I had decided that after my week in Cornwall I would head back to London via Canterbury. Penzance to Canterbury by train is a seven hour trip so I wanted to break it up somewhere along the way. I chose Chichester, mainly because of its famous theatre.
It was my fault, even after all the trains and buses I’d used in the last fortnight, that I still thought I would get on a train at Penzance and get off, relaxed and rested, at Chichester. Actually it took over six hours and three different trains.
It was harder work than I expected catching trains around. I was gradually discovering that the only way to get off an English train in one piece is to stand at the doorway, case in hand, as the train stops. Otherwise, the people on the platform pour in and you’re trapped.
Next time I’ll be more prepared. It’s a bit rude, though. We, at least, wait for those getting off before getting on ourselves. I wonder what others’ experiences are of British Rail.
Chichester’s plan is inherited from the Romans, the North, South, East and West shopping streets radiating out from a central Medieval Market Cross.
I was booked into The George and Dragon Inn, a pub at the top end of North Street. It was a pleasant walk along the cobbled, pedestrian-only street, past upmarket shops, boutiques and restaurants, and surrounded by quiet, elegantly-dressed people, which was all a bit of a shock to my system after, well, Penzance. I suddenly noticed how scruffy my shoes had become and I was wearing the same grey jeans I’d started out in.
A handy travel hint: if you want to disguise the fact that your jeans need washing, wear grey. You can’t tell.
A barn at the rear of the hotel has been turned into Bed and Breakfast accommodation, and I loved it. My room was complete with a little sitting area. So comfortable.
Just outside my door was the beer garden. So convenient.
It was a terrific spot, in the middle of the shops, a short walk from the theatre and close to the cathedral.
By this time it was late afternoon. I crossed the ring road (all these towns have ring roads I was discovering, a marvellous idea for keeping traffic out of the centre of town) and wandered into the Festival Theatre to book a ticket for Much Ado About Nothing for the next night.
I was really looking forward to exploring. The old wall, some of it going back to Roman times, circles the city centre, Chichester Cathedral sits right in the middle of town, and there’s a lovely park a couple of minutes walk away. But it had been a huge day and all I could manage for then was a quick meal in a friendly little restaurant and returning to my room to fall asleep in front of Doc Martin.
11 thoughts on “Chichester UK”
The George and Dragon looks a lovely place to stay in Chichester. It’s many years since I visited but I have fond memories of it. I think you must have been unlucky when alighting from British trains. Passengers waiting to board are usually polite
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cont’d …. and allow people to step down before getting on themselves.
British train procedure is the same as is it for trains and tube/metro/subway systems all over the world. When the train nears your station (listen for the announcement or watch your fellow passengers) you get up, collect your luggage, and stand in line in front of the doors. After everyone in line gets off, people waiting to board get on. If you waited until the train stopped to get up, naturally you had difficulties. Since the trains often stop very briefly, people are anxious to board as soon as the line clears.
It used to be that cross-country train trips in the England required a return to London and a change of station there. The situation is somewhat better these days. If you had started early you could have done this trip with one change at Bristol.
I hope you made it to the Roman ruins at Fishbourne while you were in Chichester.
Sadly, I missed Fishbourne and other stuff as well because I didn’t give myself enough time. I want to go back because I found Chichester a lovely place.
I don’t think I’ve been to Chichester – if I have it would have been many decades ago when I briefly worked on the south coast. It looks lovely.
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I never made it to Chichester, it sounds lovely Coral. We didn’t have any trouble with the trains but that may have been because we were a bit anxious and always stood up well before the station.
Hi Penny, There was a lot of aggro on this particular day, something to do with the rail strikes that were happening at the time, maybe. On the last leg that got me to Chichester, the train was packed and everyone was very upset about something,so I don’t know what was going on. One thing I found harder than I expected was stowing my case in a way that I could get to it when I needed it. That day, I had to push through crowds of people and then drag out other cases to get mine from the back. No wonder I almost missed getting off. Oh well, it’s all practice. I’ll be more prepared next time, I’m sure.
Sorry you had such a stressful journey Coral. Going cross country is quite difficult in the Uk as you always have to change trains so many times! We went up to Cheltenham from Gatwick in April – that was 1 change in Reading but it still seemed a long journey. Going north/south eg York to Kings Cross and back is much more straightforward but I do agree it can be difficult to get on and off trains with luggage. If I’m by myself I find blocking the doorway and looking helpless usually ends in some”knight” stepping in to rescue me!! Not that I like playing the helpless female but sometimes needs must! I like grey jeans too – I never know how some of these fashion and travel bloggers manage to swan round in perfect white jeans or pants – I would have spilled something or got a mark on them in no time at all. Chichester looks a lovely place 🙂
Thanks so much for that Rosemary. I was starting to think I imagined it all. As for swanning around looking fabulous, I certainly haven’t worked it out. I just rely on the fact that no-one knows me. I’m hoping to go back to Chichester sometime. It would be a really nice place to stop and have a break.
The structure at the market’s cross looks so epic. I would like to see thaf up close someday. More power!
Lovely, Carlo, though covered up the weekend I was there, so I missed it in the flesh, so to speak. A good excuse to go back. I loved Chichester and it would be a good spot for a rest in the middle of a holiday, I think.