Saturday, 11 April 2015

2015 - Day Out 03 - Chester

Date: Saturday 04 April 2015

Following on from a couple of successful coach trips last year it was decided to try a couple more this year, our first coach trip of 2015 takes us to the beautiful town of Chester.

Our transport for the day.
I make my way from home on the long walk up to Wollaston (took 5 minutes!) village where Mr UKBuses gets dropped off at 08.25am and we wait by the bus stop on Wollaston Island for our Whittles Coach which is due to arrive and pick us up at 08.40am. At 08.50am the coach still hasn't turned up and we look up Bridgnorth Road to keep an eye out for our coach. At 09.00 the coach arrives from the opposite direction and must have picked up passengers from Stourbridge Ring Road before coming to us. We dash across the road to the other bus stop and we board and are greeted by our driver today, Graham. Graham puts us at ease when he says he has never driven to Chester before so we could end up anywhere apart from our original destination. We make our way from Wollaston, through Stourton, Enville and Bridgnorth before speeding through Telford and Whitchurch and arriving in Chester just before 11.00am, see picture left. Mr UKBuses decides he is going to stay on the coach all day and visit Chester Zoo with some of the other passengers as he cant undo his seat belt. We arrive at Chester Bus Exchange and Mr UKBuses frees himself and we alight and straight away the cameras are out at our drop off point.

Arriva Wales Chester Depot.
The drinks we had to keep us hydrated on the coach have started to work their way through so we go in search of public toilets and after Mr UKBuses mistakes a electricity sub-station for the public loos, we have a walk around the block and eventually find some located in the Chester Market Hall but as we make our way to the Gents, they are locked as they are being refurbished, so we make our way out to the bus exchange again and notice that there are a few portaloo's situated opposite, so I make use of them whilst Mr UKBuses takes great delight in taking a photograph of the loo! Toilet break over, we have time for another break, a "Fresh air break" and Mr UKBuses consults the information board at the bus exchange and gets confused. We do find out which stand that Service 12 departs from which is the bus we have to catch, service 12 goes to Connah's Quay (or Quarry as Mr UKBuses kept referring it to!) and we make our way to the stand. At 11.34am our Arriva Wales bus arrives and we board and get our Deeside Day Ticket. The bus will take approximately 19 minutes to get us to our destination with Mr UKBuses informing me to keep a look out Gardners as this is where we will have to get off. We know we are nearby as we spot the Airbus factory and as we come to a traffic island, I still cant see any men with spades doing any gardening and we have to get up quickly as we pass the "Gardners" factory and arrive in the opposite direction. We alight and have a few steps to take, to take some photographs of Arriva's depot at Broughton, see picture right. After photographs are taken of the depot and nearby Airbus factory we make our way back to the bus stop (with Mr UKBuses taking a picture of the welsh "Safle Bws") where we don't have to wait long as our returning Service 12 bus arrives at 11.35am and takes us back towards Chester. We know when we are near Chester as we can see the Chester Racecourse, which is quite busy as there is a music festival taking place.

Cheers from The Forest House!
After a bit of a wait close to the bus exchange due to traffic building up trying to get onto the car park, we arrive back at the bus exchange and alight and we are getting hungry now, so we make our way to J D Wetherspoons. We pass the Cathedral and arrive by the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. Mr UKBuses must invest in a compass, as we head in the opposite direction. We are lost now and there are some "Romans" re-enacting something at Chester Cross, so it would be rude to interrupt them and ask for directions, so we head off down another street. With no sign of the Wetherspoons we head into the Grosvenor Shopping Centre and as we are getting lost indoors, Mr UKBuses comes up with a plan, he uses the map on his phone and we head back outdoors where we come back to where we started from and head in the proper direction this time and after a few minutes walk we find our Wetherspoons. Due to the lack of chips on our last visit to Chester, we visit the second J D Wetherspoons, "The Forest House", see picture left. I nearly faint when Mr UKBuses says he will get the first round in and whilst he waits at the bar I do a couple of circuits of the pub to find a table. Luckily someone leaves their table and we quickly grab it and have a look at the menu. Mr UKBuses opts for his usual BBQ Chicken Melt (without the cheese!) with an extra portion of chips! I opt for the Chicken Burger and it only costs me a pound seeing as Mr UKBuses still owes me the money for his day ticket.

