 770 784



Welcome to Cheshire 2017 advert.indd 1







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Independent Footwear Specialists Since 1980 49 Grove Street Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 1DT Tel: 01625 525980




of places to take a coffee break or lunch, going al fresco at pavement tables in the finer weather, and you can combine shopping with a little history tour, hopping on and off the nearly 2,000 year old defensive walls at convenient spots. You can easily walk from the main shopping areas through the Roman Gardens or Grosvenor Park down to The Groves on the River Dee – a riverside promenade where in the summer there is often music drifting from the bandstand and artists offering their paintings for sale. The city’s Roman roots are everywhere stretching back in time to about 70AD when the legions founded Chester as Deva Victrix. A civilian settlement grew around the soldiers as traders and their families profited from trade with the fortress, which was 20% larger than other fortresses in Britannia, which has led to the suggestion that the fortress may have been intended to become the capital of the province rather than London (Londinium).


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Only half of the amphitheatre built in first century can be seen – the other half lies protected and buried. But an artistic 3D device has been employed against a large wall to create the impression of it as a whole. It was the largest military amphitheatre in Britain and could seat between 8,000 and 10,000 people. The Romans abandoned the fortress by 410AD when they retreated from Britannia. One of their legacies was a thriving port at Chester, which survived until the mid 1800s when a combination of silting of the River Dee and better facilities for bigger ships at Liverpool killed the trade. A big pull for tourists, and just 15 minutes drive from the city, is the UK’s largest designer outlet village, Cheshire Oaks, which offers significant discounts on famous brands like Armani, Ralph Lauren, Reiss, Jaeger, Burberry, Pringle, Ted Baker, LK Bennett, Kurt Geiger, Bose, Tag Heuer and North Face. It is a one-level shopping centre with vast car parking,

easy access from the M53, super facilities for the disabled, and facilities like children’s play areas, baby changing and customer information. There are restaurants and coffee shops as well as strategically-placed doughnut and ice cream vendors. Alongside Cheshire Oaks is The Coliseum, a complementary development which includes the addition of the largest Marks and Spencer store outside of London, other shops, a multi-screen cinema, tenpin bowling, and a variety of restaurants including Italian, Chinese, and American-themed. Shopping at Cheshire Oaks lacks the history and atmosphere of Chester but creates a hassle-free environment for people arriving by car. Chester city retailers initially regarded the outlet village as a threat but are now increasingly working to encourage visitors to see the two shopping areas as complementary to each other. Since local government re-organisation in 2009 Cheshire has been two boroughs, Cheshire West and Cheshire with strong links to Merseyside and North Wales, and >> p50

Where to next?

Any time of year, whatever the weather, make sure you plan a visit to one of the UK’s top garden and home centres. Gordale is the Wirral’s biggest and best, award-winning*, family-friendly store, set in 15 glorious acres. It’s a place where you can enjoy a relaxed style of retail therapy, browsing department after department of inspiring product ideas for inside and out. From clothing and homewares, plants and garden furniture to food, drink, and plenty of fun for the kids. Then re-charge in our 100-seater Coffee Shop, serving fresh, home-made food and sweet (diet-busting) treats.


Garden Centre of Excellence


*Ranked 7th in GCA UK Top 200 2017, and officially a GCA Garden Centre of Excellence.

Chester High Road, Burton, South Wirral CH64 8TF. T: 0151 336 2116.

Gordale. What a lovely idea.

H O M E WA R E S > CO O K WA R E > C LOT HIN G > G A R D EN F U R NI T U R E > L I C ENS ED F O O D H A L L > F LOW ER S , P L A N T S , SHRU BS C O F F E E S H O P > X M A S G I F T S & D E C S > C H I L D R E N ’ S P L AY A R E A S > E X T E N S I V E G A R D E N S & W I L D L I F E


Cheshire East looking towards Manchester in the north and the Potteries in the south. Both sides of the split have some lovely shopping towns and villages offering different experiences. Wilmslow is the town that gives Cheshire its “footballers wives” reputation and there is a good chance you will spot a famous face while shopping or lunching. The local car dealerships are Ferrari and Porsche and it used to be said there were more Rolls Royces per head in the town than anywhere in the UK outside of Mayfair. There is a good range of shops and not all the price tags, or fashions, are aimed at the WAGs. In the evening the town has live music ranging from jazz to opera. And if you want to take a break from shopping, the range of international food available for lunch is mouth-watering, from Nepalese to Japanese and Lebanese. Sometimes described as the Harrods of the north, Hoopers in Wilmslow is an >> p53


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Fashion needs to be wearable, contemporary and exciting and each season Broadbents ensure that it refreshes its styling and brand selection, providing a unique collection of some of the most attractive brands to be seen on the independent high street. This, together with the friendliest of atmospheres has made Broadbents a success story for so many years. Stockists of… Masai | Sahara | Frank Lyman | Gerry Weber | Latte Eden Rock | Piccadilly | Olsen | Adini | Robell Paz Torras | Capri | Joules | Peruzzi...and more

The Forge | Stockton Heath | WA4 6HW 01925 263 727

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King Street | Knutsford | WA16 6DX 01565 632 568

Country Couture Barbour Partner Store, 11 St Werburgh St, Chester CH1 2DY

Country Couture, Barbour Partner Store, 11 St Werburgh St, Chester CH1 2DY

Julie’s Boutique

Stocking clothes for the discerning woman Adventures des Toiles, Barbara Lebek, Basler, Bianca, Eugen Klein, Glenmuir Knitwear, Laura Orchant Scarves, Pause Café, Saloos, Sommermann juliesbou E

T 01270 624555

Julie’s Boutique | 24 Pepper Street | Nantwich | Cheshire | CW5 5AB




Chester’s Very Own OwnMulti Multi Chesters Very Award-Winning Designer Award-Winning Fashion Designer

We understand that a wedding is a time for celebration. Whether you are mother of the bride or groom, a relative or special guest, we have outfits to ensure you look fabulous – whatever your style.

