I had the most amazing weekend in Chichester where I graduated and had the most wonderful time celebrating the occasion with my family.
So hey! This is my first travel blog, and what a great occasion to write about the city I studied at for three years. It was great going back and everything felt so familiar, and it wasn't weird at all to be returning back.
I love Chichester. It's a picturesque city, with beautiful buildings, cobbled grounds, vibrant markets, and the most beautiful cathedral I've ever seen.
It's a home from home returning here. I think I'll always have a little soft spot for this place.
And this time it was nice to actually have a proper mooch around Chichester, as usually, I was too busy to go exploring as I was either rushing by to get a lecture, or I was catching a bus, or I was enjoying Chichester Gate for a meal and took everything for granted, because at the time I knew nothing different.
Now returning back has made me really appreciate how beautiful this city really is.
So let's do a full rundown on what we did on the weekend. I have separate blogs to write regarding specific things we did here, but for now, this is just a break down with lots of pretty photos.
We dropped everything off at our hotel, Trents Hotel, which is the hotel we stayed at and was 100% better and swankier than a Travelodge. We unpacked, had a cup of tea and chilled before we decided to go back out again and explore.
Mum and I love a charity shop, so we had a browse around the local charity shops before we walked to visit the beautiful Chichester Cathedral, which although I love admiring and had done so whilst studying here, I had never actually gone inside and had a look around, so this was the perfect opportunity.
The Cathedral is simply stunning. I was overwhelmed over the beauty of the architecture and how big it was inside, let alone how huge it was outside. It's been a central tourist attraction for over 900 years and it's like walking around Hogwarts when walking around its gardens and inside the church tunnels. I'm also a fond fan of the glass windows.
Coming out of the cathedral, we came across the most gorgeous cottages that were nestled away from the main entrance. They were like seeing a fairytale come to life, with the red leaves that covered the cobbled walls, dainty paintwork and big wooden doors. I had to stand there and admire then a little bit.
The main thing to do in Chichester simply walks and do sight-seeing. There is always so much to see in Chichester, and everything is so picturesque that there is never a dull sight. The cathedral offers lots of walking tours, which unfortunately we didn't get to do as they actually had a service on whilst we went to visit.
The most well-known attraction of Chichester has to be the Chichester Cathedral, which as said above we went to visit and enjoyed thoroughly. It's simply stunning.
There is also a Chichester City Walls Walk Tour which gives you a whole tour around Chichester city centre if you're someone who is new to the area. I highly recommend doing this, as I did this when I first came to the University and you're given so much information about the history of the city.
Of course, there is the University if you're looking for a vibrant student city and education.
The University of Chichester is ranked as one of the highest percentages of Universities for student retention, and I can say it's a great place to be when it comes to being a student. I'm not much of a club person myself, but there is plenty of night-life to be had here with so many good pubs on your doorstep, two student unions and Brighton and Portsmouth just a train ride away.
You also have the fantastic Chichester Festival Theatre (where I graduated, by the way!) who produce a fantastic range of theatre in their annual seasons, and I have been lucky enough to see some phenomenal shows that have transferred into the West End including Guys and Dolls, Gypsy and Mack and Mabel.
Being in Chichester, you're so close to the lovely beaches that West Sussex has to offer. Bognor Regis is a little seaside town which is excellent for families to visit over the summer, as it always has so much happening, such as fairs, train rides on the seafront and you've got Butlins literally just a walk away.
West Wittering is another beach which has been highly recommended to me, which sadly I've never visited but it's known for its sandy beach which is perfect for little ones.
You won't be stuck for something to eat in Chichester when you come here. You have SO MANY OPTIONS. You have Chichester Gate Leisure Park, which is filled with great restaurants and a Cineworld, ideal for any day out. Ones I can personally recommend here are Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Nandos, Frankie & Benny's, and Mucho Burrito. All of these I have been to at some point during my University studies, and they've all been great.
There are also many local cafes and restaurants in the city centre to enjoy too if you don't fancy going out of the centre. You have big chain restaurants like Wagamama, Bill's and Real Burger Kitchen, to your local cafes like The Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tea Rooms, Costa Coffee, The Swallow Bakery and Artie's Kitchen. You're also never stuck for pubs and nightlife here with places like The Vestry, Slug and Lettuce, Park Tavern and The George and Dragon Inn which was the pub we funnily enough played scrabble in!
We stayed at the Trents Hotel right in the heart of the city centre, which is a pub/restaurant with accommodation and I fully recommend it, and will do a review on soon! There are plenty of pubs in the city centre that offer accommodation such as The George and Dragon Inn. There are also some lovely hotels in the area like the Goodwood Hotel, which obviously lots of people go to when attending Goodwood.
If you're simply just looking for a room with nothing too fancy, there are local Premier Inns and Travelodges scattered everywhere, including a Premier Inn right opposite the Cathedral, which I've stayed at before when I came for my University audition and it's a rather lovely view.
You can even stay in Accommodation at Chichester Cathedral if you want to really experience the heart of the city.
Either way, whether you're looking for a 5* hotel, a cosy B&B for a long weekend or simply a room for the night, Chichester has plenty of options for accommodation. I highly recommend looking on TripAdvisor, which was where we found the hotel for Trents and also Air B&B is always a good shout.
If you want to see for yourself what Chichester has to offer then head over to the Visit Chichester website where it has everything you need to plan a long weekend away, or even just a day trip here, plus it has a What's On guide so you can see what local events are taking place right now.
I'm really happy that I came back as a visitor/tourist and not as a student. It was lovely to see the city in a different light, as before I probably took it for granted as it was a 2nd home to me at the time.
Now I really took everything in and appreciated what a vibrant city it is and I'm not sure whether I'll be returning down south anytime soon now that I have graduated, but I hope it's a place that will still feel like a home to me.