CHESHIRE – WHY GO?
Welcome to England in miniature – home of majestic castles, bustling walled medieval cities and grand stately homes. Cheshire’s countryside is dotted with picturesque black and white houses and green pastureland that produces the famous Cheshire cheese.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Walk around the most complete medieval city walls in Britain for an overview, and then stroll down streets of high half-timbered Tudor buildings – the famous Chester Rows. There’s a fine cathedral, an ornate Victorian town clock, racecourse and zoo, and plenty of Roman remains.
Find Richard II’s buried gold at Beeston Castle – legend has it he hid his treasure here while on his way to fight Irish rebels. Towering above Cheshire Plain Beeston Castle certainly has golden views of eight counties from the Welsh mountains in the West to the Pennines in the East.
Live out your own period drama at Chatsworth, the country house pile of Mr Darcy in the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, or visit the awesome stately homes at Lyme Park and Tatton Park, with its stunning gardens, for a quick history and horticulture fix.
Visit the real ‘Cranford’ – Knutsford was the place that inspired novelist Elizabeth Gaskell to write her novel Cranford and you can take a town trail to discover places associated with the author. Knutsford’s other famous resident was the artist Charles Tunnicliffe who used many local locations in his wildlife paintings.
Upper Weaver Valley
Weave your way around the quaint Tudor houses of Nantwich, an old salt mining town on the banks of the River Weaver. This lively little place hosts a range of music festivals from folk to jazz and the annual food and drink festival – helping cement its crown as foodie capital of the north west.
MAKE A DATE
Garden lovers flock to the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, rated almost as highly as London’s Chelsea Flower Show.
Make a day of it at the Chester Races – there are meetings through the summer.
Enjoy the Gayfest at Manchester’s Mardi Gras, complete with a pink picnic and parade.
Visit Mr Darcy’s home at Chatsworth for a country stroll, but even die-hard romantics should avoid jumping in the lake a la Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice.
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