Eat your way round Chester

Chester Cathedral Refectory

Chester Cathedral Refectory

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:

At lunchtime we had a pit-stop at a branch of Patisserie Valerie on Bridge Street:  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

Richard is adept at real-beer research, so by 5pm opening-time we were at the door of The Albion [], 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” – while gazing at evocative enamelled advertisements for Colman’s Starch “sold in cardboard boxes”, the Public Benefit Boot Co [] 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 [], 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 – 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 £7.50 including postage and packing.  To view sample pages click here. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.

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