17 reasons to visit Cheshire in the English countryside, quite close to Wales!

A view of the Penhaligon's shop sign from The Rows in Chester!
A view of the Penhaligon’s shop sign from The Rows in Chester!

So last week, I went to Cheshire and I had a most marvelous time!

As you know, I obtained an MA – Masters of Art Degree at the University of Chester.

Good Times!

If you would like to know a little bit about England just follow the links below:

Cricket and a spot of lunch!
Cricket and a spot of lunch!

And of course, if you want to read about Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

As I told you a few weeks ago, Cheshire is very close to Wales, sometimes having both Welsh and English names, in various parts of the county!

Wales is very nice. I might write about it someday!

The White Hart Hotel, Cheadle, next to St Mary's Church.
The White Hart Hotel, Cheadle, next to St Mary’s Church.

I grew up in Cheadle, a suburban village in what was then known as Greater Manchester, and when my brother and I went to university, my family moved to Cheshire.

Cheshire is an Anglo-Saxon settlement first thought to have been created by King Edward (Edward the Elder) in AD920. The county is in the country (the country-side) and is mostly rural with small towns and villages supporting the local agriculture and industry, and so we have horses not far from the home of one of my brothers!

It’s a lovely place so now’s the time to write about it.

17 REASONS TO VISIT CHESHIRE IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE, QUITE CLOSE TO WALES!

Cheshire's Peak District.
Cheshire’s Peak District.
  • Cheshire is a county in the North-West of England and has a population of about 1 million people.
  • Explore Cheshire’s Peak District which covers 100 square miles of inspiring scenery brimming with dramatic landscapes, world-class events, fascinating history, wonderful heritage and beautiful gardens.
  • Take a vigorous walk through the Gritstone Trail – a 35 mile walking route covering wild moorland, rocky outcrops, impressive peaks and breathtaking scenery. Gulp!
  • Go on a rather more gentler sprint through the Sankey Valley Country Park & Trail.
A swan in Sankey Valley Park in Cheshire. © Mike Boden.
A swan in Sankey Valley Park in Cheshire.
© Mike Boden.

The 15 mile (24km) Sankey Valley Park is steeped in history and follows the course of England’s first and oldest canal spanning from St Helens in Lancashire right down to Speke in Liverpool!

The canal was opened in 1757 to carry coal from the mines around the St Helens area to the markets of Liverpool and Cheshire and pioneered the canal age from the late 18th century to the early 20th century.

We were in the Great Sankey section which has a combination of rivers, ponds, woodlands and meadows, all forming a superb backdrop to a variety of recreational and historic features.

We took a stroll under many a bridge but I was slightly worried about some of the marshland that we waded through, as I had on one of my favourite orange suede shoes!

Ooops!

Sankey Valley Park in Cheshire.
Sankey Valley Park in Cheshire.

The Sankey Valley Country Park & Trail is easy to navigate and has a history of canal activity. Just imagine horses pulling boats, the canal full of life and the sounds and smells of artisans hammering, wood-cutting, metal working, coal-burning and steaming timbers!

The park is also enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and anglers and has a maze.

  • Go the old haunted house known as Bewsey Old Hall where tales of a ghostly white rabbit, being chased by a pack of hounds, are to be seen!
Bewsey Old Hall in Warrington, Cheshire. You can see why they thought it might be haunted! @ frigger, on Flickr
Bewsey Old Hall in Warrington, Cheshire.
You can see why they thought it might be haunted!
@ frigger, on Flickr

Bewsey Old Hall is situated at Great Sankey and is on the western side of the Sankey Valley Park! Once a monastic grange, owned by the monks of Titley Abbey in Essex, Bewsey Old Hall and estate was home to the Lords of Warrington from the thirteenth (13th) to the seventeenth (17th) century and was also visited by the first Stuart king – James I – in 1617!

  • Follow the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) which is an exciting route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, linking the North and Irish seas, passing through the Pennines, alongside rivers and canals, and through some of the most historic towns and cities in the North of England!

The Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) passes from coast-to-coast between Southport and Hornsea, is 215 miles (346km) long, runs along disused railway lines and canal towpaths, is a relatively easy trail, and is open to horse riding!

