Tag: heritage

How To Make The Most Of A Weekend In Troyes

A return trip to France before Easter, then, with an assignment in the Champagne-Ardenees region.

I was in Troyes [pictured above] for France Magazine, exploring the medieval city on foot to uncover the hidden courtyards, historic buildings and lesser-known church cloisters.

That and sampling some of the local bubbles, of course.

Here’s a flavour of the article:

Troyes gets a lower billing in the Champagne region these days with Reims and Epernay better know as homes to the global-brand champagne houses. But it was Troyes that dominated the region during the Middle Ages with wealthy local landowners, the Counts of Champagne, putting the city on the map as a centre of commerce. The medieval fairs from the 11-13th century brought Troyes wealth and status as a crossroads for trade.

Read the full story in the July issue of France Magazine.

An exclusive preview of Chester’s new heritage attraction

Today was the opening day at Chester: A Life Story [pictured above], the new heritage attraction in Chester.

I was there early this morning for an exclusive preview of the exhibition, researching an article for The Guardian in the family travel section.

Here’s the recent news item I wrote for the Cheshire Ultimate Guide by way of a preview of the story to come.

A new family visitor attraction has opened in Chester to celebrate the city’s rich social history in time for this year’s Chester Heritage Festival.

Chester: A Life Story puts the emphasis on the often-overlooked stories of ordinary people, using multi-sensory interpretation to highlight the folk who have shaped Cheshire over the past 2,000 years.

Including sections on crime and punishment, and health and medicine, it traces human stories from Roman Chester to the present day via the Middle Ages, aiming to put the story of Chester into a global context.

The heritage attraction is based at St Michael’s Church on Bridge Street, Chester, and managed by Big Heritage, the company that also runs Western Approaches, the wartime secret bunker in Liverpool.

The Chester Heritage Festival runs June 21-29 this year with events around the city.

Chester: A Life Story

Read the full Guardian Travel story here.

Meeting the Terracotta Warriors on an escorted tour of Liverpool

Just out: my story from Liverpool, where I joined a group tour last summer for Boundless magazine.

It offered a chance to get up close to some 2000-year-old warriors [pictured above] and a cruise through Merseyside’s industrial heritage.

Here’s a flavour of the feature:

Bill is facing down a ninja. The latter may have spent some 2,000 years underground, and it’s built of stone, but it still looks pretty handy with its fists.

Each one of these statues has its own character, whether it’s a facial expression, or the stance,” says Bill, one of the organisers of the Liverpool trip. “They feel alive to me.”

The city has a rich heritage and cultural scene but the highlight for many is, of course, a chance to get up close and personal with the visiting Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum.

The underground army of life-sized warriors was first discovered in 1974 and this blockbuster exhibition has drawing the crowds all summer, featuring many objects never seen before in the UK.

Read more in the March-April issue.

 

Big Heritage Chester article for Tortoise Magazine

The next issue of Tortoise magazine is out soon.

I’ve written an article for Chester’s new independent publication about Big Heritage, the not-for-profit organisation installing heritage attractions in historic buildings.

It’s based around an interview with Managing Director Dean Paton, who I met at Sick To Death [pictured above], the attraction about the history of medicine.

Here’s a sneak preview of the story:

“I always loved history and archaeology but, traditionally, it has been seen as a sport for the middle classes,” says Dean.

He is showing me around the Sick to Death exhibits, including a section dedicated to the first recorded incidents of The Plague in Chester in the early 17th century.

By 1603, we learn, 92% of deaths in Chester were due to plague.

“The problem with a lot of heritage attractions,” he adds. “is that there’s no excitement, no love.”

The organisation has also just completed a major project to reopen Western Approaches, the former secret WWII bunker under Liverpool. Dean is now working on a new project in Chester.

Read the full article in Tortoise magazine, available in independent shops, cafes and arts venues around Chester.