The boutique sells sells Matthew’s Matthew’s seasonal seasonalcouture couturecollections, collections,Eveningwear eveningwearforforallalloccasions, occasions, bridal, ready to to wear wearpieces piecesalong alongwith withbespoke bespokemade madetotomeasure measureservice. service. Brial ,Ready

With stunning creations from some of Europe’s finest designers, and exquisite range of shoes and statement accessories, we can promise you a fabulous outfit from top-to-toe.

Accolades Britain’sTop TopDesigner Designer Accolades include Include – - Britains Young Designer of of The the Year Year – – FashionOne FashionOne TV Judge and Mentor

Sizes 8-20 | Opening times Mon – Sat 9.00 – 5.30

RufusCourt Court || Chester Chester || Cheshire 77Rufus Cheshire| CH1 ,CH12JW 2JW || TT:: 01244888807 E E: : 01244888807 || Twitter: Twitter:@MatthewObrienUK @MatthewObrienUK

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195 Telegraph Road, Heswall, Wirral CH60 7SE | 0151 342 6434 Matthew O’Brien




Nantwich is a smart, rural town with landscaped pedestrianised areas, a range of specialist shops, a local market and some excellent eating places set in a medieval street pattern

<< p50 independent, classy department store, with a nearby men’s shop also attracting clientele with deep pockets. And if you have a few thousand pounds burning a hole in your wallet and fancy a Rolex or Breitling Bentley Motors watch, then Mark Worthington jewellers will bring a smile to your face. Knutsford was a favourite spot for David and Victoria Beckham when he played for Manchester United. It is another well-heeled Cheshire town with a number of independent shops and is also the town on which Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford is based – made popular by the award-winning TV series. Tarporley is a strong candidate for one of

the best villages in the UK and is a great place to lunch and use as a base to visit one of several interesting attractions in the area, including Beeston Castle ruins, a shire horse centre, candle-making factory and ice cream farm. Nantwich is a smart, rural town with landscaped pedestrianised areas, a range of specialist shops, a local market and some excellent eating places set in a medieval street pattern. Each year there are several events to add interest including a jazz festival and a large cheese show. Sandbach has been a market town since 1579 when Elizabeth I granted a Royal Charter. Of historical importance are two Saxon

crosses in the market square dating before the 9th century. The market is held on Thursdays on Scotch Common and around the town hall. Apart from the famous vanishing cat in Alice in Wonderland, Cheshire is perhaps best known for its cheese. There are plenty of specialist cheese shops in Cheshire and a burgeoning number of excellent farm shops. Visitors who have only ever tasted Cheshire cheese from the supermarket should take the opportunity to find out what it really should be like. A must-visit is The Chester Cheese Shop which boasts over 200 different cow, goat and ewe cheeses, available pasteurised, unpasteurised, organic and vegetarian. q



A REGION AT THE HEART OF ART! Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a rich cultural history on offer in Cheshire

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aving spent the last few years without a theatre or city centre cinema, Chester will well and truly be making up for lost time when the eagerly awaited cultural centre Storyhouse opens its doors in 2017. The £37m theatre, cinema and library development is a massive coup for the city, carved out of the Grade 2-listed shell of what used to be the former Odeon cinema. Featuring an impressive 800-seat auditorium, 150-seat community studio, restaurant and rooftop bar,

Storyhouse is set to put Chester firmly on the map as a cultural hub. The UK’s largest regional arts project, it will open this spring with a run of four home-produced shows including a new adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Community theatre company Tip Top Productions stages regular quality plays and live entertainment in the Forum Theatre – part of the closed down Gateway Theatre. As theatre buffs wait for Storyhouse to open, Tip Top continues to utilise a range of venues

across the city for live performances. Chester also boasts a series of independent festivals including film, music and literature. In the summer visitors can enjoy street theatre, parades and performance art, as well as a Roman weekend and outdoor cinema. The traditional Midsummer Watch parade is one of the oldest and most colourful events in the country and is firmly established as one of Chester’s most iconic events where angels, devils, green men and mythical beasts rub shoulders with Romans, St Werburgh, elephants and camels in a parade full of >> p59



Baron Fine Art We have a very diverse range of 19th to 21st century fine art with the emphasis on quality. There is over 500 paintings to view online, with in-house crating and worldwide shipping available.

