High street stars of Handbridge
PUBLISHED: 15:01 08 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:43 20 February 2013
Handbridge, near Chester, has a quaint 'old world' feel but its shops, cafes and pubs are not behind the times. This pretty village has so much to offer. WORDS BY POLLY BERKELEY<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID BILLINGTON
Interesting to find that although Handbridge is a mere 10 minutes walk from the centre of Chester across the historic Old Dee Bridge it is not only a popular place to live but it has a character all its own.
There are some wonderful shops, a Roman shrine to the goddess Minerva, the famous Queens Park Suspension Bridge, St Marys Church and The Meadows on the banks of the river which are home to an abundance of wildlife.
Visually, Handbridge is a handsome place with its mixture of local stone and half timbered buildings, its river and bridge.
And many of the shops here have real character and like the local butcher have quite a history too. Striking in so many ways, Handbridge is a fine example of a smaller area competing with the bigger city by providing something just a little bit different for visitors.
There are stores some of which are quite niche selling everything from high-end footwear to quality homeware and, at the other end of the scale, handmade confectionery.
And it wont be just the king sized men who will want to shop for delicious pies and quiches, Spanish, Italian and quintessentially British food, the best of Cheshire, home cooked dishes, cakes, local ales, wines, champagnes at the delis or locally grown fruit and vegetables at the greengrocer.
After a browse around the shops and local attractions there are many opportunitites to enjoy a drink or a delicious meal in an historic inn or local restaurant. Look out for pubs holding regular beer festivals featuring a range of guest ales and pub restaurants serving plenty of fresh local produce.
Where is Handbridge?
Handbridge (Treboeth in Welsh) is a district of Chester on the south bank of the River Dee. A settlement has existed on the site since the Iron Age.
The area expanded following the collapse of the Roman occupation of Britain when Chester grew too large for its walls. It was originally mainly a quarry for the abundant sandstone that much of Chester is built from but later became a centre for salmon fishing on the Dee.
A claim to fame is a small cottage on the riverside named Nowhere, believed to have once been a secret tavern. Apparently during a 1963 gig in Chester by The Beatles, John Lennon heard about the house and was intrigued by the name so much so that the song Nowhere Man is said to have been inspired by that very cottage.