Follow the path and route in Cheshire!
Follow the path and route in Cheshire!

My type of trail!

The Shadow Catchers at the Warrington Museum in Cheshire.
The Shadow Catchers at the Warrington Museum in Cheshire.

Now Warrington isn’t on the map for the world’s greatest artist, but what I saw there, left an impression on me nevertheless! I was interested in going there because I’ve always liked knowing about the history of a people and this museum had loads to teach me!

I had no idea that Warrington was so famous, or had such influence on life in the North, made clearer through the lenses of local photographers, and historic collections, in the 1840’s!

Wow!

  • OK but I bet you wouldn’t believe that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, otherwise known as Lewis Carroll, the author of the children’s classics Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, used to live in the Old Parsonage at the Cheshire village of Daresbury. Quite near Great Sankey!
The dreadful Red Queen & Alice in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!
The dreadful Red Queen & Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!

In fact, it was said that Warrington and the countryside of Cheshire gave him inspiration and there’s even a Lewis Carroll Centre in Daresbury and a large stone table of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the centre of the shopping quarter in Warrington!

  • Go for a Snowdrop Sunday Stroll at Adlington Hall and experience the showcase of snowdrops within the wilderness of Adlington’s Gardens.
  • Jump into a lambing weekend where you can actually see new lambs being born!
Lambs being born in Cheshire!
Lambs being born in Cheshire!
  • Ramble along to a Spring Bird Walk at Hare Hill which is a tranquil woodland garden, surrounded by parkland an a delightful walled garden.
  • Join a local bird watching expert for an informative two-hour walk through the garden and parkland at Hare Hill so that you can learn to identify birdsong and discover more about bird activity at this time of year. Or if you’re feeling particularly energetic, you ought to  join the Rangers at that very same Hare Hill to gain an insight into Ranger life and learn about the day-to-day running of the park, and the life of a National Trust Ranger.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Chester.
Chester.
  • Because Chester!

This article is isn’t sponsored and even though I rambled along the Sankey Valley Country Park & Trail, all the mud on my orange suede shoes, are my very own!

In April, I’ll be going to Portugal and Spain. Olé!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

Watch this space!

17 reasons to visit Cheshire in the English countryside, quite close to Wales!

Have you ever been to the English country-side? Which reason to visit Cheshire did you find inspiring?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions about Cheshire, Chester, or England, send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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An English Education: The misadventures of a post-graduate student at the University of Chester.

I'm an MA graduate from the University of Chester. Whoopee!
I’m an MA graduate from the University of Chester.
Whoopee!

So on Friday, I attended the very dignified graduation ceremony for my MA Degree.

Yep!

I obtained an MA – Masters of Art Degree at the University of Chester.

In Chester.

In England!

My specialisation was in Education Management and Training. A bit like an MBA for teachers!

I am extremely pleased.

And very proud!

WHY A MASTERS DEGREE?

My Master of Arts Degree! University of Chester.
My Master of Arts Degree!
University of Chester.

Why not?

As I told you, a few weeks ago, my first degree was obtained at an elite university abroad, with a BSc. honours degree in Political Science! I then did a Masters Degree at Durham University which is the 3rd oldest university in England!

However, all of this really was a very long time ago… and since then, I’ve spent a lot of time as the Regional Project Manager starting up an educational business in both Prague (the Czech Republic) and Bratislava (Slovakia). Then I became a senior education consultant and head-hunter in the UK, which eventually led to the previous position of school headship and management in Berlin.

Over the years, I’ve been awfully busy!

Life Coach

I used to be an ex-school head and manager!

Now I’m a corporate inter-cultural life coach and an educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, as well as being an International Social Media Lifestyle & Professional Travel Blogger!

I love teaching and training others, but after a while, your mind starts to get mushy and a thirst for more learning develops.

Cue, a second Masters Degree.

At the University of Chester!

Yes, I’m not afraid to say it, I’m somewhat of a boffin and a geek!

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE UNIVERSITY OF CHESTER?

A view of the Penhaligon's shop sign from The Rows in Chester!
A view of the Penhaligon’s shop sign from The Rows in Chester!

OMG!

Because Chester!

