The Sandstone Trail

The ancient roman city of Chester is right on the borderlands between England and Wales, as such it has a rich multinational history which is still prevalent in the scenery and architectural landmarks, all this with the landscape results in a lot of awesome land to trek around.

Wales doesn’t hog all the great hiking trails, you have the killer opportunity to see the best of Chester’s surroundings in one fell swoop with the sandstone trail.

This trek will take you on a route from which you will see castles, rocky cliffs, rolling hills and fields of green. The route follows Sandstone Ridges running from north to south. Leading from Frodsham in Central Cheshire all the way over to Whitchurch over the Shropshire border. The Path is around 40 years old, also having been extended in 1990.

The trail is named for the gorgeous sandstone rock formations and cliffs which snake throughout the area. These hulking orange walls looks straight out of the Taklamakan Desert, and are quite an extraordinary sight to be hiking beside in the county of Cheshire.

When you reach the higher ground you’ll be treated to sweeping views across the Mersey. Either end of the trail you’ll find a stone obelisk outside Bears paw Public House and a 2m Sandstone archway at the entrance of the Jubilee Park carpark.

This is a fantastic trek to see many sites of the borderlands. This is a good trek to catch these sites.

Along with way you will see points of interests including the Woodhouses hill fort – an iron age fort. There are areas to enjoy like Alvanley cliffs, Delemere forest, Beestone Castle, Burwardsley Villiage, Bickerton Hills and Maiden Castle. Other nice sites include Wharton & Willeymoor locks on the Shropshire Union Canal, Grindley Brook. Towards the end of your journey you may (on a clear day) catch a glimpse of the liver building and the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool.

In Early October they hold the ‘Sandstone Trail Races’. The current record for the whole traverse is held by Duncan Harris of Chester Tri, in 4 hours, 10 minutes. The women’s best time is held by Caroline Hall of Wirral AC in 5 hours, 04 minutes.

below-rawhead

Events in Chester & the Surrounding Areas Coming Soon

Events in ChesterAs Spring starts to spring to life and the grey skies start to light up again, there are few better places to spend a lovely summer’s day out in than Chester and the Roman city has more than enough events to make your time away a great occasion.

Here are just a few of the premier events lined up over the coming months:

Nantwich Jazz, Blues and Music Festival – 17th to 21st of April
Situated in the market town of Nantwich which is typically always buzzing with something to do even if there isn’t a big event on, this much loved music festival will be a welcome form of entertainment to those who like jazz and blues: two of the oldest and most revered genres of music around.

Across the area, you can expect to see many musicians performing at pubs and clubs over what is bound to be a great few days.

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre – 27th of June to 24th of August
Although it’s only been going for four short seasons, the attractions available at this theatre during its open period over summer have made it one of the premier destinations for live entertainment events in Chester and Cheshire already.

This year, expect to see adaptations of the likes of The Secret Garden, Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors after a great reception for last year’s performances. As the only open air theatre outside of London, you’re sure to be in great company.

Chester Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festival 2014 – 19th of April to 21st of April
If you’re thinking of visiting Chester for the first time this April, you’re bound to come away with a very positive outlook on this historic city as this micro-festival is a great time for all.

As soon as you walk through Chester Raceourse, you’ll be greeted by a whole menagerie of different sights, sounds and smells as there will be only the finest in food and drink available to you on your visit. Staggered across themed villages, there’s bound to be something to sate the palate of everyone at this event.

Visit the Blue Planet Aquarium

Blue Planet AquariumIf you’re visiting Cheshire with the kids and don’t know what the historic city can offer, taking a walk around the Blue Planet Aquarium will easily be one of your highlights.

Visitors from North Wales will no doubt have had some great fun in the Seaquarium in Anglesey but for sheer variety and things to see, Blue Planet absolutely comes out on top especially when you consider that it’s open all year long, making it perfect for a rainy day out.

This superb aquarium is home to over 700 fish with them ranging from the adorable to the menacing! As soon as you see Blue Planet’s variety of sharks that is the largest in Europe, you’ll understand exactly what was meant by that. The 10ft long sand tigers and lemon sharks are just a couple of the attractions with the fearless staff sometimes jumping in with these hunters of the sea. Visitors with diving qualifications can also enjoy an experience with these hunters of the sea – if they’re up to it!

You can enjoy sights like these from the comfort of behind the amazing amphitheatre glass – a fully panoramic view of some of the exhibits of which there are 50! It’s surely an intercontinental experience at Blue Planet as the fish housed within the 3.8 million litres home come from places all over the planet.

