Birmingham: England’s second largest city

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Hi all, welcome and thank you for coming back to the blog. It’s a new travel location! Over the next few blogs I will be sharing posts from my visit to this pleasantly surprising city. I hope you will enjoy what’s to come.

About Birmingham

Birmingham is situated in the West Midlands in England. It is one of the UK’S major cities and has the nickname of ‘City of a thousand trades’ due to its past central involvement of being one of the most manufacturing places in the world. You can still see some of the old warehouses and factories in and around the city, some which have been renovated into shopping centre’s, apartments and pubs etc.

Birmingham is the second largest city in the United Kingdom after London and is often one of the most overlooked and underrated cities in the UK. In fact, I have on several occasions heard people mistake other cities as being the second city.

It may well be overlooked, but this is a thriving metropolitan city and has a lot to offer such as its spectacular canal networks, parentage of food and cuisine, Art, famous rock music, night-life, cultural intent and more.

Here are some incredible facts about this city

More canals than Venice

Yes that’s right! Myth- Kind of! Birmingham does not have more canals than Venice, but it does have more miles of canals. Birmingham has 35miles of canals while Venice only has 26 miles of canals.

Largest public library in Europe

The library of Birmingham is the largest public library in Europe to date. Not only this, but it has the largest Shakespeare book collection in the world and also has a Victorian Shakespeare room.

Largest Christmas market in the UK

Not only does it have the largest Christmas market in the UK it’s one of the biggest in Europe. The only other two which are larger are Germany and Austria.

The second youngest city in Europe

It is the second youngest city in Europe after Bradford. It has the largest fraction of under 25 year olds whereas Bradford has the largest fraction of under 16 year olds.

Curry capital of the UK

Curry houses started to appear here in the1960s and became considerably popular by the 1970s, it was at this point when the Balti dishes started to appear. It has been considered as the birthplace of the Balti however, it has been hugely debated that the Balti was invented in Pakistan. Either way it is considered as the curry capital of the UK with many curry and Balti houses, and not forgetting their famous Balti Triangle wich consists of over 50 Balti houses.

Inspiration for the popular tv show (Peaky Blinders)

The show tells the stories of the real peaky blinders gang who originated from Birmingham and operated on the streets here. Now there are many inspired peaky blinders themed experiences to enjoy in the city.

Thank you for reading

Until next time

stay blessed 🙏🏾

Natalie x

Chester England: Along the city walls

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Hi all! Hope everyone is keeping well and staying safe.

I’m proud to finally announce this will be my final blog on Chester, unless I visit again that is. I hope it has been helpful to anyone who has plans to visit here. It really is an incredible city to explore and I’ve enjoyed creating a little space on my blog for it. And to everyone that has stopped by to have a read…Thank you so much for your continued support 🙏🏾

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A bit about the history

Chester boasts the oldest, longest and complete city walls in Britain, some parts date back to to over 2000 years old.

The walls were built to protect the city and started to be built by the Romans between 70 and 80 (CE) when the fortress of Deva Victrix was established.

I really enjoyed walking along the walls because it gave me incredible views over the city whilst also giving me a great insight into the long history of the city. The walls are 2 miles long and took me approximately two hours to walk around, but I’d say they could be walked in less than an hour if you didn’t want to exit at the sights.

Attractions

on route you will get to see many of the cities attractions such as: Chester castle, Eastgate Clock , Chester Roman Gardens , Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower, Water Tower, Pemberton’s Parlour, Phoenix Tower. Bridgegate, Watergate and the famous Chester rows , just to name a few of the incredible attractions.

The medieval shopping rows are two tired black and white half timbered unique buildings used as a shopping arcade.

A view that can be seen standing at Eastgate clock

This tower is allegedly the tower where King Charles watched his troops being defeated in the Battle of Rowton in 1645. However, historians suggest this couldn’t have been possible because the battlefield can not be viewed at this point. They also suggest it is more likely he was stood on a tower of Chester Cathedral and not this one🤷🏿‍♀️. Who Knows! Either way, it’s a cool place to stand for a great view over Chester.

