Tag: Chester

Dark Chester: a walk through the shadows of our dark-tourism history

We took a walk on the dark side a few days ago.

It was the inaugural outing for my new Dark Chester tour [pictured above], a walking tour through the shadows of Chester’s 2000-year-old history.

Think Horrible Histories meets Inside Number Nine with a dash of the Uncanny podcast.

In other words, an evening storytelling stroll with tales of plague, persecution and poltergeists.

For some more background, read this blog I penned for the British Guild of Tourist Guides:

Chester: take a walk on the dark side.

This first tour was an exclusive event for the Chester Heritage Festival, which runs until July 27 with lots of free activities, as well as paid-for tours.

As well as leading the tour, I also worked with the Heritage Festival team to livestream stories from two of the tour stops.

You can watch the livestream from Chester’s Roman Amphitheatre here.

The livestream from The Bear & Billet is here.

Plus I had some great initial feedback, including this comment:

 

The plan now is to take Dark Chester weekly.

So join me. Let’s take a walk on the dark side.

Why the hidden-treasure town of Nantwich should be your next staycation

Spring finds me driving the rural backroads of south Cheshire.

I’m here on assignment for Telegraph Travel, writing a postcard from Cheshire as part of a series of articles by writers around the UK.

Each one is about an under-the-radar destinations for UK staycations with a sprinkle of celebratory stardust.

My journey took me to Nantwich, the historic market town, and the Combermere Estate on the Cheshire-Shropshire border.

I also visited the new Three Wrens gin distillery, where I met distillery dog, Rocky [pictured above].

Here’s a taster of my article:

The historic market town of Nantwich has all the history of county-hub Chester, albeit on a smaller scale.

The jumble of cobbled streets and half-timbered houses have hosted Norman lords, survived medieval fires, and been occupied by the Parliamentarian forces during the mid 1600s when Nantwich defied Chester, coming out against Charles I during the Civil War.

The Market Hall has been singing the praises of Cheshire Cheese since the town’s genteel Victorian era.

“I think visitors appreciate the slow-travel tranquillity of South Cheshire while being surprised by the quality of its local produce,” says Sarah Callander-Beckett, the owner and current lady of the manor at Combermere Abbey.

“This region is steeped in rural heritage but has moved with the times to offer high quality and an individual experience.”

Read the full story, The charming Cheshire town that hasn’t yet been ruined by WAGs.

Winter light festivals? I think it’s time to pull the plug.

My final feature of the year was an opinion piece following a recent visit to Durham.

Here’s a sample of the story:

The light-festival idea is nothing new, of course.

Lyon first came up with the bright idea in 1999 and the Fete des Lumieres has become a major visitor attraction (it runs December 8-11 this year).

Blackpool illuminations, too, have a long history of providing ‘electric sunshine’, brightening up Lancastrian nights since 1879.

But I’ve had enough of light-festival overkill. Turn off, tune out, just drop it, folks.

Read the whole feature via Telegrpah Travel, It’s time to pull the plug on overrated winter light festivals.

Facebook Live ghost tours live-streamed for the Chester Heritage Festival

The Chester Heritage Festival kicked off last weekend with a series of live and online events across the city.

My contribution was a pair of short Facebook Live videos from two haunted locations around the city.

It was based around my Haunted Chester audio tour, bringing a frisson of ghost-story spookiness to the heritage-fan proceedings.

Check out the videos:

And catch up with all the video content from the Chester Heritage Festival here.

Then download my self-guided tour to your smartphone via the VoiceMap app and explore Chester’s dark side with just my voice and a detailed map to accompany you.

It’s the ultimate in social distancing.

More about Haunted Chester.