Inside the great walls of Chester

This week is bridge week (a self study week) at the RCS and this year I decided to go home and visit my parents for a couple of days. I have quite a lot of work to prepare for college and I thought that mixing a little time with my family alongside my studies would give me a bit of a boost.

Saturday morning started bright and sunny and although cold we thought that we would go for a walk around the city of Chester. There is always something going on there and it is great fun just to wander around.

Views from Eastgate on Chester’s City Walls.


We were walking along the walls when we heard the sound of fire crackers coming from behind the Cathedral, so we went to investigate.


It was the Chinese new year celebrations outside the Town hall. Just as we arrived the Chinese Lions were leading the crowd into the Town Hall.


Excitedly we followed everyone inside the grand Town Hall where the festivities continued.  A number of children from local schools performed an entrancing friendship dance with little colourful scarves, I wanted to jump on the stage and join in 🙂

Then some of the local representatives of the Mandarin Language centre came on stage to show the intricate stitching and brocade work on their dresses, they were really beautiful garments.


Finally we moved outside to watch the Dragon dance which was performed by a Liverpool based martial arts club.  My Dad managed to video some of the dance to give you a flavour of the day 🙂

I just couldn’t resist getting in on the act right at the end 🙂


So in this year of the Horse I would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year 🙂

Mandarin Chinese:

新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè, pronounced “sheen nyen kwy luh”) = Happy new year! (literally “The new year comes fast!”)
恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái, pronounced “gong shee fah tsy”) = Wishing you a prosperous new year! (literally “May you have much joy and wealth!”)

Cantonese Chinese:

新年快乐 (san1 nin4 faai3 lok6) = Happy new year! (literally “The new year comes fast!”)
恭喜发财 (gung1 hei2 faat3 choi4) = Wishing you a prosperous new year! (literally “May you have much joy and wealth!”)

I would like to share this Happy New Year wish which was created by my good friend Pascal Barnier.


It started to rain shortly after the celebrations so we moved into the Cathedral.  It is beautiful building with hundreds of years of heritage.  You get a real sense of the history of Chester just by looking around the cathedral and soak in the sheer magnificence of the building.


There has been a Cathedral on the site since about 1093 in Norman times and has been added to and altered many times over the years.

One of my favourite parts of the Cathedral are the choir stalls. They date from about 1380 and it took 20 master wood carvers and 20 apprentices 2 years to complete what in my mind is a true work of art.


What amazes me is that part of the carvings on the pews in the choir stalls depict an elephant. But as none of the workmen had ever seen an elephant they carved them with horses hooves 🙂



These old stories are a great piece of our history and I just love to discover them on my wanderings 🙂

63 thoughts on “Inside the great walls of Chester

  1. Salut Charlotte, merci ! Very nice and interesting.
    Have you felt the vibrations of the cathedrals? mixtures sensations of wood, stone and stained glass?
    Good luck for work, good time for you, and say “hello” to your parents.
    Friendships 😉

    1. Salut Pascal, I always want to sing when I go into near empty cathedrals and churches to hear the acoustics and reverberation. It was very quiet and reflective on Saturday, when the sun came back out the windows were just beautiful there were some very contemporary ones in there too.

      Best wishes 🙂

      1. Hello Charlotte. Me too, worse than you, when I’m in a church or a deserted chapel, I “module” (kind dedjeeredoo) to feel the vibration of the building. Which is great, it is in summer, with light coming through the windows to see vibrate “dust” s in the rays of light ……. There is also the narrow valleys between the rocks or sites with an echo …… in fact, with the “voice” you get a little to do as dolphins and bats;-) And in religious building, there always has specific hours when light is totally magical;
        All the best for you Charlotte

    1. My brother was born in the year of the horse and I got a rooster year 🙂 Chester is a lovely city to visit, we walked around the walls but there was a very cold wind and this event made a nice treat.

      Best wishes

    1. Thanks Elizabeth, the photos didn’t turn out too badly saying they were just taken on my phone. I’m pleased to introduce you to Chester it is lovely. Many of the shops have two layers with a covered walkway and lots of lovely nooks and crannies to explore.

      Best wishes

    1. Hi Penny, it’s great when you just stumble into events like this we weren’t expecting anything, we had to go into the town hall because it started to drizzle but it worked out really well.

      Best wishes

  2. Thank you for sharing such beautiful photos and experiences from a part of the world I most likely will never see. I always enjoy seeing new things through your eyes.

    1. How lovely, thanks Colleen. I loved the spectacle, colour, movement in fact my parents were laughing because I was dancing at the side with all the little children.

      Best wishes

    1. My coat is gorgeous. I couldn’t resist it because it’s my football club colours. I think pale blue is going to be in this spring in the UK it’s about time we had some more cheery colours.

      Best wishes

  3. I so enjoy your posts as one never knows what they will share. You are truly one very fortunate girl. You have so many talents and opportunities open to you; such a fun, full life. I love the art piece by your friend. A Happy New Year back to you.