I’ve completely forgotten the name of this tower and I can’t seem to find it in any of my research attempts to find it, but how cool is It?

There are many incredible views from Chester walls, but i won’t give them all a way here😉

Thank you for stopping by

stay blessed

Natalie x

Chester England: This place gave me the shivers

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St John the Baptist Church sits in a beautiful location on top of a cliff overlooking the River dee. It was founded in around the late 7th century by the Anglo Saxons, and used to be the former cathedral of chester in the early middle ages.

Church ruins

it operates today as a fully functioning parish church, but also features a number of ruins which used to be part of the Church which were left in ruin after the dissolution of the monasteries.

The spooky coffin

Engraved in the walls is the most bizarre phenomena your most likely to see here. This coffin bearing the words Dust to Dust!

I tried to find out the story behind this, but kept coming across myth stories such as ‘it’s the coffin of a murdered monk’

As much as we all love a good dramatic story the most believable was: It’s a rare survival of a medieval coffin that was discovered during renovation or grave digging in or around the 1840s.

What is unclear is that no-one seems to know why it has been positioned here. Maybe it’s was to attract tourists or to create some made up mythological stories. Who knows! But what I can say is, this is a bit of a spooky place and the coffin only adds to it. I came here alone and can honestly say it sent shivers down my spine besides this, I thought it was a great place to experience. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go inside the church as it was closed at the time of visiting.

Location

if you would like to visit here you can find it at: Vicars Ln, Chester, CH1 1SN

Thanks for stopping by

Stay blessed

Natalie x

Chester, England: Western Europe’s only portrayal of a Roman goddess

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I can’t believe I stumbled across this while wondering around Chester! Sometimes I love nothing more than getting of the beaten track. I’m so grateful and thankful to have a wondering curious mind and a real zest for life otherwise, I would never stumble across amazing things like this.

At first I thought it was a hobbit house, but it turned out to be the site of Minerva’s shrine, a roman goddess. It is said, that quarrymen carved this shrine to Minerva more than 2000 years ago. The quarrymen would come here to worship and pay respect to the goddess as well as praying for success and safety.

shrines were very common in the ancient world, but many of them have been claimed and this is the only one in its original site in Western Europe, as recorded by Historic England.

The shrine is a little worse for wear, but you can still see the outline figure of her holding a spear.

Location

If you want to visit, it’s located in Edgar’s field. Go across the old Dee Bridge across the river, Edgar’s field is on the right next to a pub called the Ship Inn.

Whilst here enjoy the beautiful surroundings nearby

Chester, England: The River Dee, A Bouncy Bridge and a Roman Park

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The River Dee

As I exited the bottom of the Roman gardens I come to the River Dee. I had originally planned to buy a ticket at the quayside for a half an hour cruise along the river, but got distracted when I noticed the beautiful Queens park suspension bridge. Instead, I headed towards the bridge. I know it’s a suspension bridge, but I didn’t quite expect it to be as bouncy as it was to walk along. In-fact, I almost lost my footing on it! Anyway, it was well worth the the distraction, especially at the stop and stare moment mid way. The views are stunning!

Queens park suspension bridge

I did plan to take my cruise after exploring this bridge, but again was distracted when I seen people walking into an entrance. I wondered where the entrance led to, so decided to have a nosey. The entrance turned out to be the entrance to Grosvenor Park.

Grosvenor Park

Grosvenor Park dates back to 1867 and is one of the UK’s most perfect and most beautiful examples of a victorian Park.

The park is touched up with neatly lined trees along with ornaments, statues, flower beds and a number of grade II listed features.

It also features a miniature railway and playground area. It costs £1.50 for adults, £1 for children, or £3.50 for two adults and three children.

Other features include a cafe which offers drinks and light snacks along with toilets.

All three of the places mentioned are within walking distance of the city centre, so definitely worth visiting.

I never did end up going back to the boat trip. I ended up being distracted again by something else ha. I’ll save that for my next blog.

