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 ๐Ÿ˜…. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 timeโ˜บ

Natalie x

York England: Sisters take York

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After our two and a half hour tour we were given some free time for lunch and to explore some more.

Sister antics

Whilst everyone gathered around the tour guides to be pointed in the direction of landmarks and sites, we asked to be pointed in the direction of the bars. We were in agreement that it was important we got our priorities right to seek wine๐Ÿคท๐Ÿฟโ€โ™€๏ธ.

We had been so excited to take this trip together over the last week and having just got out of lockdown, we were admittedly a little animated on this day. We had laughed and giggled at the back of the coach all the way here, turning answers to questions in the tour quiz into our own private little jokes. It wasn’t any different on the tour either. I don’t think either of us had heard much of what the tour guides said in the whole two hours.

Spoilt for choice

I’ve never been anywhere where in my life with so many choices of stunning looking pubs, bars and restaurants. We were well and truly spoilt for choice. In the end we settled with The Old White Swan Pie House because it fit everything we were looking for. A nice old traditional English pub, vegetarian frendly menu and of course nice wine.

We both ordered the Lentil cottage pie and a bottle of their white house wine. Everything was perfect and very well priced

Not only was the food delicious but, the pub is an historic place and is said to be one of York’s oldest pubs. The pub is a collection of ancient buildings with parts dating right back to the 16th century with interesting features. I would highly recommend this place.

We went for a stroll around some of the back streets and less busy areas

we walked by these pretty residential streets

And York Minster Conference and Banqueting Centre

York Minster Conference and Banqueting Centre is the origins of St. Williams College dating back to the 15th century.

Ouse Sightseeing River Cruise

We took a cruise tour down the river. The tour lasted around 45mins and cost ยฃ11.95 per adult. We had a great captain/guide who had the worst jokes ever, but he was very knowledgeable and had some interesting information about York.

Quirky Place

We managed to sneak in some more drinks at this quirky pub before heading back to our coach.

Conclusion

I hope my York posts have been helpful to anyone who has plans to visit here. York has by far been my favourite UK city to visit up to date. My only regret is not having a longer visit as one day is certainly not long enough to visit this incredible city. However, I do plan to visit again in the near future.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

York England: Oh, What a Shambles!

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My favourite part of our day trip tour of York was walking through the shambles.

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The shambles is known as the most popular medieval street in England. It was everything I had imagined and more! With its stuck out buildings and narrow cobbled streets, this truly felt like we were on the set of a Harry Potter film or inside the pages of a story book. In fact, It was the inspiration for the film version of Diagon Alley.

A bit about the history

There is only one surviving butchers here now but, the shambles was the street of the butchers. Cattle, pigs and sheep would be brought here from the markets to be slaughtered. The carcass of the animals would be dragged into the street and put on the benches to be cut, then the meats would be displayed on the hooks and shelves to sell, a number of the shops still have the meat hooks and shelves. Can you imagine how bloody and gutsy this area must have looked? I don’t really think I would like to! However, this is where the name come from as people would say ‘Oh what a shambles’ It has had a number of names in the past but by 1426 it was known as The Great Flesh Shambles, but was shortened over time.

Meat was sold here in this way until around 1939 when the outbreak of war led to it being stopped.

Many of the buildings here date back to 1350-1475

York Minster: The largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe

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One of our tour stops was York Minster, after all you can’t visit York without seeing its most popular landmark.

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The history in brief

York Cathedral is the cathedral’s commonly known name, but it is officially the Cathedral and Metropolitcal Church of St Peter. The first original Church on this site was a temporary wooden church built by King Edwin of Northumbria. The church was built after King Edwin, who was in control of York, married Princess Ethelburga of Kent who persuaded him to convert to Christianity as part of the marriage deal. The church was built for the purpose of King Edwin’s baptism in 627.

After his baptism, Edwin ordered for the church to be rebuilt in stone structure, although he never actually got to see it complete because he was killed in battle in 633. The church was supposedly completed in 640 under King Oswald some time after Saint Paulinus helped King Edwin’s widow and her children back to Kent. The church was then dedicated to St Peter.

In 732 the first Archbishop of York was recognised by the pope.

