Archive for the ‘Chester’ Category

Chester: The United Kingdom’s Prettiest City!

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
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If someone asked you to name the prettiest cities in Europe what would be the first names to pop into your head? It would be reasonable to assume that the majority of people would produce a list topped by usual suspects like Paris, Rome and Venice. However in a survey that was run by USA Today there were some real surprises, although none more so than the news that all three of the above were beaten by Chester!

That’s right, the North-West’s hidden gem finished in a more than reputable fifth position and in the end was the only city in the United Kingdom to make the top ten! Of course here at Sykes Cottages we are more than aware of why Chester deserves this accolade and have decided to list some of the city’s prettiest attractions so can see for yourself!

The Rows

The Rows, Chester

Via. Flickr

No trip to Chester would be complete without paying a visit to the famous Rows, one of the city’s most iconic and unique attractions. They are a series of two-tier medieval galleries around the city centre that have become home to many of Chester’s bustling boutiques and independent shops. However thanks to their old fashioned charm, coupled with the black and white timber façades, the Rows have come to typify the character of the city and offer far more than just a bit of retail therapy.

Chester Cathedral

Chester City Cathedral

Via. Flickr

Chester Cathedral also plays a massive role in making the city one of Europe’s prettiest. Thanks to a rich and varied history that dates way back to the tenth century, the building contains some of the city’s most stunning architecture and draws in visitors from all around the world. Moreover, with Gothic columns, wood carvings from the fourteenth century and Norman arches all rolled into one, Chester Cathedral forms the perfect backdrop to the city centre.

Eastgate Clock

Eastgate Clock, Chester

Via. Flickr

Arguably Chester’s most iconic landmark and the centrepiece of the city, Eastgate Clock is reputed to be the second most photographed clock in the United Kingdom with only Big Ben being snapped more often. Although it was installed all the way back in 1899 to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, Eastgate Clock remains a popular as ever with people flocking from all over to see it perched on top of the world-famous city walls.

Hopefully after reading this you’ll have some sort of idea as to why Chester is so attractive to American tourists. However, we all know that there is no substitute for the real thing so why don’t you book yourself a holiday cottage in Chester with Sykes and experience it all first hand this winter.

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Celebrate Real Ale On An Autumn Short Break

Friday, October 25th, 2013
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For many of us, there’s nothing quite like sinking a cool pint on a Friday evening after a long week at work. But if you’re tired of the bland processed beers of the big brewers and are looking for something a little tastier come knocking off time, say no to Mr Fosters and Monsieur Artois this weekend and opt for a glass of thoroughbred real ale. The UK is blessed with over 1,000 different real ale brewers, each producing a handful of distinctive, naturally brewed ales that are bursting with locally grown, traditional ingredients. Sadly, many pubs no longer serve proper British beer, so finding them can sometimes be a little tricky. That’s why, Sykes Cottages have come up with a shortlist of some of the best real ale festivals taking place around the UK over the coming weeks, where you’ll be able to sip, scrutinise and savour hundreds of real ales. And where better to start our real ale odyssey than with the home of Sykes HQ, Chester.

Chug! Chug! Chug! In Chester

Real Ale Festival

Via Flickr

Head down to The Guildhall in Chester this weekend and treat yourself to a lavish offering of 50+ ales at the 2013 Chester Real Ale Festival. Organisers have amassed a superb stockpile of local and national beers for thirsty revellers to enjoy, including the Kelham Island Wild Rider, Wentworth Yankee Doodle and Liverpool Organic Pale Ale. Plus, there’ll be hot food, live music and ample space for a good shimmy should the ale flow a little too freely. Tickets are just £6.00 on the door on Friday and Saturday, so come on down and spend an evening in the company of some of the North West’s most beloved beers, ciders and perries.

Knock a couple back in Norfolk

Real Ale Festival

Via Flickr

Over the coming week, the Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) will be hosting the 36th Norwich Beer Festival in the city’s St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’ Halls. Merrymakers will have to choose their favourite tipple from a daunting selection of over 200 real ales and ciders, making the event one of the biggest and most prominent on the CAMRA beer festival calendar. For a nominal £5.00 entry fee, avid ale fans can tuck into the cream of East Anglia’s crop of real ales, including Wolf Brewery’s ‘Granny Wouldn’t Like It’ and Humpty Dumpty Brewery’s ‘Bad Egg’. There’ll be plenty of entertainment and a good spread of local grub on offer too, so take up your tankard and enjoy a great evening in Norfolk.

Sink a pint by the sea in Cornwall

Real Ale Festival

Via Flickr

For your chance to chow down on a crumbly Cornish pasty and a real ale beside the sea this weekend, why not visit the Cornwall Beer Festival which is taking place at Falmouth’s Princess Pavilion over the next two days. Volunteers at the event will be serving up a plethora of around 200 splendid beverages including real ale, fruit wines and continental bottled beers, all of which can be enjoyed within a stone’s throw from the stunning Cornish Coast. Plus, there’s a trove of regional entertainment taking place during the festival, including live music and traditional Morris dancing, giving you the opportunity to get a real flavour for the culture and spirit of Cornwall.

