There’s no need to put the out of office on early (unless you need an excuse!) Chichester is well connected to many transport hubs and is just an hour from Brighton, Guildford and Southampton, and just over an hour and a half from London. Leave work and arrive on time for an evening performance at Chichester Festival Theatre. Performances usually start at 7.30pm.
The theatre has some great dining facilities. Head to The Brasserie offering contemporary British dining in elegant surroundings for pre-show dining, or for a post-show meal (Festival Season only) try the Minerva Bar & Grill, offering a modern take on relaxed dining.
Make the most of your day by rising early and taking a leisurely walk along the City Walls which surround the City and date back to Roman times - the best way to get your bearings of the City. Watch the sunrise over the City rooftops and then enjoy breakfast in one of the many independent cafes in the town.
Once refuelled, head to the Novium Museum for an in-depth insight into the history of the City and wider district. The museum is built over the remains of a vast Roman bath house, which can be seen from the ground floor, and spans three floors. The top floor is home to an ever-changing exhibition (recent ones have included Tim Peake, Chichester Camera Club and a Hollywood Rome exhibition).
From the lookout platform on this floor, you’ll also spot Chichester Cathedral and its huge spire. Head there after the museum, it’s free to visit and will reveal a treasure trove of historical and artistic artefacts. There are free drop-in guided tours of the Cathedral at 11.15am and 2.30pm Monday to Saturday, which last approximately 45 minutes. Also, keep and eye out for events and exhibitions, many are hosted throughout the year and are often free to visit.
One of the Cities hidden treasures are located next to the Cathedral: Bishops Palace Gardens. These tranquil and beautifully kept gardens are home to a host of beautiful plants, unusual trees and shrubs, water features, a pergola walk and wildlife friendly areas, yet remain vastly undiscovered by visitors and locals alike. Pick up a picnic lunch from the Cathedrals Cloisters Café and then enjoy it in the calming surroundings of Bishops Palace Gardens.
After some R&R, take a wander through the City Centre to Pallant House Gallery, located in the Georgian quarter of the City, known as the Pallants. On route see some of Chichester’s finest street art - treasured locally - including ‘The Watch Dog’, the newest addition by Belgian artist Joachim.
Allow at least two hours (ideally more) for the internationally recognised Pallant House Gallery which explores new perspectives on British art from 1900 to now. The gallery has been rated second only to the Tate for modern British art by the Guardian and with a programme of continually changing exhibitions and events, it’s a haven for art lovers and novices alike. Be sure to visit the Pallent House Gallery shop before you go - one of the best second-hand art bookshops in the UK!
Continuing on the theme of shopping, spend the rest of your afternoon exploring the shopper’s paradise that is Chichester (don’t worry, they’ll be open on Sunday too!) Explore the array of independent retailers, unique boutiques and high street brands on offer. With everything from designer clothes, watches and handbags through to high street fashion, retro clothing and toyshops, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to visit Draper's Yard- a unique and quirky village of ‘sheds’ housing everything from art and textiles to coffee, hairdressing and jewellery (but get there quick as it closes at 4pm)
After a jam-packed day, unwind with a film at Chichester’s art-house Cinema at New Park. Seating just 120 in the main auditorium and 30 in the Studio, the cinema offers an an intimate screen experience from a time gone by. The cinema is home to the 18-day Chichester Film Festival and its programme includes the best of contemporary and classic cinema from Britain, Europe and America, as well as award-winning international films. (Check the website for opening times in advance). Take a pre or post cinema meal at one of Chichester’s many independent or chain restaurants, including the ever popular The Giggling Squid or enjoy a drink in one of its many cosy pubs.
After a busy Saturday it’s time to let someone else take the lead!
Take a wander around the shops or if you'd like to see some work from local artisits, head to Oxmarket Gallery which is located in a medieval church building. Then, enjoy a leisurely brunch before joining an organised tour with Chichester Tour Guides to learn more about the history of the City. This easy guided walk takes you through the ages; from Roman Baths to award winning architecture of the 21st century, via medieval streets and the Market Cross, Georgian residences, the Cathedral quadrant and much more. Tours start at 11.30am at the Bell Tower (£6 per person and there’s no need to book in advance).
Once the tour finishes (approx. 1pm) it’s time to head to Chichester’s secret waterway, just a 10 minute walk from the City Centre. Chichester Canal links historic Chichester to the sea and is a leisure waterway, today it's navigable as far as Donnington. 75 minute scheduled return boat trips run up to four times daily depending on the time of year (in the afternoon either 1.45pm, 2pm or 3.30pm). Take to the water on a boat trip - learn about the canal’s history and see unique views of local wildlife (including herons and kingfishers), the iconic Cathedral and the beautiful Sussex South Downs.
If you’d rather remain on firm ground, take the gentle four mile walk stretching from the Canal Basin to Chichester Marina. The route is flat and takes you through a mixture of open farmland, offering tranquility and fantastic views of wildlife along the way. You can even catch a bus straight back to Chichester City Centre if you don’t want to walk the return route (check timetables for more information).
After a canal boat trip or walk, head back into the City Centre to enjoy more of the highlights and tea in the city before returning back home.
Accommodation: Take a look at some of the great accommodation of offer in the City Centre here.