In 741 the church was burnt to the ground and Ecgbert the first Archbishop of York re-built and designed the new lofty structure.

The stone saxon church was ransacked by William the conqueror’s forces in 1069, he then ordered his appointed archbishop to rebuild a Norman Cathedral on the site. It took Archbishop Thomas 20 years to complete the Cathedral. This cathedral was badly damaged in a fire in 1137, this time Archbishop Thomas’s successor Archbishop Roger Pont L’Eveque started to remodel the seating area and chamber in 1154. All the work was completed by 1175 with an addition of two western towers.

The Gothic style church of today took 250 years to build, and was built between 1220 and 1472.

Interesting facts about York Minster

The Cathedral has its own policing The police force was established after a religious fanatic set the church on fire on the 2nd of February 1829, and has had a police force ever since.

Some of its roof was designed by children A children’s programme called Blue Peter hosted a competition to design a roof in 1984 during restoration of the cathedral. The winning designs were art inspired by Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, the raising of Mary Rose and a whale and diver.

The first black Archbishop of the Church Of England led services here Dr. John Sentamu became the first black Archbishop in the church of England in 2005. He became the Archbishop of York and led the services here up until June 2020.

It costs ยฃ15,000 a day to keep it open We already mentioned the police force but, imagine the cost of heating, lightning and all the other staff.

Its apparently haunted. With York having the reputation of one of Europe’s most haunted cities, it’s probably hardly surprising to hear this. One of the many story’s that pops up is, a man is often seen sitting in the pews.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about York Minster if your thinking of visiting click here for more information and tickets.

Thanks for stopping by

Natalie x

York England: York’s Chocolate History

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Chocolate first arrived in Britain in the 17th century in the form of a drink. London was the first place to have a chocolate house in 1657. It was the place where men went to drink chocolate, gamble and chat amongst each other .

The first ever solid chocolate bar produced in Britain was by J.S. Fry & Son’s from the city of Bristol in 1847, followed by Cadbury’s in 1849 then Rowntree’s in 1935.

York’s Chocolate Story

On one of our tour stops we stopped outside York’s Chocolate Story a museum and popular visitor attraction. We didn’t go inside, but had a briefing on the story about the Rowntree’s brand from our tour guide. However, I would most definitely love to pay a visit next time to do the interactive tour and chocolate tasting๐Ÿ˜‹.

Rowntree’s was founded in 1862 in York by Henry Isaac Rowntree. After financial difficulties, he was joined by his brother Joseph Rowntree who turned the company around and the brand become Rowntree & Co.

The Rowntree brand went on to develop some of the UK’s first solid chocolate and most favourable chocolate bars such as Kit Kat, Aero, Smarties, rolo and Quality Street etc.

Rowntree’s was purchased by the global company Nestle in 1988, who have since re-branded many of the products under their own brand name.

I suddenly have a sweet tooth and feel the need to go and raid the kitchen cupboard, so until next time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Natalie x

York England Part 3: York’s Open Air Museum

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The third stop on our tour was York Museum Garden’s. I refer to it as the open air museum because essentially that’s what it is, a collection of buildings and treasures out of doors. In addition to this, it is surround by beautiful botanical gardens and wildlife.

The History

The museum garden was founded by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society which had been created in 1822 by royal assent. It was then when they started to prepare the beautiful botanical gardens to house their collections.

The buildings in the garden’s that make up this collection are:

St Mary’s Abbey

St Mary’s Abbey is the most popular, it was built in 1088 by the Benedictine order in York.

Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of the other buildings because I accidentally deleted them and had no back up to retrieve them ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Abbey walls and gateway walls

The walls around the Abbey were built in the 1260s

The Hospitium

This would have been like what we know as today, as a guest house to the monastery.

Ruins of St Leonards Hospital

This was the largest medeival hospital in England

York Observatory

This was built in 1832 and 1833 and is the oldest in Yorkshire. People have been coming here to gaze at the night skies for thousands of years. The observatory is still used for this purpose today. It is ran by volunteers who run it in the evening. Here you can learn about the history and astronomy in York as well as, gaze at the skies through the cooke telescope.

Roman Fortress

The Romans built this fortress to house over 5000 men, it was built in the 3rd and 4th century.

