Let’s move to
Chester, Cheshire: it’s just a little bit woke
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
Do you live in Warwick? Do you have a favourite haunt or pet hate? If so, email [email protected] theguardian.com by next Tuesday.