Minimum opening hours Mon-Sat: 9.30am-5.30pm Sun: 10.30am-5.30pm

Exhibiting at various fine art and antique fairs

Roy Hodrien Silver Flagon, Glass, Satsumas and Cherries Oil on panel, 16 by 12 inches

Richard Firth â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Lulworth sailing off the Royal Yacht Clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Oil on Canvas 48 by 32 inches

Tony Sheath Chester Cross at Christmas looking down Watergate Street Oil on canvas 20 by 24 inches

William Mellor 1851-1931, On the Glaslyn North Wales Oil on canvas 24 by 36 inches

T. 01244 342520 E.

68 Watergate Street, Chester CH1 2LA

Original oil paintings, original charcoal drawings, and reproduction prints by Snowdonia & Chester artist Alison Bradley Welsh landscape · Animals & rural life · Equestrian & racing · Coastal scenes · Chester · Fine bespoke picture framing Alison Bradley Gallery 42 Watergate Street Chester CH1 2LA 01244 315000

Alison Bradley Gallery Holyhead Road Betws-y-coed LL24 0AB 01690 710080

11 May – 27 August 2017 Performed on the new Storyhouse Stage and at the award-winning Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre. Indoors or out – the choice is yours... BOOK NOW – under 12s go FREE @storyhouselive



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Cheshire Art Gallery is a modern gallery in the heart of Bramhall. We have more than 60 different artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; works available. The gallery introduce new works frequently and hold regular exhibitions. We represent artists such as internationally-renowned Geoffrey Key, Rourke Van Dal and Mark Demsteader, whom is exclusive to our gallery in the north west. We showcase lots of emerging artists such as Richard Fitton, Jamie Green, Danny Abrahams and David Coulter. Come and browse the stunning works available and meet our resident artist Phil Ashley painting in the relaxed atmosphere of the gallery. | 13 Ack Lane East | Bramhall | Stockport | SK7 2BE | 0161 217 0625

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colour and music that dates back to the late 1400s. Its festive counterpart is the Winter Watch Parade, where you can expect to see an eccentric parade of skeletons, Christmas cooks, angels and devils celebrating the Winter solistice, to the sounds of Karamba Samba. This quintessentially ‘Chester’ event dates back to the 1400s, and brings local artists and community groups together to celebrate a time when the city leaders would hand over the keys to the city watch. Music lovers lamenting the demise of Chester Racecourse’s short-lived rock festival, Chester Rocks, will surely be pleased with the return of Chester Live for its third year. Featuring a performance from punk legends The Undertones, more than 2,000 people flocked to last year’s festival, held


<< p55

across more than 15 venues in the city, and hundreds of artists are expected to play at this year’s offering which starts in June. There are also separate festivals of food with lots of great offers and initiatives in the city’s restaurants; and a very successful Essar Chester Literature Festival in October attracting top authors and poets for events and workshops, book signings and involving local schools. Annual diversity festival Chester Pride always features a huge parade of colour and entertainment and the free event grows in spectacle each year. The city is blessed with the wonderful Grosvenor Museum which tells the story of the city’s history from pre-Roman times and also houses an impressive collection of Roman tombstones, a nationally-important collection of silver and an art >> p61

This quintessentially ‘Chester’ event dates back to the 1400s, and brings local artists and community groups together to celebrate a time when the city leaders would hand over the keys to the city watch



Williamson Art Gallery & Museum Housing one of the best art collections in the North West of England in its beautifully proportioned galleries, paintings of all sorts, especially British watercolours and work by local artists,join highlights of the decorative arts collections like Liverpool Porcelain and Birkenhead’s own contribution to the Arts & Crafts Movement, the Della Robbia Pottery. T. 0151 652 4177 E.

Cheshire Military Museum Three Centuries of History

Opening times Wed to Sun: 10am – 5pm Closed Mon & Tues

Slatey Road, Birkenhead CH43 4UE

Birkenhead Priory & St Mary’s Tower The oldest standing building on Merseyside, Birkenhead Priory encapsulates so much of the town’s history within an enclosed site: the small place with a big history. E. Priory Street, Birkenhead CH41 5JH (car park, end of Church Street) Opening times Wed to Fri pm; Sat & Sun all day Closed Mon & Tues

Call 0151 666 1249 or 652 4177 to check times, which vary with the season.


Open daily 10am - 5pm last entry 4pm (closed Wednesday November- Easter) The Castle|Chester|Cheshire|CH1 2DN 132 Northgate Street | Chester CH1 2HT Tel. 01244 313 700

A new Contemporary Ceramics Gallery situated in Llangollen, North Wales – host town of the famous International Eisteddfod. Owned by Jacqui Atkin & Charmain Poole, the gallery will showcase the work of both established and emerging makers from the UK and further afield.

Gallery opening times Wednesday-Sunday 10am-5pm Please telephone 01978 869109 for more information Address: 1 Gwalia Terrace, Oak St, Llangollen LL20 8NS

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If you appreciate art, Chester Art Centre in the heart of the city is the place to find unique pieces of art created by some of Chester and Cheshire’s finest talents. We have a variety of original paintings and drawings showing in 3 gallery spaces as well as a selection of high quality prints, ceramics, textiles and other gifts. Opening times Tuesday-Saturday: 12pm-7pm Sunday and Monday by appointment only



