Let’s move to

Ch­ester, Cheshire: it’s just a lit­tle bit woke

The Guardian - Weekend - - Contents -

What’s go­ing for it? There’s so much past in Ch­ester. It piles up on the streets. It ac­cu­mu­lates. Ro­man am­phithe­atre, me­dieval cathe­dral, Ruskinian town hall, all those Tu­dor black-and-white, half-tim­bered build­ings straight off a Qual­ity Street tin, all those Vic­to­rian black-and-white, half-tim­bered build­ings pre­tend­ing to be Tu­dor black-and-white, half-tim­bered build­ings straight off a Qual­ity Street tin, cob­bles, ye olde gate­houses, etc. Beau­ti­ful. Oc­ca­sion­ally suf­fo­cat­ing. (I speak as one raised on cathe­dral cities.) That’s not to say Ch­ester isn’t with it. It’s long had a rep­u­ta­tion for mid­dle­brow posh­ness, all wine bars and pearls. Who knows what they’ve put in the wa­ter re­cently, though, as there’s a tiny bit of mojo in the place. De­cent cof­fee has turned up. The lovely new Sto­ry­house arts com­plex has brought con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture and cut­ting-edge cul­ture. It’s even a lit­tle bit woke: last year Ch­ester was crowned the most ac­ces­si­ble city in Europe for dis­abled peo­ple. In Europe! With those cob­bles! On­wards and up­wards, Ch­ester.

The case against It’s pricey, from the prop­erty to the cost of liv­ing.

Well con­nected? Trains: to Manch­ester (a rather slow one hour at best), to Liver­pool (48 min­utes), to Wrex­ham (15), to Birken­head (41) and to Crewe (20). Driv­ing: an hour to Manch­ester, 40 min­utes to Liver­pool, half an hour to Warrington and the M6.

Schools Pri­maries: most of the city’s schools are at least “good”, Of­sted says, with Bel­grave, Dee Point, St Martin’s academy and Acres­field “out­stand­ing”. Se­con­daries: the Catholic high, the Bish­ops’ Blue Coat CofE, Bla­con high and Up­ton-by-Ch­ester high are “good”, with Christle­ton high, just out­side, “out­stand­ing”.

Hang out at… Ch­ester’s hav­ing a food mo­ment. For great cof­fee and cakes, check out Jaunty Goat and Moss. Find killer food at Joseph Ben­jamin, Porta and Sticky Wal­nut.

Where to buy There are some se­ri­ously fancy houses here, es­pe­cially in Hand­bridge/Queen’s Park and Curzon Park/Hough Green over­look­ing the River Dee and the race­course. Some nice late Vic­to­ri­ans to 1930s in Up­ton to the north, or in­ner suburbs such as Hoole, handy for the sta­tion. Nice town­houses of all eras within the city walls. Plenty of plump mod­ern suburbs such as Great Boughton. Large de­tacheds and town­houses, £450,000-£1m and oc­ca­sion­ally up to £1.5m. De­tacheds and smaller town­houses, £170,000£450,000. Semis, £120,000-£650,000. Ter­races and cot­tages, £115,000-£375,000. Flats, £100,000-£500,000. Rentals: a one-bed­room flat, £450-£850pcm; a three-bed­room house, £650-£1,300pcm.

Bar­gain of the week OK, so it’s £750,000. But this six-bed­room Vic­to­rian man­sion, close to the cen­tre, in need of mod­erni­sa­tion, with pe­riod de­tails-a-go-go, is a bar­gain of sorts, with hinch­lif­fe­holmes.co.uk

Tom Dy­ck­hoff

Do you live in War­wick? Do you have a favourite haunt or pet hate? If so, email [email protected] the­guardian.com by next Tues­day.

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