Wildlife

There are over 40 species of birds that live in the garden’s.

Birds Of Prey Shows

From February to October, the shows are ran 7 days a week from 11 to 4pm. The show includes a variety of different birds and you can hold them for ยฃ4 ๐Ÿ˜

They were kept on chains!!!

Not sure how long these birds are kept here on chains, but we certainly were not happy to see it regardless.Keeping them on chains so they don’t fly away is just simply cruel in my opinion ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ˜“

This isn’t something I would support however, it is a travel blog, therefore I always mention anything I discover along the way.

Having said this, this is a wonderful place to visit and it’s free!!! So don’t miss it if you do pay a visit to York.

Opening Times

7 days a week 10.30am to 6pm

York England Part 2: The Longest Medeival Town Walls In England

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Our next stop on our walking tour was York’s City walls.

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York city centre is surrounded by the longest medieval town walls in England at just over two miles long. A complete walk around the entire length of the walls would approximately take around two hours and is completely free.

The walls are mainly dated from the 12th and 13th century and were built to keep the city from being invaded by the Scots. Although, by the 18th century the walls were no longer needed for defence.

By 1800 the walls were in poor condition for that time, which led to corporation applying for an act of parliament to pull them down. At the time, York had a strong influential opposition that objected to this and by the 19th century corporation backed down and the walls were ordered to stay.

in the 19th century work was carried out for restoration of the walls for public access, although it was too late for some parts, but thankfully substantial portions remain.

Check Points

I would highly recommend walking the full length of the walls as they lead you to many sights.

There are check points for guidance around the walls which will lead to:

Barker Tower

Micklegate Bar

Baile Hill

Clifford Tower

Fishergate Tower

Fishergate Bar

Walmgate Bar

The Red Tower

Layerthorpe Bridge

Monk Bar

Bootham Bar

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay safe

Natalie x

York, England Part 1: Off with their heads!

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York is a historical medieval city in the North of England located between London and Edinburgh. It is often described as one of the UK’s most treasured and loved cities. In fact, some would even regard this as England’s number one city. The city is often voted number one in surveys as the most beautiful cities in the UK.

Not only is it beautiful, it has incredible history dating right back to 8000 and 7000 BC, and this can clearly be seen right throughout the city.

First stop: Micklegate Bar

The first stop we made was to one of the gateway’s to the city. There are four main gateways, Bootham Bar, Monk Bar, Micklegate Bar and Walmgate Bar. The gateway we entered through was Micklegate Bar, the most important of the four. For centuries monarchs had stopped here to ask for permission from York’s Lord Mayor to enter into the city.

Dating back to the 12th century Micklegate Bar has seen a gruesome and bloody history. Decapitated heads of traitors and rebels were once displayed on spikes at the top as a warning for anyone entering the city. Some of the victims heads included Sir Henry Purcey and Richard, Duke of York. Richard The Duke Of York was one of the most, if not powerful man in the UK until he literally lost his head.

Ghost Stories

There has been many ghostly encounters reported, mainly from Sarah Brocklebank. Sarah was the young daughter of a man who had been an 18th century gate keeper. Apparently she had lost her father’s keys to Micklegate which resulted in him loosing his job. There have since been several reports of people seeing her inside Micklegate Bar and around the surrounding area.

People have also reported seeing glowing eyes at the top of the Bar ๐Ÿคค

Until next time.

Natalie x

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

I finally visited York, UK

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I finally to visit York! Well, I say this because I’ve actually been to York on several occasions, but it has always been to visit family members. My family live in the beautiful countryside of York, tho this is quite some distance from the centre of York, so I had never actually seen this incredible city.

I travelled here with my sister (My partner in crime) which was refreshing since I’m usually travelling alone.

The tour company we travelled with

We travelled by a coach with a company called Smile Adventures. The company specializes in day and weekend tours around the uk from Manchester. The coach picked us up at 8am in the city centre. On arrival, we had a small tour of the city for around 2hours then we were left to explore by ourselves. The full day trip cost around ยฃ32 at the time of booking.

I would highly recommend this company.

I look forward to sharing the adventures of this trip in the next few posts.

Natalie x