<< p59 gallery which features the work of regional artists over hundreds of years. Linked to the museum is 20 Castle Street, a town house that features home life from the 17th century to the 1920s, including a Victorian kitchen, a Georgian drawing room, a nursery and a fully fitted Edwardian bathroom. A 20-minute train ride from Chester will drop you almost at the front door of the Lady Lever Art Gallery in the enchanting garden village of Port Sunlight. Entrance is free and the gallery houses a stunning collection of paintings as well as exquisite furniture, Chinese collections, tapestries, sculpture, Wedgwood and classical antiquities. The paintings on display include pieces by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Stubbs, Turner, Millais, Rossetti, Holman Hunt and Waterhouse. Cheshire benefits from easy access to the variety of theatres, museums and galleries on offer in Manchester and Liverpool as well as The Lowry in Salford and nearby Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold. The historic >> p63


SCU L P T U R E E XH I B IT I O N at Chester Cathedral







ore y m ally b art ion g of rnat ludin s k e nc or i int st & 0 w n 50 tors, n Hir ley 9 s tha ulp ie rm Ki sc D a m y G o AR d n e n to ow An ren

7 July 15 October 2017 FREE TO ENTER

Exhibition curated by Gallery Pangolin


Photography by Steve Russell Studios

Noah & the Raven - Jon Buck




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<< p61 Edwardian Lyceum Theatre in Crewe is operated by the borough council and successfully hosts a series of visiting theatres. In the days when it had its own repertory company, audiences in the 100-year old building saw performances from Glenda Jackson and Richard Beckinsale. Warrington Museum and Art gallery is one of the oldest municipal museums in the country. Opened in 1857, much of the quintessential character of the building has been preserved and its original glass cabinets are crammed with treasures from all around the world. The museum hosts a series of events and temporary exhibitions – recently featuring work by Banksy, Tracy Emin and Sam Taylor-Wood – as well as permanent galleries ranging from Warrington’s own dinosaur and Egyptian displays to local

Opened in 1857, much of the quintessential character of the building has been preserved and its original glass cabinets are crammed with treasures from all around the world industrial history and toys from the past. One of the jewels in Cheshire’s crown is The Brindley – an award-winning theatre and arts centre by the Bridgewater Canal in Runcorn and named after the canal’s engineer, James Brindley. Operated by Halton Council and opened in 2004, The Brindley has a 420-seat auditorium, plus 108-seat studio and hosts touring shows, amateur productions as well as a series of captivating exhibitions. Brindley events range

from music tribute acts to plays and “audiences with” celebrities. Macclesfield Silk Museum and Paradise Mill are just a few minutes walk apart and provide an informative insight into the town’s history as the once-largest producer of finished silk in the world. Paradise Mill provides guided tours and houses 20 restored Jacquard looms which revolutionised silk making. The Silk Museum and Heritage centre in Roe Street has interactive displays, films, audio presentations and displays of luxurious silk costumes from various centuries. q



10 REASONS TO LOVE THIS REGION! There are dozens of reasons to love it here â&#x20AC;&#x201C; check out a few of our favourites


{01} Cheshire cheese Imitated throughout the world but try the real farmhouse stuff with a mildly salty taste from the vast underground deposits of salt which permeate the county’s pastures. Semi firm with a silky crumbly texture, it was once the only cheese to be served on Royal Navy ships.

{02} Roman walls


The most complete in the UK. A £3m upgrade includes story-telling signage and the restoration of the King Charles Tower from where the monarch is said to have watched his forces defeated at the battle of Rowton Heath in 1645. Walking in the footsteps of Roman soldiers, visitors get a wonderful view of Chester’s Cathedral, Castle, River Dee and Roman Gardens.

{03} The Rows The only example in the world of a medieval second level of shops above those on ground level forming the original covered shopping mall. They date back to the 13th century, although some are much later replacements.

{04} Location, location Easy access and all the benefits of big neighbours Manchester and Liverpool which gives Cheshire residents top level entertainment, Premier League football, a

choice of airports, a rail link to London of less than two hours, and beautiful North Wales hills on the doorstep.

{05} Meet you under the clock – and what a clock! Commissioned in honour of Queen Victoria’s 80th birthday in 1897, the ornate Eastgate Clock stands majestically in the heart of Chester. It is the second most photographed clock in the UK (after Big Ben).

{06} Salt It is, literally, what Cheshire is built on. Huge deposits of salt lie beneath the county and historically brought great wealth and chemical industry jobs. The rock salt mined at Winsford keeps Britain’s roads moving in the worst winters. And uncontrolled brine pumping accidentally formed beautiful flashes (lakes) through land subsidence now used for leisure pursuits.

{07} Black and white Cheshire’s “magpie” houses and Friesian cows. The county has one of the country’s biggest populations of dairy cows to support its milk, cheese and butter rural industry.

{08} Star struck The Lovell telescope’s huge white saucershaped dish dominates the Cheshire Plain for miles around. Once the largest steerable radio telescope in the world, Jodrell Bank Observatory plays an important role in research and was heavily involved with the tracking of space probes at the start of the Space Age.

{09} Curiouser and curiouser Characters from Alice in Wonderland are depicted on a stained glass window of the Nativity scene in Daresbury Parish Church. The Lewis Carroll Memorial Window designed by Geoffrey Webb and dedicated in 1935, is both striking and unusual, attracting visitors from around the world. Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) was born in Daresbury in 1832 and baptised in the parish church where his father was curate.