Anyone fearful of creepy crawlies would do well to steer clear of VENOM which is a display area filled with dangerous creatures. Don’t get out the health and safety manual just yet; you’ll be fully protected by reinforced screens meaning that you can enjoy watching tarantulas and jellyfish in their surroundings.

Also not to be missed, a chance to get up and personal with the stingrays and eels with the sharks also making a guest appearance in the underwater tunnel. This 70 metre long stretch plays host to black and white sharks and also the zebra variety, again showing why the venue is famed for its collection of sharks!

If the kids are tired of looking and want to start running around (as they always do), the Pirate Playground is the perfect place for them to release some energy. Expect to see one or two otters outside too!

With the opportunity to have massive reductions on diving experiences throughout January, there could be no better time to dive in to the fun at Blue Planet Aquarium.

-

“shark and boat” by www.flickr.com/photos/joccay

License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Gigs in Chester in January

As a place of rich culture and excitement, there are always acts taking to the stage from the music world in the historic town of Chester. From the indie to the electro, there’s always an event for any music lover out there.

Here are some of the highlights to look out for over the course of January.

Empire Divide – Telfords Warehouse – 11/01/2014

An alternative rock influenced act hailing from London, this energetic but at sometimes sombre 5-piece are looking to impress in Chester after a great 2013 in which they released their debut music video in November.

Strains of Radiohead are evident in the bands releases with their being some leans towards other artists such as Coldplay and Muse. Catch them before they get big.

Laura J Martin – Telfords Warehouse – 14/01/2014

As eclectic as they come in influences, this young musician from Liverpool is carving a bit of a name for herself in the music world.

Although still tentatively young, Martin has been on the scene for a few years now with her LP Dazzle Days being her most recent release. If you’re after something a little soulful then this be could the gig just for you.

Ian Skelly & The Serpent Power – Telfords Warehouse – 24/01/2014

On the back of plenty of hype, Ian Skelly is looking to distance himself from his early music career as the drummer for The Coral with this venture.

One for those who enjoy the more experimental side of music, this artist bring plenty of psychedelic intrigue to his recordings with his Cut From a Star album having plenty of fanfare on release. Check out Ian Skelly on the 24th of January.

Chemistry Lane – Telfords Warehouse – 30/01/2014

An engaging and unique group, Chemistry Lane live by their name as the sheer level of detail which goes into their compositions is almost scientific.

Avant-garde is one word to describe this home-grown band and after a support slot with post-rock giants 65daysofstatic on the 14th, they will be headlining their own show at Telfords on the 30th of the month.

The Maydays – Telfords Warehouse – 31/01/2014

Coming from nearby Wrexham, this five piece oozes Northern energy and is a brilliant throwback to when rock was simple fun.

Definitely one for those who like their rock upbeat, The Maydays will be rounding off a great month in Chester for music gigs and are one of the highlights.

Things to Do in Chester

Things To Do in ChesterThere are so many attractions in Chester that you’d be amazed at the variety of things to do and see. From animal parks to cathedrals, take a look at some of the top places to be from the list compiled below.

Chester Zoo

One of the biggest and best zoos all over the country, Chester Zoo draws the crowds and it’s little surprise when you consider how much fascination fun you can get up to.

As the UK’s largest charity based zoo, this enclosure has a wide array of exotic and regional animals for your amazement. The cheeky chimps are always a great draw which is apparent when you consider at least 1.4 million people visit each year!

The only times when this much-loved zoo isn’t open is on Christmas and Boxing Day and with such wonder to be found, make sure you take a walk on the wild side as soon as you can.

Chester Racecourse

A favourite amongst the rich and famous, Chester Racecourse has plenty of thrills but hopefully no spills to take your interest.

The grand stage couldn’t be a more perfect place to hold horse racing and it’s obvious as soona s you walk through the entrance to this famed course. Adjacent to the historic Roman walls, jockeys do battle over the superb green and there are events held there regularly.

With superb facilities to boot, those in the gambling mood should give Chester Racecourse a punt very soon.

Chester Roman Gardens

As a region, Chester has always had it fair share of historians traipsing its mythos and this is all down to the variety of monuments to its previous inhabitants: the mighty Romans of old.

The Chester Roman Gardens offer not only a picturesque setting but one that will endear the inner Tony Robinson in all of us down to the fascinating and charming information points dotted all over this historic landmark.

These locations are just a sample of what the great area has to offer. To unearth all of its hidden gems, nooks and crannies, the only thing to do is to explore Chester!

