Historic Cheshire Guide
Tatton Park occupies the other end of the architectural scale; this grand classical manor blessed with wonderful gardens is a popular destination for day-trippers from nearby Manchester. But Tatton Park is merely the tip of the iceberg as far as Cheshire gardens go; the county possesses a wealth of great horticultural experiences. Arley Hall is a former Garden of the Year winner and home to one of the first herbaceous borders ever planted in England. Bridgemere Garden World near Nantwich has some claim to be Europe's largest garden centre, and Norton Priory boasts 16 acres of gardens around the ruins of a 12th century Augustinian priory. (For more gardens, visit our Garden Finder and gazetteer of gardens).
Despite its proximity to the urban areas of Liverpool and Manchester, Cheshire offers a variety of fine walking opportunities in the countryside.
Turning from wood to stone, another medieval building worth visiting is Chester Cathedral, originally built as an abbey church for a Benedictine monastery. The Benedictines rebuilt that earlier church and lived here for 500 years until disbanded by Henry VIII in 1540. The abbey church then became Chester Cathedral. Within the Cathedral you can still see traces of the earlier monastic settlement, as well as lovely architectural features such as the 13th century Chapter House, with a cupboard of intricate medieval ironwork. A much-photographed Chester landmark is the Eastgate Clock, built in 1897 to mark the Silver Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Its intricate iron framework, designed by architect John Douglas, is a marvel of ornate Victorian style.
There is much more to visit at Chester - the award-winning Grosvenor Museum, which includes a reconstruction of a Georgian Period House, and the Toy Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of Matchbox toys, are just two popular attractions. And don't miss the familiar figure of the Chester Town Crier, who appears at The Cross at noon every day in summer, clad in a tricorn hat and bright red Georgian coat to shout out the news.