{10} Real ale There’s a Chester pub crawl to enable beer lovers to re-enact the boozy session enjoyed by the two Cheshire journalists and two friends the night before they flew to Dublin where they conceived the idea for the Campaign for Real Ale. q



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WELCOME TO THE NIGHT! Whether it’s trendy clubs or old-fashioned pubs, you’ll have lots of fun here – with a bit of star-spotting thrown in



hen you’re not busy celebrity spotting in Alderley Edge, why not stop by Drum and Monkey and try their impressive selection of the finest cask and keg ales and an impressive wine list to boot? Meanwhile, over in Chester, a new bar has recently opened its doors this coming March. All Bar One is described as a ‘stylish city bar’ and there are only 50 of them in the UK. This is the perfect place to meet friends, unwind from work or just de brief after a stressful day. In 2016, Chester’s community Garden Quarter got a boost when quirky craft beer pub Goat and Munch opened its doors. It’s small (it has a capacity of just 50) but perfectly formed. Borne out of a desire to enjoy tasty beer, it offers punters locally-brewed beers in an intimate and sociable setting. And they don’t just do beer – there are also wines, cocktails and a limited spirits selection to choose from too. Still a popular attraction in the city is The Church restaurant and bar in Newgate Street – a hugely impressive £1.5m conversion of the disused Grade 2-listed St Andrew’s United Reformed

Church, within touching distance of the famous Roman walls. Also newly opened in 2016 was The Cornerhouse, located not far from Chester train station. Set in a historically-beautiful building, it has a colourful history (the last hanging in Chester was said to have taken place there) but you mustn’t let that put you off. At The Cornerhouse you’ll get extensive and diverse wines, excellent beers, food, live music and comedy, plus overflowing boards of cheese, charcuterie, and paté. Why wouldn’t you pay it a visit? Both Alderley Edge and Chester have The Botanist to offer – an unusual concept unlike anything else you’ll have seen before. The inside setting is a greenhouse where you can enjoy botanical cocktails, craft beers, ales, champagne and wine. Sample the deli-inspired food while listening to live music, and it even has its own private dining room for private parties. With apologies to the brilliantly-run Bar Lounge, first time visitors there could be forgiven for thinking the old joke about country bumpkins’ big night out watching the village traffic lights change has been transferred to more sophisticated surroundings. >> p68



One of the city’s long-standing in-crowd places, Chester’s ‘original cocktail bar’ Bar Lounge is at the corner of Watergate Street and Nicholas Street where a heated outdoor area provides a great view of the alternating red, amber and green lights. And it’s just recently undergone an impressive refurbishment which includes an extended bar that incorporates new dispense and cocktail bars. And speaking of cocktails, cross the road onto Watergate Street and you’ll be spoiled for choice with two must-visit bars. The hidden Prohibition bar, which is so exclusive there are no signs to indicate it exists, is the brainchild of young barman Josh

<< p67

It has just recently undergone an impressive refurbishment which includes an extended bar that incorporates new dispense and cocktail bars

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Parmour who has recently taken over the intimate cocktail bar and has modelled its interior and ambience on the Prohibition era of the 1920s. It’s definitely worth a visit for the cocktails alone, as well as the sultry décor and background music. A little further up the street is Kuckoo, known for their mind-blowing cocktail concoctions such as the Ten Dollar Shake which comes garnished with a Krispy Kreme doughnut, and the Wham Bar Sling, topped with – you guessed it – a Wham bar. Chester has a real claim to be the place where the Campaign for Real Ale has its roots (originally the Campaign for the Revitalisation of Ale but that name didn’t last long). Bars with a real ale following include Old Harkers Arms on the canalside off City Road, The Brewery Tap in Lower Bridge Street which serves its own local brew Spitting Feathers as well as a host of guest beers, and the eccentric corner pub Albion Inn which bans juke boxes, music, stag parties, hen parties, fancy cocktails, chips and children but dogs are welcome in the bar only. As befits its name, there is a patriotic Rule Britannia and First World War theme to the pub. There are lots of great bars in the city, many serving food and providing live music. Upmarket venues include the stylish Oddfellows in Lower Bridge Street which has undergone a major and quirky revamp, with an Alice in Wonderland feel to a dining room with chairs and tables on the ceiling, old fashioned


music and arts venue set in a building designed by Thomas Telford evoking memories of Chester as a once thriving port. No laughing matter for the people behind Chester’s failed comedy club venture, The Laugh Inn, but it has been replaced by The Live Rooms, a much needed live music venue in Station Road, close to the city’s railway station, with occasional comedy nights retained. Themed three hour River Dee cruises on board the Lady Diana and Mark Twain showboats sail every Saturday evening through the summer and autumn, alternating between Mamma Mia and 60s, 70s and, 80s disco music. There’s a barbecue, drinks and dancing on board. Down the road in Ellesmere Port’s Coliseum – next to the designer outlet village Cheshire Oaks – is a multiplex cinema, tenpin bowling, and restaurants offering the tastes of South America, Italy, China and New Orleans. If you want to eat and watch sport on TV then there is also Liverpool FC’s Boot Room sporting restaurant (based on the one at Anfield) which offers surprisingly