-

“Chester Zoo” by www.flickr.com/photos/zooeurope

License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Olympian to Light Up Christmas

Christmas TreeOne of Chester’s all-time famous daughters is set to return to the city for some local festivities this year when Beth Tweddle gets the Christmas party started.

As well as being a medal-winning Olympian, Ms. Tweddle had a stint on Dancing On Ice and wowed the judges with her moves as she dazzled on the rink in front of a packed audience every Saturday night.

Now, she will be making a return to the historic city of Chester to be a part of the lights being turned on at the 24ft Christmas tree as well as having the privilege of officially opening the ice rink. With this and so much more to look forward to, the Christmas Parade of Light will be a rea cracker.

Spectacular sights abound as the parade makes its way through the sure to be packed town market all the way to the Winter Wonderland at Chester Racecourse. With the inspiration behind the parade being fairy tales, the Queen of Light will be guiding her troupe throughout the city as they all regale and get you in the Christmas spirit.

Dancers and lantern holders from local schools will relish the opportunity to be alongside Santa Claus on his sleigh as he delights the audience with his merry wishes. The real show begins when the group finally arrives at the Winter Wonderland though.

Visitors will be treated to so much fine entertainment with ice skaters, choirs and a sample of the brilliant Snow Queen: a definite must for any theatre-goer in the area. Local celebrities Indigo City will be bringing their girl band glamour to the stage too in what will be another step on the ladder for the promising young act.

With free admission for all, there’s no better way to get in the Christmas spirit this November than in Chester this 21st of November.

-

“christmas tree in midtown” by www.flickr.com/photos/bonkura32design/

License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB

Halloween Events in Chester 2013

With broomsticks and costumes at the ready, Chester is preparing itself for another Halloween Events in Chesterspooktacular 31st of October. Halloween events in Chester and its surrounding areas are always ghoulishly good affairs and there are plenty of scares to be had for the whole family.

Hallowe’en Masquerade and Murder Mystery Spooktacular

The National Waterways Museum plays host to some seriously spooky goings on on the 30th and 31st of October. If you think of the intensity of Cluedo on a live scale, you wouldn’t even be close as the murder mystery is much scarier! Trawl every dark crevice, interview suspects and reap the rewards along the way to uncover who the killer is. Fun for the whole family, this event is £5 for adults and kids under 16 can enjoy it for as little as £2 in Ellesmere Port.

The Whitby Wander

Not really a horror filled night out along Whitby Park but with All Hallow’s Eve being held on the same day, you could be in for one or two surprise scares! Meet outside Whitby Hall in Ellesmere Port on the 31st for a great walk around the historic town.

Grosvenor Museum Lecture Theatre

Come and join respected name Nick Fry as he discusses the significance of medieval craft with relation to Chester Cathedral in partnership with the Chester Society of Natural Science Literature and Art on the 31st of October.

Halloween Spooktacular at Chester Zoo

As terrifying as some people may find snakes, spiders and other more chilling animals at Chester Zoo, it’s the creepy crawlies that are the main focus of the screams at this event being held until the 3rd of November! The faint-hearted should keep well away from the 33-ft wide animatronic tarantula during this amazing event.

Bass Culture vs Mode-Mode Halloween Party

One strictly for the grown-ups, The Compass nightclub is holding a terrifyingly excellent party for Halloween with great name like Spooky and Pete Cannon ready to get the boils and ghouls on the dance floor shuffling. The evening kicks off at 8 p.m. and there‘s plenty of fun to be had up until closing time.

Wherever you end up this Halloween, it’s sure to be a horrifyingly fun occasion!

Chester Real Ale Festival 2013

Nothing brings people together quite like a glass of cold beer in beautiful surroundings Chester Real Ale Festivalwhich is exactly what the organisers of the Chester Real Ale Festival had in mind when they brought together this fine showcase.

Northern ale has no equal as any connoisseur and its exactly that kind of person who have their produce on tap for your enjoyment this October in beautiful Chester. If it’s a light, refreshing taste you’re after than any number of refined lagers will be available for you. Should you fancy a heady, strong tipple then there’s going to be plenty of choice from over 65 delicious drinks at The Guildhall.

The Guildhall is a gorgeous venue that can fit hundreds of people at once and as it used to be an active church, you couldn’t ask for a more idyllic location to hold any event.

