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December, 2017

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The historic city of Chester is the perfect place for a mini-break. Unlike many cities in the UK, it has retained much of its original character in the city centre. Cobbled streets and fantastic 16th century buildings hide quirky little alleys and steep, stone steps up to open galleries fronting more little shops and businesses. Look out for The Boot, an old-style drinking pub with great atmosphere and good prices, up steps opposite Debenhams.

Walk the city wall for the best views of the town, surrounding countryside and the River Dee, and the renowned Chester Racecourse. Lots of information boards along the wall give some of the history of the city, and it is worth visiting the fascinating museum in a small tower complete with the Plague Guard at the door (like the one in Obidas on our River Cruise visit to Portugal).

Follow the river past the racecourse and pumping station, lots of bars and cafes along the way, to meet the Union Canal basin. We love canals as it is generally flat walking through varied landscapes, industrial areas, or peaceful waterside cottages. Great to walk on a bright, sunny winter morning although there is no action on the locks, of course.

Christmas and New Year are the best times to visit, still lots of people around but not as crowded as Race Days and the height of the summer holiday season. We missed the Christmas Market, but still beautiful Christmas decorations, sparkling lights reflected everywhere, especially on a drizzly evening as a misty moon appears above the old clock bridge.

We enjoyed four days here and would love to come back to explore further – maybe when it is a bit warmer.

Jacqueline Jeynes

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