good food and service with private booths, massive screens around the room, and a penalty shoot out game outside. Other towns have nightlife aimed mostly at local residents. Knutsford’s Tap & Bottle is an example of this – an independently owned modern bar offering six real ales in casks and a further six key kegs dispensing craft beers and is a popular choice. If you’re in Warrington, check out The Palmyra which is known for its delicious cocktails, and over in Macclesfield, The Swan With Two Necks is one of the most established live music venues in the town. Find both signed and unsigned live bands playing every Friday and Saturday nights, Karaoke on Thursday and Sunday nights, as well as open mic night every Wednesday night – there’s always something going on! Cheshire has plenty to offer but is also perfectly placed for tourists to enjoy all the nightlife that nearby Liverpool and Manchester have. Most residents mix up local nights with visits to the bigger cities on their doorstep. q


typewriters on walls, a replica of a Valkyrie bomber aircraft wing as a reception desk, and 6ft woodland animals as murals in the bar. For serious clubbers there is the popular Cruise nightclub with six themed areas catering for all tastes of music and ages plus regular live acts. High standards are maintained with a dress code and restriction on hen and stag party fancy dressing. Rosie’s, in Northgate Street, hit the headlines when two teenage students won a fancy dress competition there dressed as New York’s twin towers, tastefully adding images of people falling from the burning building. Rosie’s has three dance floors, two chill rooms, six bars, three DJ booths and a very lively atmosphere. Both clubs offer some cheap drink deals to encourage young clubbers in, including the thousands of students at the city’s university. Wednesdays are student nights and can make the city fairly lively at the witching hour. One of the liveliest and most popular venues for live music is Telfords Warehouse in Tower Wharf. The family-run venue bar/ restaurant has evolved into a well known




OUR SPORTING LIFE! Whether you want to watch or take part, there’s always plenty on offer here


orses play a key role in Cheshire’s sporting life – it is claimed there are more horse owners per capita in the county and adjacent Wirral than anywhere else in the UK. Riding schools, clubs, stables and miles of bridleways help satisfy the demand from people who want to view the county’s countryside from the saddle and reflect the interest in gymkhanas, polo and horse racing. Historic Chester Racecourse gives great pleasure to thousands of visitors and also hosts other sporting events, including top polo matches. Prince William played there in a charity match just days after his marriage in 2011. His father and grandfather were regular players at Cheshire Polo Club near Tarporley

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which is the oldest in England and provides an accessible great day out for families. The club boasts a number of successful teams and over 80 playing members, and plays host to over 50 matches every season, including the prestigious HPA National 8 Goal. There are facilities for riders and competitions for all ages. Visitors to Cheshire can take riding lessons, compete, or just hack along the countryside where there are an increasing number of pubs, B&Bs and stabling facilities. Cheshire is wonderfully positioned to visit Premiership football clubs, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton and Stoke, but it also has plenty of its own

clubs, including Crewe, Chester, Northwich and Macclesfield. Both codes of rugby are played at the top level, with Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings in the 13-man code and Sale Sharks regarded as a Cheshire club even though they now play their rugby union at Salford City Stadium. Basketball is hugely popular with the crowds watching Cheshire Phoenix in the top-tier British Basketball League at their Northgate Arena base in Chester. The former Chester Jets were appropriately renamed Phoenix after rising from the ashes of a financial crisis in 2012. Oulton Park race circuit hosts many top


class motor racing and motorcycle racing events, including rounds of the British Touring Car Championship, British Superbike Championship and the British F3/GT Championships. The track opened in 1950s on an estate used by General Patton as an army staging camp prior to the Normandy landings. One of its most famous corners, Knickerbrook, was said to have been given the name after explosive expert and raconteur, Blaster Bates, saw a startled couple running off after he’d been blowing up tree stumps there and he found a lady’s underwear in a ditch. Cheshire has many fine golf courses. Carden Park has two championship courses, one designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son Steve, and the testing Cheshire Course. Delamere Forest Golf Club is a demanding

Both codes of rugby are played at the top level, with Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings in the 13-man code and Sale Sharks regarded as a Cheshire club despite playing in Salford

and picturesque course, one of the best heathland courses in England, although not as many trees as its name implies. Sandiway Golf Club is highly regarded, with tree-lined fairways and lots of doglegs. The course was designed by 1912 Open Champion Ted Ray. Wilmslow Lacrosse Club is one of Britain’s top clubs – British champions many times in the last 15 years – with several international players and providing superb facilities as part of the Phoenix Sports Club. Other strongly-supported sports include road race cycling, hockey, squash, and sailing on several beautiful Cheshire countryside lakes. Just 10 minutes drive from Chester city centre is the Deeside Ice Skating rink which offers coaching for would-be skaters and also is home to The Deeside Dragons ice hockey team. q




GETTING HERE AND GETTING AROUND! Getting to and around this region couldn’t be easier…



hester is located in Cheshire in the heart of the UK about 197m/317km from London. It is the most southerly part of England’s north west region. You can use Chester as a base for visiting Liverpool and Manchester, the Peak District, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Snowdonia.




The nearest airports to Cheshire are Manchester International and Liverpool John Lennon, which are both about 40 minutes by road from Chester.

