Chester - Ioan Said Photography
There’s no better way to explore England’s Historic Cities than with England Originals.
Five historic journeys are offered and a specially designed app serves as your guide.
2020 marks the 850th anniversary of St. Thomas Becket’s martyrdom; don’t miss commemorations in Canterbury all year long. Ramblers can enjoy new trails in the northeast, while history buffs like myself journey northwest on the Wall to Wall Tour to explore Chester, Lancaster, and Carlisle.
British businesses have worked to maintain the highest possible standards of safety, receiving the official “We’re Good to Go" stamp of approval. Rather than having to book endless tickets for each section of your journey, book a BritRail pass. Buying just one of these passes provides access to destinations all over Britain, available at BritRail.com.
Take a trip to Chester, whose two-tiered medieval shopping galleries catch the eye. Looking to stay in five-star luxury? Check into The Chester Grosvenor, which recently reopened with protective measures. Grab a drink at The Arkle Bar & Lounge or dine in the Michelin-starred Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor. Book a stay at https://www.chestergrosvenor.com/.
Chester Ioan Said Photography
The next day, enjoy breakfast at the hotel’s La Brasserie, then book a private tour of Chester with Paul Harston. Paul will show you the secrets of Chester’s millennia-old city walls; don’t miss exploring the city’s medieval cathedral and ancient Roman amphitheater. Enjoy a pre-show bite at The Kitchen at Storyhouse, which offers delicious, Eastern Mediterranean cuisine in a cultured atmosphere. Catch a film within Storyhouse, a theater-library-movie theater hybrid that offers cultural programs and performances galore. Head over to local hotspot Oddfellows for a cocktail and hearty fare.
Oddfellows in Chester
After Chester, your next stop is Lancaster. Check in to The Borough (https://www.theboroughlancaster.co.uk/), a true English gem. Upstairs, you will find comfortable, spacious rooms. Downstairs is a chic, modern pub offering local, seasonal takes on classic British school lunches. Stroll down to the scenic Williamson Park, rich in woodland and spectacular views.
Lancaster Williamson Park and Ashton Memorial
Get a sense of Her Majesty’s law and order at Lancaster Castle, a thousand-year-old fortress and former jail. A guided tour shines a light into the dark cells of prisoners past, ranging from Catholic martyrs to condemned witches. Don’t miss The Judges’ Lodgings, a museum that formerly housed magistrates visiting Lancaster.
Grab a tasty bite at The Hall before heading next door to Atkinsons Coffee Roasters where you can inhale the rich, warm scent of roasting beans before selecting coffee beans to bring home. For dinner, don’t miss The Sun Hotel and Bar, which offers up delightful twists on British classics.
Carlisle Ioan Said Photography
Kick off your time in Carlisle with a Carlisle History guide to the city’s ancient legacy. Head out on a tour of the Anglo-Scottish border, raided for centuries on both sides by the belligerent “border reivers,” and its highlight, Gilnockie Tower. Gilnockie Tower’s Ian Martin explains how every inch of the imposing stone structure is infused with the rich history of the Armstrong family and their descendants, including Neil Armstrong.
Spend the night at Hidden River Cabins (https://www.hiddenrivercabins.co.uk/), an expansive property nestled along the River Lyne. Hidden River offers five luxury cabins, each with a private hot tub, but its crown jewel is Hidden River House, which comfortably fits 20 lucky souls.
Book a tour of the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall National Trail with knowledgeable guide Anna Gray. Trek in the Romans’ footsteps along the wall established by Emperor Hadrian in the second century to prevent northern invasions. This massive World Heritage site is a testament to Rome’s extant legacy, as is its fort of Vindolanda, where archaeologists have discovered everything from shoes to letters written by Romans.
Check in to the centrally-located The Crown and Mitre Hotel, a beautiful Edwardian structure that once played host to President Woodrow Wilson (https://www.peelhotels.co.uk/crown-and-mitre-hotel/). Dine at Amato’s for a delicious blend of mainland Italian and Sicilian cuisines. The next day, tour guide Ian Robson—a veritable encyclopedia of local history—will take you deep into Carlisle Castle, the most besieged castle in English history, and some of Carlisle’s archaeological treasures at the Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery. Enjoy a refreshing brew at John Watt and Son Café, a 150-year-old staple, before spending the night at the Halston Apartment Hotel. The luxurious Halston is perfect for long-term visitors and one-nighters alike; book your stay here (https://thehalston.com/).
When it’s time to head back to London (and the States), don’t heave a disappointed sigh. Instead, plan your next trip back to the UK with England Originals! Book your tour today at https://www.visitlondon.com/englandoriginals/
By Carly Silver