High street shopping in Hoole

Hoole is a stone's throw from Chester city centre but it has good shops and cafes and a charm all its own WORDS BY POLLY BERKELEY PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID BILLINGTON and JOHN COCKS

Things have come a long way since this was written by Lucian a Chester Monk in 1195.

‘The native of Chester remembers how three roads branch off outside Eastgate and how beautiful and pleasing are the names of the places to which they lead. The road...comes to a place which they rightly call the Valley of Demons (Hoole) with reference to the hiding places of those who lie in wait. The wanderer... is despoiled by thieves and robbers.’

Thankfully, Hoole is no longer the dangerous robber alley it used to be when it was a thoroughfare to prosperous Chester. It’s an attractive corner of Cheshire, with picturesque Victorian housing and a bustling high street that seems to have resisted the invasion of the usual big high street names.

Great news then for anyone who likes a mooching sort of shopping experience. Here you can take a leisurely stroll down the high street, comparing the produce in the two local butchers or enjoying the deli shopping experience. It may be modest in comparison to Chester but there are still more than 50 shops here, so it really is a great opportunity to explore local produce in a delightful setting.

Hoole was first mentioned in the register of the Abbey of St Werburgh in 1119 and the name is believed to mean ‘at the hollows’ (or hole), possibly referring to the ‘hollow way’ formed by a Roman roadway.

It has a lovely sense of community but the number of hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses, bistros and restaurants that sprang up after Chester Railway station was built means it also caters well for outsiders.

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As well as local produce there are confectioners, boutiques, interiors shops, gifts and beauty salons. Hoole has everything you’d ever want but because the shops are independent it’s a great location to unearth those pieces that are just a little bit different.


The print version of this article appeared in the January 2012  issue of Lancashire Life 

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