I’m eating crumpets and drinking tea (it’s such a cliche that it’s not again) and taking a break from freezing my camera hand off while I wait to meet GB from his beat boxing lesson.
That’s the reason we are in this lovely little pocket of the country that I didn’t even know about this weekend you see.
It was a rather strange request for a Christmas present if ever I heard one but a genuine one all the same and something he has long been wanting to try. After months of online tutorials and me spending my evenings listening to a lot of ‘boom tit push tit’ and ‘boots and cats’ (Killah Kellah look it up) it was the least I could do, for my own sanity if nothing else.
And Chichester offered somewhere new for me to visit and explore too so we decided to make a weekend of it. It really is a interesting place to visit for a day out or like us a chance to get away from London for the weekend. It’s only an hour and a half on the train and immediately feels like you have been transported into a scene from Sherlock Holmes with it’s quaint little town centre, narrow cobbled streets and shops that I thought had died out a long time ago.
It’s got a Georgian feel to it with many of the original buildings from that time remaining… The town centre focuses around a central monument named The Cross, its four main streets leading off from this point and cleverly named north, south, east and west street making it nice and simple for touristy types like me to figure the place out.
The main tourist point seems to be the Cathedral which I noticed during my research (quick Google scan the night before) featured highly in all of the guides. It’s a beautiful building and has free entry all year round and free guided tours too if that’s your thing. I was quite happy to just walk around the grounds, take in the architecture and snap some artistic shots. The city centre gets pretty lively in the middle of the afternoon and offers all of the main high street shops you might need as well as a few independents too. I enjoyed a good rake through the last of the sales, managing to find some bargains which would have long since been snapped up in London. But where I had the most fun was in Chichester’s plethora of cook shops, each one stocking an array of amazing household goods none of which I needed yet all of which I wanted. My favourite was the Steamer Trading Cookshop which held every type of baking appliance I could ever need all in quirky designs and pink packaging. (I managed to spend 40 mins in there)
There is also the Royal Festival Hall which holds different plays, workshops and theatre shows throughout the year. Sadly there wasn’t anything on the weekend we were there (too early in the season) but I’ve heard through the grapevine that over summer it’s the place to be.
Because we only had a short amount of time we stayed central, in the towns main hotel (again according to google) The Ship Hotel. Situated perfectly at the top of North street, walking distance from the shops, cathedral and attractions its been renovated from an old doctors surgery and has retained a lot of the original features. The staircase is something to behold and the restaurant also seems to be one of Chichester’s favourites. I’m going to do a full review on the hotel in a separate post so I won’t go into too much detail here but we had a lovely stay.
However if you we’re here for longer or had a car to travel it might be worth staying outside of town. Chichester is close to the coast meaning there are lots of small coastal towns just nearby that offer more beaches and country walks if shopping and cathedrals aren’t your thing.
At first it seemed difficult to come by a decent restaurant that wasn’t either a chain (Prezzo, Ask, Cafe Rouge) or wildly expensive (French restaurant called Marie and Friends or continental at Marco’s) and we didn’t want to eat at the hotel purely just for the need to explore. Luckily while I was trying to manoeuvre the cobbles in heels GB managed to spot a little gem. Bill’s is open all day for lunch and brunches and then at night opens its upstairs restaurant for dinner and drinks. It’s set in an old butter mill so it’s great to look at, it almost seems like it should be a Manhattan loft space, full of quirky touches and unique decor. As soon as they brought us our bottle of wine in an empty olive tin I was sold. It would have made a great review but unfortunately I made the decision not to take my camera (a decision I later regretted when I saw all of the photo worthy blackboards hanging from the rafters with inspirational sayings about food and cooking). I’m still unsure as to who Bill is but he seems to make pretty good grub- I had a delicious gammon steak served with spicy Asian slaw and cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate dipping sauce to end. Cleverly Bill also offers his own range of sauces, cookbooks and condiments so if you see something you like on the menu and wonder how they cooked it, you can find out and add the ingredients to the bill… It was full of a young hip crowd and the staff were really friendly. If you are looking for somewhere a bit different from the chains that isn’t too expensive I would highly recommend.
Wearing: Red Cable knit jumper – Mango at ASOS, Black boots – River Island, Belt – homemade thanks to Kit Lee (blog post coming soon), Tartan coat – Marc by Marc Jacobs at Ebay, Hat – Warehouse, Bag – Zara
For us it was about time away from London, sitting in cute coffee shops and being twee (me) becoming a pro beat boxer (GB) nice dinners and lunches out, taking photos in the winter sun and cosy drinks in country pubs… But whatever you go to Chichester for (provided its not a crazy night out in a club) I’m sure you will be pleased.
I even managed to upgrade my phone while I was there… Turns out the staff in O2 Chichester are much friendlier than the staff in O2 Oxford Street!