Channelling the spirit of a bygone era when it was only rurally brewed ale you could find on tap at pubs, the CAMRA organisation have collaborated to bring together a head mix of all things hops. There are over 50 beers from local vendors available at a selection of pubs across Chester and 15 ciders to also sample, highlighting how varied and quietly successful the selection is.

There’s also plenty of food to enjoy across the venue with some truly delicious local produce to perfectly accompany your drink. Find the perfect partner to that Nine Standards Gold Standard or sip your New Plassey’s Dragon Breath after a hearty meal.

Don’t expect a just lad’s sort of event though as families are welcome with soft drinks available for the young ones throughout. Release that family rivalry with a round of pub games and a prize-laden tombola – who knows what you could win!

With this and much more to get involved with in Chester this month, it looks like this amazing town has a lot going for it still in 2013!

Chester Arts Festival 2013

A rich and cultured city, Chester is known for its beautiful surroundings and the gorgeous chester arts festival 2013art the people who reside there create. With such inspiration everywhere you look, it’s little wonder that last year’s very first Chester Arts Festival was held to celebrate the local and national wonders. This year, it looks to be improving even further with some high-class names in attendance.

Quite possibly the marquee master of the arts is Sir Peter Blake: the genius responsible for The Beatle’s famous Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. In it, some of the most famous names in the world ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Karl Marx are displayed in a congregation and has gone on to be one of the most iconic art sleeves of all time. Blake’s work is regularly found in the Tate Gallery which serves to show what a powerhouse he is.

Not to be shown up as the biggest name on the roster is Kerry Darlington, a Rhyl born artist whose works are as broad and recognised as anyone’s in the country. So much so in fact that she was awarded  the title of “Best-Selling Published Artist” by respected galleries all over Britain .Further cementing her reputation, Darlington is known as the world’s first resin artist and specialises in texture and acrylics also.

More brilliant displays are expected from the likes of the beloved sculptor Nick Elphick, the man responsible for sculpting the Queen for her jubilee. British talents Antony Gormley and Michael Bennett shore up the bill and with the inclusion of international names such as Patricia Pastore and Ramses Marzouk, the fantastic festival has a worldwide feel to it.

Laura O’Hare, the event director, had this to say: “Chester Art Fair is built on a wide range of corporate and public partnerships and we are looking forward to working with these organisations to grow the event. We are in talks with local education providers and companies to see how they can get involved in Chester Arts Fair 2013.” This is an example of the festival’s importance to the community with charity also playing a part. Several works will be sold to help the Claire House Children’s Hospice and other brilliant foundations which help the young in the art realm.

With this and much more to look forward to, this year’s festival looks to hold a lot of interest to connoisseurs and newcomers alike.

Chester Literature Festival 2013

Chester Literature Festival

There are few festivals that celebrate literature quite like the annual event held in Chester and after the barnstorming success of 2012; it’s no surprise that it’s making its mark again this autumn.

This year, the reputation of the flourishing has attracted some big names and the billing is one not to be sniffed at. The famous names range from every genre imaginable, evidencing the recent lure of the two-week long event.  Possibly the most prestigious name is Derek Jacobi, the legendary Shakespearian actor known for his love of all things literary who will be holding a special evening event talking about his life and career – not be missed. Tim Vine is also on-hand to guide you through his Bumper Book of Silliness whilst Richard Bacon also delights an avid crowd by talking about tweeting his mother amongst other things on Thursday evening.

Chester Literature Festival

Tim Vine

Chester Literature Festival

Celebrity events are not purely the name of game here however with plenty of workshops held by established names in literature for your interest. Brush up on your skills with the likes of Luke Wright, David Lloyd and Ian McMillian & Tony Husband eager to show you their style.

Lunchtime performances take in the spirit of drama which range from the classic to avant-garde. Intimate readings are showcased by the likes of Joy Winkler who is an excitable and determined performer, eager to convey every paragraph and full stop as was intended when she put pen to paper. Another inspirational talk comes in the form of David Lloyd’s self-effacing yarn on his trouble with employment. Stifle a grin as he hilariously guides you through his latest exploits and reads from his book, Seven Streets. Other readings come from the likes of Paul Morley, Patrick Barlow, Fay Weldon, Clive James and many, many more.

The local community also features prominently at this year’s festival with the local university’s lecturers having a chance to talk over the few days. This represents a great chance for anyone interested in further education to sample what their future could hold.

Set aside the middle of October in your diary for a trip to Chester to experience an un-missable occasion from the 13th to 27th.

“Book Reading” by moonpointer 1 and “Untitled” by @paulbailey licenses available here.