    1. Hi Cheryl, I certainly am fortunate, I have always been encouraged to jump right in and make the most out of every opportunity and this was one such occasion. I met Pascal Barnier through social media and love his work; it is so unique and different and makes my Facebook header a talking point in itself.

      Best wishes

  4. Beautiful! And so exciting! Chester is where we will spend our next Christmas after our son’s wedding in France. (We live in New York.) So nice to see the cathedral again!

    1. Chester at Christmas will be beautiful, fabulous lights and activities, I’d recommend a lovely walk around the walls and a stroll to the River Dee. I did a charity concert once in St Mary’s Centre which used to be the church of St Mary’s On the Hill near the County Courts to raise money for the children’s department in the local hospital. How exciting for you a wedding in France too.

      Best wishes

  5. Lovely photographs Charlotte! It was such a treat to see this! Where I live now, there is no mention of the New Year. I miss it. But we celebrated it at home which was nice. This post of yours really lifted my spirits. THANK YOU!

  6. That is so funny that you showed up in the video too. I was expecting to see Chinese people doing the dragon chasing the ball but I think most of them are not Chinese. Aren’t they?

    1. The dragon dancers were from Liverpool and there were much bigger events in Liverpool so we had a lovely mixture of performers in Chester. They all looked exhausted at the end but I would have loved a dance holding the dragon, I was jigging in the front of the crowd though 😉

      Best wishes

    1. Hi Janice, this is the City nearest to my family home, I have many happy family memories from Chester and know it well because it is compact and you feel very safe there.

      Best wishes

  7. Love the living history lessons you post. You’re a splendid travel writer 🙂 I noticed the left rear hoof of the elephant is bifurcated, like a cows or a deer hoof — or is that just a reflection or a scratch? Most interesting.

    1. Hi Jim, I remember one of the robed curates telling me about the horse’s hooves when I was little and I was inspecting the carvings and making sketches of them, so when I go back I always take a look. I’d guess the wood carver if they’d never seen an elephant but only local animals may well have just fashioned them like cows, deers and horses to touch all the bases 🙂

      All the best

    1. Ooh that sounds exciting, what is he studying? I love fireworks too, the best display I ever saw was at Disney in Florida, the Disney Villains on a waterfall with fabulous music.

      Best wishes

      1. Wow the fireworks in Disney sound fabulous. He studied business and chineese here in Ireland and then moved to Beijing to study film production in the Beijing Film Academy. He’s there two years now and also spent a year of his undergrad there on a scholarship. I’m hoping to recover from my illness before he comes back home as I really want to visit!!! LOL

    1. I’m sure I’ll do some more in a future visit there is lots to see and do. I’ve got a competition coming up in Chester soon so that’s exciting too.

      Best wishes

  8. Chester seems an interesting historic town. Love the old Tudor buildings too. I agree you’ve got a beautiful cathedral there! Didn’t you join in for the final dragon dance as well, eh? 😉 Thanks for sharing the video and photos, Charlotte. 🙂

    1. The old Tudor buildings are lovely, it’s such a shame some of them got pulled down to be replaced by boring plain brick and clear glass. I was so tempted to ask if I could have a go with one of the poles but I guess it looked easier than it was to be co-ordinated with the others and cross over and under each other. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Best wishes

      1. It was back to being warm and sunny early in the week, but now temperatures are dropping again. This weather is indecisive! 🙂

    1. The dreaded rain 😉 it does seem to rain a lot in the North West.
      It made a nice break from studying. There’s lot to do around Chester too, if you use it as a base you can visit North Wales which is just beautiful, Liverpool, and quaint towns like Knutsford.
      Best wishes

  9. I visited your blog a few times but I prefer liking the post after I read it, (keeps the like and comment authentic, it’s more of a self-righteous thing 😉 ) I really loved the video of the dragon dance and the pictures of the cathedral are beautiful as well. Happy new year to you too (恭喜发财) 😉 🙂 I would wish you again, there is an Indian new year coming soon as well 😛 😀

      1. Thanks, Charlotte! Don’t wait for a “good” camera! If you have a phone with a camera, then by all means, use it! I must confess, my photos are from my iPhone5! 🙂

    1. I wonder if they do the dragon dances in China or if they have different themes each year?
      I love Chester a nice compact City and it’s finally getting the cinema and theatre sorted out.
      Best wishes

  10. Hi, Charlotte: thank you for photos from your hometown of Chester! Sad to say it, but I’ve not strayed “far enough” from London, Cambridge, Cardiff, or Edinburgh. Aside from my fondness for football, I know there are other reasons to visit other places in the UK; your visual tour helps. 🙂 Thanks also for your Chinese New Year wishes; all the best to you as well, from the other side of the planet. 🙂

    1. Hi Henry we have the best football clubs overall in the North (he he) most of my friends at school support Manchester United whilst I support Manchester City so I’ve learnt to be diplomatic 😉
      I went to the Tate Gallery in Liverpool whilst I was at home, fabulous exhibition. Hope you get a chance to visit 😉
      Best wishes

  11. A marvelous post, Charlotte! What an interesting contrast: The colourful Chinese New Year celebrations and the solemn Gothic Cathedral. 😉

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