Travelling to Cheshire by rail is an easy, relaxing, experience, with high speed trains leaving London every

Main motorway links to Cheshire are through the M6, M56 and M53. Route planning information can be found at The AA, RAC, Multimap and Streetmap. You can hire a car at airports and some of the larger towns in and around Cheshire (including Chester, Crewe, Macclesfield and Warrington).

hour for Cheshire’s main line stations. Chester is now only two hours from London where you can connect to local Arriva Trains services to the North Wales coast. Crewe is the northern hub of the rail network with regular connecting services throughout the region. There are inward services from London, Scotland, Derby, Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Bus Cheshire is well served by local bus services throughout the county >> p77



K Chesterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest taxi company

A door-to-door, fast and reliable service

Established for over 50 years


Fully computerised booking and dispatch All drivers fully DBS-checked Private or business taxi hire In-car chip and pin available on request Over 300 excellent cars Professional and courteous drivers Airport and railway station transfers Spacious and comfortable vehicles Executive and chauffeur hire cars


01244 34 34 34


<< p73 and if you 60 or over, or “eligible disabled”, your National Bus Pass will give you free off-peak bus travel throughout the county.

Coach travel All National Express services in Chester now depart from the Bus Exchange, Stand 7 behind the Town Hall. Chester’s Official Visitor Information Centre at the Town Hall is the main ticket agency for National Express in Chester.


By taxi All hackney carriage taxis (black cabs) in Chester are fully licensed, insured, and are wheelchair accessible. They are fitted with hearing loops and can carry at least five people. There are various styles of vehicles used as black cabs some can accommodate up to eight people and have space for larger electric wheelchairs or prams. An increasing number of black cabs also offer credit card facilities and can usually be identified by credit card logo stickers on windows or doors. q




LET’S EXPLORE! If you have some time to spare, why not head slightly further afield and see what lies on Cheshire’s doorstep?


hester is well-connected, and there’s plenty to see just a stone’s throw from the city – and beyond. Chester is a great place to spend time, with lots to see, do and try. But one of the brilliant things about its location is that it’s a fantastic base from which to explore. The National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port is a wonderful waterside setting, featuring flotillas of historic boats and fascinating displays housed in fine Victorian buildings, so you’re

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guaranteed a great day out whatever the weather. Visitors can take a boat trip through industrial landscape, visit the museum blacksmith and explore traditional narrow boats and homes through the ages, complete with cottage gardens. And not far away is the UK’s largest designer outlet, Cheshire Oaks, which comprises more than 145 boutiques, restaurants and cafés. It offers a huge range of stores to suit every taste, and you’ll even be able to pick up a bargain or two.

A short 30-minute drive away in Sandiway, Northwich, is Blakemere Village, a fun destination for families of all age groups. There are daily activities including a children’s play barn, a paint-a-pot and candle making studio, a falconry, pet shop, toy shop and even Segway experiences open 7 days a week. A restaurant serving home-cooked food and snacks completes this fun packed day out, which even includes a free outside adventure play park for little ones. Over in Tattenhall, you’d be a fool not to stop at Cheshire Farm Ice Cream. Set


in the picturesque location between Beeston and Peckforton Castle, the farm’s award-winning real dairy ice cream entices more than half a million visitors every year. But it’s not just about ice cream – the farm also houses ‘Crazy Daisy’s’ amazing indoor adventure play barn, a country kitchen cafe, gift shop, outdoor play areas for all ages, animal corner, quad bikes, mini golf and much more, so there’s definitely something for everyone. And while you’re in Tattenhall you can’t not visit the traditional Cheshire

Candle Making workshops. It boasts ancient candle dipping techniques that remain the same as they did years ago to produce unique, hand-carved candles. You can learn how to make your own by taking lessons from experts, and even do your own pottery painting fridge magnets, key rings and badges. If you’re willing to travel even more further afield, nearby Liverpool has lots to offer. You could get acquainted with 700 wild animals, from baboons to tigers at Knowsley Safari Park, just 8 miles out of Liverpool where the drive-through

lion enclosure is a real highlight. Or make the most of the Fab Four’s hometown by visiting The Beatles Story at Liverpool’s Albert Dock. It’s the world’s largest permanent exhibition purely devoted to the The Beatles and you can get lost in the information and memorabilia of everything to do with The Fab Four. Exhibits include John Lennon’s famous round glasses, George Harrison’s first guitar, signed albums and a replica of the world famous Cavern Club. q




WE’RE OPEN FOR BUSINESS! By Damian Waters, CBI Regional Director for the North West



hen some friends of mine visited from America a few years ago, they took one look at the historic buildings in Chester and convinced themselves that it was all a modern recreation of the old. I’m pleased to say that isn’t the case and that the history of Chester is genuine and something that is enjoyed greatly by tourists and business visitors. Chester can trace its history back to Roman Britain, when it was established as a fort almost 2000 years ago and has been ruled, in turn, by Saxons, Danes and Normans. Whilst many of the visitors to modern day Chester come to experience and sample that wealth of history, many do not appreciate its long and interesting business heritage. The choice of location of the fort for the Roman army wasn’t haphazard and that location has played a vital role in the business heritage of the city. Located on the border of Wales and close to the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, Chester played a vital role in the industrial revolution. Its strategic location ensured that not only were workers available to drive the growth of the

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new industries, but it was also able to exploit the new wealth and grow into one of the most important cities in England. Further back in history (hard to believe now for visitors to the city given that it is seven miles from the coast) Chester was an important port with access to the sea via the River Dee. It was the gateway to Ireland and became home to many wealthy traders around the port. Goods flowed into the city from Germany, Spain, France and further afield; the city became particularly well known for the part it played in the fur trade. However, as the River Dee silted up, the port moved further along the river into the estuary and eventually Liverpool became the dominant player. As the port declined, one would have expected the city to follow suit, but Chester continued to remain a wealthy city. Its location ensured that the landed gentry and wealthy business leaders from nearby Liverpool and Manchester continued to live in the city. During the industrial revolution many wealthy business leaders fled the sprawl and grime of the larger cities in favour of the more affluent Chester. In many ways, that trend has set the scene for modern Chester.