Thanks for reading stay blessed 🙏🏾

Chester, England: The largest amphitheatre in Britain

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I didn’t know it was an amphitheatre

I was surprised to learn that Chester had an amphitheatre whilst researching places to go before my trip. The funny thing is, I actually realised I’d seen it before on a previous trip a few years earlier but, I didn’t know it was an amphitheatre. It didn’t look like the amphitheatres I’m used to seeing. Having said this, I think that’s what makes it quite unique.

A bit about the history

It’s dated right back to the 1st century AD and is the largest amphitheatre to be discovered in Britain. It was used for gladiatorial combat, cockfighting and bull baiting in front of a large crowd of up to 8,000 people. It was first discovered underground in the 1970s.

The complications

you’ll have noticed it doesn’t look that big in the picture. That’s because only two fifths of it are visible, the rest is under a brick wall. Archaeologists were unable to excavate the rest of it due to other buildings that have been built over it. Some of these buildings are important in their own right such as Dee House, an 18th century house which sits over most of the covered site. Authorities won’t give permission for it’s removal and have actually protected Dee House. It’s such a shame, especially since Dee House has been empty since 1993. Either way I’d say it’s still impressive and worth a visit and you’ll be able to say you have visited Britain’s largest discovered amphitheatre to date👍🏾.

It’s free to visit and you can find it at Little St John Street, CH1 1RE

Thanks for reading 🙂

stay safe

Natalie x

Chester, England: A Roman garden

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Chester’s Roman Garden is located just outside the city walls. It’s a place I would highly recommend visiting. Its made up of finely sculptured building pieces from the Roman legionary Of Deva, collected and unearthed from around the city. Some of the pieces are from important military establishments, including part of a Roman bath from a former main baths building, which had been of great importance of the Chester Fortress.

Address

The garden is located at Pepper St, Chester CH1 1QQ and is free to enter.

Chester, England: The second most photographed clock in England

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Just a few steps away from Chester Cathedral, (mentioned in my last post), is the second most visited clock in England after Big Ben.

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Eastgate clock is another one of Chester’s most popular treasures not be missed on a visit here.

The clock is located on the gateway which used to be the entrance of the Roman Fortress of Deva.

The clock was placed here in 1899 to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, which had taken place two years earlier.

Thanks for stopping by.

until next time

Natalie x

Chester, England: Treasured Cathedral

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My first stop in Chester was the beautiful gothic style cathedral and its stunning gardens. Unfortunately, on this occasion I was unable to visit inside due to covid-19 restrictions. I have actually been inside on a previous visit, but unfortunately I do not have any great pictures of the inside to share with you guys. But, I did manage get some shots of the outside, in-between avoiding a man who kept trying to hand me a squirrel 😅. One thing you will notice here is, there are so many squirrels, and they don’t seem bothered about getting close to you.

A bit about the cathedral

The Cathedral had previously been the Abbey Church of a Benedictine Monastery, which had been dedicated to Saint Werburgh. It is now dedicated to Christ and The Virgin mary. It is also seat to The Arch Bishop Of Chester and has been since 1541.

Some of its oldest parts date right back to 1093 and it still has some of its Norman features from when the Norman’s built it. Although, from 1250 the church was built to be a gothic style.

Although, it is now restored their is still some places where you can see where it had been destroyed and defaced in the past.

If you visit Chester, don’t miss visiting inside this stunning cathedral It’s located in the heart of chester at St Werburgh St, Chester, CH1 2DY. For more information visit here

Until next time, thanks for reading 🙂

stay safe

Natalie x

Chester, England: The almost roman capital city of Britain

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I vsited this fascinating city back in April of this year. The visit came after discovering the city may have been, or at least planned by the Romans to become their capital city. There has been a growing speculation of this over the years after the discovery of a Roman maps for the city.

I wouldn’t mind, but I’ve been here before and didn’t realise just how historical this place is.

A bit about Chester

Chester is situated in the northwest of England. It was founded as a Roman fortress in the 1st century A.D.

It’s captivating beauty and distinctive character makes it one of the UK’s well liked destinations.

The place where the Romans trooped to war, the Vikings caused destruction and the Normans defeated the Anglo Saxons. And with that being said, you’ll probably know there is plenty of rich history in this little city.

Over the next few posts I will be sharing the places I come across whilst here.

Until next time☺

Natalie x