Chester is a small city in the county of Cheshire and is very close to the tiny country of Wales!

It has an effortless combination of history and heritage and is a very old Roman city founded in AD79 in the Roman province of Britannia, over-flowing with history, glory and rich archaeological and architectural treasures from the era of Roman occupation!

A part of the old Bridge and Wall in Chester!
A part of the old Bridge and Wall in Chester!

Not only was Chester an old Roman fort, but it was one of the last cities to fall to the French Normans and also boast of one of the best  preserved walled cities in Britain. In fact, part of that old Roman wall was just outside my Faculty window!

Lyme Park © Visit Britain - Joe Wainwright. Cheshire County Council.
Lyme Park
© Visit Britain – Joe Wainwright.
Cheshire County Council.
  • The student population in Chester itself is small with just 2,500, although the university as a whole has a population of about 17,000 students throughout all their campuses based in Warrington and Chester!
  • It’s pretty and was voted the fifth prettiest city in Europe (USA Today 2013)!
  • It’s very livable and was voted the sixth best city in the UK (Telegraph Travel Awards 2014)!
  • It’s easy to access being that it’s right in the centre of Manchester, Liverpool, Cheshire and the countryside of North Wales!
  • My brother lives in Cheshire.
  • There is countryside all around being that Chester is a part of the most beautiful county of Cheshire.
  • Although Chester has all the modern amenities of a contemporary modern town, it still has all the charm of a traditional and most historical ye olde England!
  • The University of Chester is entwined with the success and the future of the city of Chester.
  • It’s Town and Gown.

How could I not want to study at the University of Chester!

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHESTER – THE FACTS!

The entrance to my campus - Riverside - University of Chester.
The entrance to my campus – Riverside – University of Chester.
  • The University of Chester has been making history since 1839, when it was founded by pioneers such as the great 19th-century British Prime minister – William Gladstone, the Earl of Derby and a former Archbishop of Canterbury!
  • It is the fifth (5th) oldest English higher education establishment of any kind, pre-dating all but Oxford, Cambridge, London and Durham! Its’ oldest original buildings in the ancient city of Chester were the first in the UK to be purpose-built for the professional training of teachers!
Historic surroundings at the University of Chester.
Historic surroundings at the University of Chester.
  • In the 20th Century however, the University of Chester offers a wide variety of course combinations and education degrees are now just a small part of what the university has to provide.
  • Students are drawn from the United Kingdom, Europe and overseas, particularly in France, Germany, Spain, Finland, Australia, the United States, India, China, Nigeria, Georgia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Thailand, Saudia Arabia and Malaysia!
  • MPhil and PhD qualifications are a growing area of activity with the emphasis very much on research that has practical benefits, both economically and culturally with University work being of great development and connections with industry, commerce and the professions, well-respected in the field.
Back to school again!
Back to school again!

I’m sorely tempted to do a PhD qualification myself!

I know!

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

I was two (2) points short of Distinction!
I was two (2) points short of Distinction!

In January, I got the confirmation that my final dissertation had been marked and confirmed, by the External Examiner, and that I met the university requirements of an MA qualification.

I was two (2) points short of Distinction!

Then six (6) weeks ago!

Just six (6) weeks ago, I was invited to confirm my attendance at the University of Chester Graduation Ceremony to be held at Chester Cathedral!

The date?

Friday, March 17th!

My personal Congregation Invitation card for the University of Chester.
My personal Congregation Invitation card for the University of Chester.

I was delighted but in shock.

In six (6) weeks.

OMG!

Panic ensued!

Oh dear! What to do!
Oh dear! What to do!

Flights needed to be booked. The academic gown needed to be booked. Days off had to be booked. A fancy restaurant in Chester had to be booked. My husbands’ expensive Italian suit – The Music Producer – had to be dry-cleaned. My brother – The Book Writer – had to be contacted. The Congregation invitation cards for my guests had to be booked. The After-Drinks Graduation Celebration tickets had to be reserved. I had to buy a new dress!

But most importantly, “The Tall Young Gentleman” had to have permission to be taken out of the elite German school that he presently attends.

Not an easy task.

I resorted to sending all my MA confirmation letters, the graduation guide brochure. And begging!

