It’s hard work being a tourist. You need to eat and drink.
When my mate Richard and I explored Chester recently, we had reasonable coffee in splendid surroundings at the Queen Hotel, directly opposite the railway station: http://www.feathers.uk.com/premier-queen-hotel.
At lunchtime we had a pit-stop at a branch of Patisserie Valerie on Bridge Street: http://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk/chester-cafe.aspx. This is a dependable food-chain experience, very French – so French, in fact, that I felt compelled to text my Francophone friend John to find out that ‘framboises’ means ‘raspberries’. It’s a male thing, not liking to ask.
By teatime we’d reached Chester Cathedral. We both take exception on principle to having to pay admission to a place of worship, but we’re more than happy to pay good money for superb cakes, tea and coffee in the Refectory Café: http://www.chestercathedral.com/chester-cathedral-refectory-cafe-opening-hours.htm.
Richard is adept at real-beer research, so by 5pm opening-time we were at the door of The Albion [http://www.albioninnchester.co.uk], where we put away a couple of pints of a beer called Flying Scotsman (“hints of raisiny spiciness and toasty dryness. Fresh, slightly citrus tang with a rich rounded finish” – http://www.caledonianbeer.com/flyingscotsman.htm) while gazing at evocative enamelled advertisements for Colman’s Starch “sold in cardboard boxes”, the Public Benefit Boot Co [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~publicbenefit] and one with the reassuring strapline that “Craven ‘A’ will not affect your throat”.
For our evening meal we hiked back towards the station to the canal-side Old Harkers Arms [http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/harkers], named after the chandler whose warehouse became a pub in the late 1980s. Here we drank Great Orme Celtica (“full of citrus taste and aroma – http://www.greatormebrewery.co.uk/cask_cd.htm) and I ate an excellent steak-and-ale suet pudding.
We saw some buildings too.
The 48-page, A4 handbook for the 2009 Historic Chester tour, with text, photographs, and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £15.00 including postage and packing. To view sample pages click here. Please send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.