“ 40 of Chester's finest buildings were grouped into a Millennium Festival Trail. Cheshire, England. „
Launched in the year 2000 and therefore aptly named The Millennium Trail, this route takes the visitor around the historic city of Chester in an easy to follow way. The route is clearly sign posted and each of the 40 attractions along its way carries a plaque that outlines the key features of the attraction.
When I arrived in Chester a couple of weeks ago I wasn't even aware that such a trail existed but I picked up a leaflet in the tourist information centre. I wanted to see as many of the main tourist sights as possible and this seemed like the perfect way. The recommended time of the route is around 2 hours, which was well within the time that I had available.
Of course it would be silly to describe each of the buildings along the route, especially since many of them are worthy of an entire review in their own right, but it is suffice to say that all of the major points of interest like the Town Hall, Cathedral, Roman Amphitheatre etc are all included. What is perhaps more surprising is that there are quite a few lesser-known buildings included too. These include such delights as the Nine Houses, a row of tiny cottages built out of sandstone and dating from around 1650 and Park House, an impressive Georgian Town House.
I was curious to discover how the list had been compiled and the answer it seems was that they were all voted for by the local people as part of Chester's "Millennium Festival" A local artist called Michael Johnson designed each of the 40 individual plaques.
My particular route started at the Town Hall, which just so happens to be adjacent to the tourist information centre and number 1 on the list. It is however possible to start anywhere along the route as it is a circular walk and will always bring you back to where you started.
All of the attractions along the route lie within the City Walls, which encircle the city centre and are the best preserved City Walls in Britain. There are many points of access onto the walls but it is necessary to ascend a flight of steps to get onto the walls so access for disabled visitors is difficult and as part of the trail runs along the wall the Millennium Trail is not particularly suited for those that are infirm. On the other hand, that said the route is very flat so you certainly don't need to be an athlete and it's only about 5km long in length. I deviated from the route quite a bit so it took me about 3 hours to complete from start to finish but I think that a couple of hours is a reasonable estimation.
Overall I think the Millennium Trail is a great idea and a perfect way to undertake a quick tour of the city.