It worked.

Permission was granted.

I had to buy him a new suit too!

THE CONGREGATION FOR THE PRESENTATION OF DEGREES AND AWARDS CEREMONY.

Pomp & Circumstance - The Town Crier in Chester!
Pomp & Circumstance – The Town Crier in Chester!

We arrived in England the day before and once we got to my brothers’ house in Cheshire, we proceeded to go to Chester, as I still had to pick up my academic gown!

My academic gown came from the 1689 Royal robe-maker Ede & Ravenscroft; thought to be the oldest firm of tailors in the world. It has been in operation for some 320 years due to its unique family lineage and sense of British excellence!

Think an establishment similar to Ollivander’s: Makers of Fine Wands in Harry Potter!

My academic gown came from the 1689 Royal robe-maker Ede & Ravenscroft!
My academic gown came from the 1689 Royal robe-maker Ede & Ravenscroft!

And I paid a handsome £51.00 or €66.00 for the privilege.

The graduation ceremony was a formal affair so the appropriate academic dress had to be worn at the ceremony, without which the graduand would not be presented with their award.

The ceremony was to begin in Chester Cathedral at 10:30, with seating being completed 30 minutes before the ceremony was to begin.

We arrived in Chester a little after 09:00 and then proceeded to look for parking which we found, via the local shopping center!

Outside the Town Hall in Chester.
Outside the Town Hall in Chester.

Once we parked the car, we then proceeded to go the Town Hall and take as many photographs as we could.

It was actually rather sunny so it wasn’t an issue running around with just a flimsy dress on and a pair of black kitten heels!

After we had exhausted ourselves with photographs, we had to split up as I had to go to the Abbey Square Entrance of the Cathedral and my family had to go to the St. Werburgh Street (West Door) Entrance!

Tudor architecture & very cobbled stones!
Tudor architecture & very cobbled stones!

We had to walk on very cobbled stones and I was grateful that I hadn’t brought my other shoes instead as I probably wouldn’t be able to walk!

Once we went through the arched doorway, we were directed to a corridor beneath the Cathedral and to the ushers who checked where we were to be seated.

All graduates were seated in the middle of the Cathedral with family and friends at the side. As well as large flat screen so that people could see the proceedings as the Cathedral has a lot of ancient pillars!

I was allocated to seat 227 sitting in the midst of other Master of Arts graduands from the Faculty of Education!

And at 10:30 on the dot the ceremony began.

Trumpet Fanfare at the University of Chester!
Trumpet Fanfare at the University of Chester!

First there was a Trumpet Fanfare in which the bespoke fanfare banners of the University of Chester were produced. Dressed in the Royal Colours of the Queens Guard, the dignified occasion began with a herald of trumpets.

The Procession was preceded by an Usher dressed in Uniform, holding a gold gilt staff and mace, and a dignified walk.

The Procession of Distinguished & Academic guests through the town of Chester!
The Procession of Distinguished & Academic guests through the town of Chester!

The distinguished and academic guests such as the Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Chester, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Warrington, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Shrewsbury, the Sheriff of Cheshire, the Lord Bishop of Chester, the Dean of Chester, and the Honorary Graduand – Mr. Colin Daniels – were present and dressed in full graduation regalia, 15th century distinctive robes, coloured hoods, armorial bearings, badges, frilly shirts, chains and cocked hats!

After that we did a bit of singing and a bit of prayer.

The Official Opening was rendered with:

“Permissum vicis in eo”

or

“With Authority. I declare this ceremony open.”

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Chester. Professor Tim Wheeler.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Chester.
Professor Tim Wheeler.

And an Address made by the Vice-Chancellor of the University.

After that, the Ushers directed the row of graduands at the appropriate time as to when to start discreetly walking to the edge of the Cathedral.

Each and every graduand present was called forward and named.

My part came about half-way through the proceedings, and feeling a bit sweaty, I too walked on the ancient cobbled flagstones, and tried not to stumble and fall!

Waving profusely, and grinning away!
Waving profusely, and grinning away!

We were guided to the left-hand side of the platform and expected to walk in a continuous procession. I managed to pass by The Music Producer, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and my brother – The Book Writer – who were waving profusely, and grinning away!

