Sussex Life visits Chichester

PUBLISHED: 08:31 29 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:27 20 February 2013

Sussex Life visits Chichester

Sussex Life visits Chichester

With a history dating back to the Romans and a present which sees a whole host of cultural festivities making it a summer destination for people far and wide.

Dates for your diary

Chichester Festivities
Friday June 25 to Sunday July 11
Kicking off the summer in style with 17 days of world-class music, fireworks, talks, comedy, exhibitions and spectacular outdoor events.
All around the city: 01243 780192

Friday July 9 to Friday August 27
Bernard Shaws tale of the Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittles transformation into a society lady, starring a stellar cast of Rupert Everett, Stephanie Cole, Susie Blake,Phil Davisand Honeysuckle Weeks.
Chichester Festival Theatre,
Oaklands Park, Chichester PO19 6AP: 01243 781312

Glorious Goodwood
Tuesday July 27 to Saturday July 31
More than 100,000 people flock through the gates at Glorious Goodwoodto enjoy the chic, relaxed and incredibly stylish atmosphere of this race week.
Goodwood Racecourse,
Chichester PO18 0PS:
01243 755022

Roman Film Festival
Friday July 23 to Sunday July 25
Celebrating 1600 years since the Romans left Britain in 410AD, a weekend of films and documentaries presented jointly by Chichester District Museum and New Park Cinema. Alexander the Great, Gladiator, Spartacus and Centurion will all be shown along with a series of documentaries on the invasion.Tickets available from Chichester Cinema.
New Park, Chichester PO19 7XY: 01243 786650

With a history dating back to the Romans and a present which sees a whole host of cultural festivities making it a summer destination for people far and wide, Chichester is a launch pad to some of the countys top attractions and offers fantastic shopping and dining. Matthew Williams explores

Shop till you drop

Laid out by the Romans on a cross, Chichesters city centre takes some effort to get lost in (North, East, South and West streets all provide clues).
For the ladies, Pushka at Southgate and Little London at, well, Little London, off East Street, are popular destinations serving up individual and unique offerings.

Meanwhile, situated on North Street, RL Austen is an independent family run jeweller, which dates all the way back to 1794.
Established in 1999, and also to be found on North Street, Chantry House Oaks started when the owner was let down by a fellow tradesman and has since developed a reputation as makers of first class, solid oak furniture.

In these increasingly green times, books, toys and gifts to help you on your way can be found at Hidden Natures cosy bookshop cafe on West Street. Bookworms can also find solace at Kims Bookshop on South Street.

Hidden treasures

Whether you live there, work in the city, or are visiting, you may want to discover a hidden treasure located in its centre. Bishops Palace Gardens is situated within the walls, next to the Cathedral and has now been developed to offer a peaceful retreat for all to enjoy. The gardens date back to 1147-48 when the cathedral was moved from Selsey to Chichester.

Even when it is cloudy up to 4,500 stars can be spotted at Kingsham Farm, Kingsham Road. Thats because it is home to the South Downs Planetarium, which opens on select occasions, showcasing everything from the Northern Lights to Hubbles Glorious Universe.

Out and about

For the most informed Chichester history, its worth joining one of the city walking tours, which run on Saturdays at 2.30pm, Sundays at 2.30pm and Tuesdays at 11am.

Away from the city itself, the gorgeous South Downs are right on the doorstep, with short drives to the likes of the Weald and Downland Museum, Goodwood and the polo at Cowdray.

Set in 50 acres of beautiful Sussex countryside, the Weald and Downland Museum in particular takes you back to another era. It is a fascinating collection of nearly 50 historic buildings dating from the 13th to the 19th century, which were rescued from destruction and moved to the museum from all over the country.

Or why not take to the high seas with the husband and wife crewed 33ft sailing yacht, Cascade, which can be chartered from 95 and sales from the citys harbour. The famous West Wittering beach is also close by, for those who like a more leisurely pace.

Grab a bite

There are so many options for eating out in Chichester that a brisk walk will undoubtedly be needed before or after sampling some of their delights if efforts have been made to get in shape for the summer holidays.

Alternatively, you could just go the whole hog, and get stuck into some boutique American baking at The Swallow Bakery on North Street, which serves up everything from cupcakes to milkshakes they claim to be funky.

On the more traditional side of things, the bimonthly farmers market (first and third of the month) provides for those looking to cut down their food miles (for those with patience, the annual Chichester Local Food Fare is also held from Friday September 10 to Sunday September 12).
While billing itself as a traditional coffee house and tea rooms, The Buttery is located inside a late 12th century building called The Crypt on South Street. Probably best not to get locked in there then at close. For tea aficionados, St Martins Organic Tea Rooms and the Little London Tea Rooms also come regularly recommended.

Evenings have got plenty to offer, with the likes of The Dining Room at Purchases on North Street lining itself up as the crme de la crme and ideally located for a pre-theatre supper. Flying under the gastropub tag, the nearby George and Dragon Inn has a decked courtyard, perfect for summer dining.

A bit of a trek out of the town on Birdham Road is the rustic converted cow shed, housing The Cider House restaurant which is run by master chef Tony Bale and Julia Dent. He even once hosted his own television show in New Zealand. Another of the more hidden gems is El Castizo, which can be found on St Pancras, and serves traditional Spanish tapas.

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