Dinner over and pints supped, we make our way out into Chester and we don't have to far to walk as Mr UKBuses takes us in the right direction this time and virtually opposite the pub is our bus stop for our next destination. We wait about 5 minutes and our Arriva Sapphire Service 1 arrives and takes us past Chester racecourse once again in the direction of Wrexham. As we enter the Chester Business Park, the bus pulls over and then the driver gets out of her cab. She comes up the stairs and informs us that we have to get off or buy another ticket as our day ticket was only valid until this bus stop. We make our way downstairs and purchase a Arriva North West Day Ticket so that we can carry on our journey. We leave Chester Business Park behind and after a journey time of approximately 40 minutes, we arrive at our destination and pull into Wrexham Bus Station, where we alight and photographs are taken, the scene in this bus station is different to Chester's as there is more of a variety of bus operators including D Jones and Son and GHA Coaches. With the photographs taken, we decide that a refreshment is in order so we leave Wrexham Bus Station behind.

Cheers From The Elihu Yale!
We head into Wrexham Town Centre and go in search of our second J D Wetherspoons of the day. Mr UKBuses decides to re-enact the proceedings from Chester and takes us in the wrong direction again before doing a U-turn and going back in the right direction. We find the J D Wetherspoons and head inside "The Elihu Yale", see picture right. Its my turn to get this round in so I head to the bar and Mr UKBuses finds us a table to rest our feet and have a chat about our upcoming coach trip to Tenby in June. Mr UKBuses had better start saving as he is stunned that there are no Wetherspoons in the area. With our drinks supped and feet rested we head back into the streets of Wrexham where I get hassled for a light as soon as I have lit up myself. We head towards Wrexham Bus Station which is only a couple of minutes walk away and the Wetherspoons we have just been in is virtually around the corner! As we make our way inside it looks like we have only just missed a bus so we head outside to take some more photographs and luckily I spot that our bus hasn't left and is just boarding, so we make a quick sprint down to the other side of the bus station and we board our Arriva Sapphire Service 1 bus which will take us back to Chester.

Cheers from The Coach House!
We pass the racecourse again and after 45 minutes we arrive back in Chester town centre. The drinks we had at Wrexham have caught up with us and we recognise the street where we alight and remember that there are toilets close by. After our unplanned visit, we walk back through Grosvenor Shopping Centre and back past the cathedral where we spot a McDonald's. Mr UKBuses makes use of the offer printed on the back of his day ticket which means he saves more money. We take a seat outside of McDonald's to eat our food and the pigeons seemed to want to grab some as they came around us and started to pester us. With our food finished, we still have half an hour before our coach picks us back up from the Chester bus exchange. We spot a pub close by and we enter the appropriately named  "The Coach House" and somehow I ended up buying the round and nearly fainted when I was told that it would cost me £7.20. Mr UKBuses had found a table in the sunshine outside so we relax and sup our drinks in the cool spring breeze and it also meant I could have a "fresh air" break, see picture left. We have about ten minutes left so we make our way around the corner and back to the bus exchange where some final photographs and "fresh air" is had before our coach arrives and picks us up. We board and take our seats and Mr UKBuses belts up ready for the journey ahead. As soon as we sit down the coach departs and Graham tells us we are going to go a different way back.

We leave Chester behind and travel back via Whitchurch and Wolverhampton, with Mr UKBuses having a nap along the way and as we pass Wordsley a passenger who boarded in Stourbridge in the morning asks the driver if he can be dropped off by the Glass Cone. As he alights he says goodbye to us all and shows us where he lives, at least we know where to go to for a cup of tea when in Wordsley next. Our stop is next and we head up Wollaston High Street and alight in the village, arriving at 07.00pm. Mr UKBuses has a while to wait for his next bus, so we pop into "The Unicorn" for a cheeky quick pint before making our way to the bus stop where Mr UKBuses boards his National Express West Midlands service 276 back to Norton, I wave goodbye as he departs and head into "Grahams Place" for a cheeky pint before visiting the Chinese to get my supper.

Another good coach trip was had with excellent sunny weather and there are already two further coach trips planned to Llandudno and Tenby in the next couple of months. A big thanks goes to "Graham" our coach driver for a pleasant journey and also Mr UKBuses for his company, speaking of Mr UKBuses, here are the bald spots:

Bald Spot 1

Bald Spot 1: The bald spot makes his first appearance straight off the coach at Chester Bus Exchange.

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 2: The bald spot is on its way to Arriva Wales Chester Depot.

Bald Spot 3

Bald Spot 3: The bald spot tries to hide itself by making itself blurred!

Bald Spot 4

Bald Spot 4: The Bald Spot gets an airing at Wrexham Bus Station.