Enjoy a pint or two on a Sykes Cottage holiday!

Real Ale Festival

Via Flickr

If you’ve been inspired to wet your whistle at one of the real ale festivals mentioned in this post, gather up those leftover holiday days and plan a last minute cottage holiday in the UK. Beer festivals are a great way to mingle with like-minded ale devotees, so raise a glass to the humble British pint this year with an autumn short break from Sykes Cottages. Cheers!

Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Sunday Snapshots: Chester Races

Sunday, May 26th, 2013
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Is there any better way to spend a summer afternoon than dressed to the nines, cool glass of Pim’s in hand, enjoying a day at the races? Here in England it is a summer institution and one that every visitor to the country should try to experience.

4 way finish at the Chester Racecourse

via. Flickr

The Chester Racecourse, as known as the Roodee, is said to be the oldest racecourse in England. The 1.6 km flat track is also the smallest in England and is just a short stroll from the centre of the city. Don’t have a ticket? Don’t worry, you can stand on the edge of the Roman walls and catch a glimpse of the festivities.

The next race at the Roodee takes place on June 8, 2013 and there are still tickets available via the Chester Racecourse website. Snap up a couple of tickets and see if you can win big at the races!

Spending the whole weekend in Chester? Click here to find the perfect holiday cottage for a weekend at the Chester races.

A Local’s Guide to a Romantic Weekend in Chester

Thursday, September 13th, 2012
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The Sykes Cottages main office is located in the beautiful Roman city of Chester, one of the best cities in the UK for taking an autumn short break. We may be a little out of the way up here in the North West of England, but after one visit to Chester you’re sure to fall in love.

Speaking of love, if you’re looking for the perfect location for a romantic autumn break, than look no further. The romance of this compact city is undeniable. Spend your days exploring the city walls, shopping along the historic Rows, and strolling along the picturesque River Dee with the one you love. A weekend break doesn’t get much better than this.

Things to See in Beautiful Chester

Chester Cathedral

Chester Cathedral

The city of Chester is the perfect size to explore over a weekend. It’s compact nature makes it the optimal size to explore on foot, wandering its cobbled alleys hand in hand with the one you love.

No trip to Chester is complete without a walk around the Roman city walls, the most complete Roman and medieval defensive town wall system in Britain. If you follow the city walls around for the full 2 mile circuit you’ll take in many of the most popular destinations in the city, including the Chester Racecourse, Chester Cathedral, and the Eastgate Clock. A new app called Walls Quest has been designed to make your Chester City Walls exploration even more fun and informative and is available for free. Download Walls Quest before you head out see if you’re up to the challenge.

Chester Cross

The lovely architecture of Chester

The city walls conveniently take you along the banks of the beautiful River Dee, which makes the perfect place to stop for a snack. Treat yourselves to an ice cream before renting a boat. There are few better ways to spend the afternoon than gliding along the calm waters of the river, just relaxing and enjoying each others’ company.

Where to Eat in Chester

Once you’ve finished your tour of the city walls and boat ride along the River Dee you’re sure to be ready for a good meal. So where do the locals go for the best food in Chester. There are no shortage of great cafes, restaurants, and bars to choose from, no matter what your taste. For a nice relaxed lunch or afternoon snack head to the Blue Moon Cafe along the River Dee, or The Row’s Cafe in the city centre. You can’t beat the famous Grosvenor Hotel for afternoon tea, featuring delicate sandwiches, decadent scones and cream, and melt in the mouth french pastries. This is the definition of indulgence.

Views from the River Dee

Views from the River Dee

Looking for the perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner? Chester isn’t short of them either. The Garden by Simon Radley at Oddfellows on Lower Bridge Street offers a unique dining experience, specializing in Mediterranean food that can either be enjoyed in their elegant dining room or outside in the beautifully designed courtyard.

Autumn views in Chester

Autumn views in Chester

If you happen to be coming back from the races than Convivio Bar & Restaurant is the perfect place to stop for a romantic meal. The food at Convivio is said to be just as good as any you will find in Italy, which is really quite the compliment! Here they focus on using the best possible ingredients, and prepare their own bread and ravioli right on site. Yum!

Where to Stay in Chester

There is no better place to stay in Chester than in one of Sykes Chester holiday cottages. With city centre apartments, riverside homes, and country cottages Sykes are sure to have the perfect cottage for your romantic city break. You could even choose to stay in nearby North Wales and have the best of both world – the beauty of the Welsh countryside and the city attractions of Chester.

Stop thinking about an autumn holiday, and start planning! Find a great selection of holiday cottages that are available for rent this weekend, or take a little bit more time and find the perfect cottage for a romantic autumn getaway for two. Either way, you’re sure to have a wonderful time.