Full MA Academic Robe, Hood, and Classical Cap at the Graduation Ceremony at the University of Chester!!
Full MA Academic Robe, Hood, and Classical Cap at the Graduation Ceremony at the University of Chester!!

The Ushers once again adjusted our robes, as my hood was rather alarmingly beginning to slip down, and off my shoulders!

We walked up a wooden ramp where another Usher whispered instructions to me. I was to walk steadily forward. Shake the Vice-Chancellors (VC) hand, wait for his speech, shake hands again, and then walk steadily off.

Shakingly, I did just that.

And tried not to smile too wildly.

I don’t think I succeeded but one fellow even managed to get in a selfie with the VC!

So I’m good!

I had about 15 seconds of academic fame as my name was called forward first, on the top of the ceremonial list!

Photography & Camera.

There was a photographer and a camera-man discreetly placed on the left-hand side of the VC and then I was helped off by an Usher, wearing ceremonial white gloves.

There was a table discreetly placed and I was given my hard-sought for Master of Arts certificate, before proceeding back to my seat again!

There was a Conferment of a Honorary Degree to as of thereafter – Dr. Colin Daniels – who addressed the Congregation briefly.

At 12:00, there was the Official Closing with a brief prayer and the singing of the British National Anthem.

On a given signal, we too became a part of the official University Procession and were able to leave the Cathedral through the West Door, as Academic Members of the University of Chester.

Into the English sunshine!

The Music Producer, The Tall Young Gentleman, myself, and my brother - The Book Writer outside the Chester Cathedral!
The Music Producer, The Tall Young Gentleman, myself, and my brother – The Book Writer – outside the Chester Cathedral!

Cue more photographs!

CHESTER CATHEDRAL

The most beautiful Chester Cathedral.
The most beautiful Chester Cathedral.

Oh my!

The fact that the Graduation Ceremony took place at Chester Cathedral speaks volumes.

The stunning Chester cathedral was founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092 and the original church was built in the Romanesque or Norman style and rebuilt from around 1250 onwards in the Gothic style.

A process that took almost 275 years!

Outside the Chester Cathedral.
Outside the Chester Cathedral.

With the most complete set of monastic buildings in England, a Georgian square and series of streets, the remains of a Roman barracks, a Falconry, a Nature Garden, Organ Recitals, hosting of the finest choirs in the country, the largest open green spaces within the boundaries of the Chester Walls, and the only surviving ecclesiastical courtroom in the country.

We were in splendid company!

AFTER THE CEREMONY

Wood Pigeon - Wirral shot wood pigeon breast, pigeon tagine sauce, falafel, olives, rhubarb, apricot, pomegranate, medjool dates, couscous & corriander from The Chef's Table in Chester! Yum!
Wood Pigeon – Wirral shot wood pigeon breast, pigeon tagine sauce, falafel, olives, rhubarb, apricot, pomegranate, medjool dates, couscous & corriander from The Chef’s Table in Chester!
Yum!

After the ceremony, we went for drinks hosted by my faculty at the Crowne Plaza Hotel nearby, and then for lunch at a lovely family run restaurant called The Chefs Table.

A wooden platter of cheese with a classic garnish, crackers and seasonal chutney at the Chef's Table in Chester!
A wooden platter of cheese with a classic garnish, crackers and seasonal chutney at the Chef’s Table in Chester!

It was rather splendid.

WHAT NEXT?

What's next?
What’s next?

Is it any wonder that I chose to obtain a M.A. in Education Leadership and Management at the University of Chester.

I’m sorely tempted to do a PhD qualification too!

I know!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Lift up your caps!
Lift up your caps!

It was rather a wonderful day!

Have a Pimms on me! Cheers!
Have a Pimms on me!
Cheers!

This article is isn’t sponsored and an English Education, coupled with an MA Masters Degree that I collected, is my very own!

In April, I’ll be going to Portugal and Spain. Olé!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

Watch this space!

An English Education - The misadventures of a post-graduate student at the University of Chester.

Which aspect of the ceremony did you find fascinating? Have you ever had, or thought of an English education?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions about Chester, the University of Chester or England, send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!