The proportion of manufacturing output in Chester is one of the lowest in the country and the economy is almost entirely dependent on the service sector. However, within a short distance of Chester there is a high dependence on manufacturing (particularly chemicals) and the number of Chester residents engaged in that sector is high. Clearly people are still commuting in much the same manner as those during the Industrial Revolution. In recent years Chester has grown a particular focus on financial services and Chester Business Park is home to a number of large service centres for the country’s biggest banks. In addition to financial services, Chester has also seen good economic growth from real estate services and R&D businesses. Areas that have been identified as those offering good future growth potential such as pharmaceuticals, energy, software, media and creative industries, and other IT services are under represented. However, Chester has a higher than average number of people working in senior management levels and a higher number of people engaged in skilled employment. >> p83


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Chester benefits from having an educated population, with skills significantly higher than the average in the UK and the opportunities to grow new sectors of the economy as a result, are good. New businesses focussing on growth in power, innovation and engineering are well established an offer new employment opportunities. However, the population is, on average, older than the rest of the UK and ageing more quickly; many young people move away from the city to seek opportunities in the wider region or elsewhere in the UK. Chester does suffer from the fact that there are two major cities within very close quarters, namely Liverpool and Manchester. In recent years both have developed highly successful shopping destinations that have drawn people away from Chester. Without being able to compete directly with these cities as a retail destination, Chester’s shopping experience has waned and a number of key retailers have moved out of the city. The city’s location, however, provides benefit. Being close to two very large cities and the ‘gateway’ to North Wales, the city and surrounding region has a high density of distribution companies and networks. Chester is ideally-located for servicing distribution chains both North and South, and East and West. Chester also benefits from being highly-attractive for investment decisions, combining the high educational standards of the population and the beauty of the city, with good communication links. The city also benefits from having higher than average business start up rates and there are a number of vibrant support networks for smaller businesses. A visit to Chester at any time of the year is rewarding; the city if one of the best preserved walled cities in Europe, the retail and business centre is attractive and inspiring and the surrounding country side is some of the best there is. The Romans may well not have been thinking 2,000 years hence when they established their fort here in 79AD, but they certainly chose their location wisely and laid the foundations of a city that still has much to offer and has a vital role to play in the 21st century economy. ❑


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IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO STAY LONGER… People come to Cheshire for many reasons – and stay for a lot more!



he borough of Cheshire East was recently voted the fifth happiest place to live in Britain, and it’s small wonder the county is one of the most desired counties to set up home in; not only does it feature stunning and beautiful landscape countryside, but its location at the heart of the north west means you’re also never far from the bustling cities of Manchester and Liverpool. And Cheshire’s close proximity to North Wales means the coast is also only up the road, so you really are spoilt for choice. Property in the city of Chester can range from quaint terraced houses which ooze history, to super-modern apartment blocks just a stone’s throw from the city centre. Within the city walls, or overlooking the river and racecourse it’s not unusual to find Georgian town houses, stone built cottages and Victorian terraces, the latter of which are popular with

students who want to rent in the city. But if you’re looking for something a bit more rural, the pretty villages of Tarvin, Tarporley, Tattenhall, Kelsall and Malpas are just a short car ride from Chester. All contain excellent local amenities and offer a mixture of older, traditional properties including farms, alongside modern housing – with new developments having been built in all of the villages in recent years. They all feature stunning views of the Cheshire countryside that would appeal to anyone with a love of the outdoors, including Bickerton Hill Mow Cop, Helsby Hill and Thurstaston Common. Unsurprisingly though, the vast diversity of Cheshire’s historic and modern offerings means the county contains some of the highest value property prices outside of the South of England. Alderley Edge, for example, is a beautiful old Cheshire village steeped in history, a firm favourite of the stars (not to mention the glamorous Real

Housewives of Cheshire of course). In the mid-1800s, wealthy cotton barons from Manchester came to the village, fell in love with it and built a number of large mansions on The Edge as their holiday homes, many of which are still standing today. Just like West Cheshire, Alderley Edge is diverse in its properties, boasting both semi detached houses and mansions, 1930s properties, a range of 1960/70 developments of detached homes, as well as modern purpose built apartment developments. With its cycle trails, beautiful walks and fascinating history, if you are passionate about your hobbies, then Cheshire is the place for you. It is a place that is brimming with vitality and whatever you’re looking to buy, there is so much to choose from and you’re guaranteed to find it here. But don’t just take our word for it – explore it yourself, because it’s more than worth it. Happy house hunting. q




Mow Cop Castle, Odd Rode IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK






Welcome to Cheshire  

Unique, beautifully designed, high-quality visitor guide, which is available in leading hotel bedrooms. For those enjoying a break, or stayi...