The city walls hold Chester tightly in their grasp. But age doesn’t dictate what’s inside and what’s outside . Row houses like those seen in Coronation Street are on the inside; the Roman theatre and gardens are on the outside. The Cathedral, begun in 1092, is an insider - the River Dee flows gently past as an outsider.

The Roodee Racecourse, where there’s been horse racing since 1539, is just outside the walls, which means great views for free when there’s a race meeting.  The Rows with their great and characterful shopping on two levels are inside as are most of the Tudor buildings on Eastgate. The train station is outside. The view down Eastgate from under the clock has much black and white finery and the people look like characters in a Lowry painting.

But those people make outsiders feel welcome. The landlord inside  The Watergate Inn gave two hungry travellers just up from London bread and chips at 11:15 on a Sunday night after the 2010 FIFA World Cup final had finished. For free. Nowhere else was open. The Guinness was excellent too.

julian200Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at