50 Cheshire fun family days out
PUBLISHED: 15:11 01 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:59 06 July 2020
From grand country estates to action-packed activity centres, Cheshire has something for everyone. With many of our attractions beginning to *re-open their doors, we want to share 50 highlights we cannot wait to welcome you back to #OurCheshire. *Check with attractions to see when they are opening.
Anderton Boat Lift
The so-called Cathedral of the Canals is not only visually stunning but an industrial masterpiece designed to lift boats and barges between the River Weaver Navigation and Trent and Mersey Canal. The site has a visitor centre alongside a coffee shop, play area, and boat trips, making it a perfect family day out. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/anderton-boat-lift-p245491
Arley Hall & Gardens
With such an elaborate, attractive demeanour, it is unsurprising Arley Hall & Gardens was chosen as the home of Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders. Onsite, you can discover the history of Arley’s past residents, and stroll throughout some of Europe’s finest gardens, including one of England’s earliest herbaceous borders. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/arley-hall-and-gardens-p29581
Backford Belles Ice Cream
Backford Belles, established in 2009, is home to a herd of Jersey cows which produce the milk for the attraction’s signature ice cream. Enjoy the frozen delight from a cone, tub or even incorporate it into a milkshake. Aside from the ice cream, Backford Belles has a small farm where you can admire the calves, hens, and pigs, and maybe even ride a tractor. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/backford-belles-ice-cream-p245101
Beeston Castle and Woodland Park
With breathtaking views spanning the Pennines and the Welsh Mountains, discovering the 4,000-year history of Beeston Castle, a medieval wonder, makes for an exciting, insightful day out for all. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/beeston-castle-and-woodland-park-p29971
Bents Garden & Home
From its quaint beginning as a front-lawn rose stall to its status as an award-winning lifestyle destination today, it is evident that Bents Garden and Home has always prided itself on premium quality plants, produce, and supplies. Bents Garden and Home also has an action-packed events calendar running throughout the year, meaning there is something new to explore during every visit. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/bents-garden-and-home-p31151
From giftware to fashion, and even a couple of antiques in between, you are certain to find charming products to treasure at Blakemere Village, a unique array of independent boutique shops, all framing a stunning Edwardian stable block in the heart of Cheshire. There is also a playpark onsite, and the nearby woodland provides plentiful opportunities for exploration. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/blakemere-village-p29231
The world of Twiggles & Boggles is coming to Cheshire in 2021, and with its wooden play structures, climbing walls and muddled mazes, all tucked into an enchanted woodland, it promises to be a day of unbeatable adventure. cheshire.bewilderwood.co.uk/
Blue Planet Aquarium
Few places offer the chance to dine with sharks, let alone Europe’s largest collection of them. That is not the only thing on offer at Blue Planet Aquarium though. This attraction, the largest of its kind in the North West, also boasts more than 100 living displays with 1000s of creatures to discover! This is the pinnacle of edu-tainment. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/blue-planet-aquarium-p29461
Unlike rock climbing, bouldering requires little equipment, meaning you have the ultimate freedom to climb exactly how you want. With three main areas, and colour-coded holds according to difficulty, there is something at Boulder Hut for all levels of daredevil. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/boulder-hut-p253701
Full of puzzles, riddles, and hidden objects, escape rooms are a recent phenomenon and Breakout Chester lives up to the hype. Boasting nine themed rooms, ranging from Murder Scenes to Ancient Egypt, is has never been so fun, and mind-boggling to be locked inside a small room, struggling to escape.
Capesthorne Hall and Gardens
The executive country estate, complete with wildlife, parklands and formal gardens was opened to the public in 1955. Not only is the attraction one of Cheshire’s most popular wedding venues, but it has also been the set of motion pictures such as The Making of a Lady, in 2012. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/capesthorne-hall-and-gardens-p28691
Catalyst – Science Discovery Centre
When exhibits surrounding the use of chemistry in everyday life bond with a 3D theatre, and a rooftop observatory, the product is a family day out that makes learning and applying science fun and accessible for all. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/catalyst-science-discovery-centre-p32281
Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet
Enjoy the perfect day out at the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, the first and largest of its kind in the UK, with designer brands always up to 60% less than RRP. Shop and dine in style, with more than 145 boutiques, cafés and restaurants to choose from. Visitors can take their pick of iconic brands including Armani, Coach, Clarks and many more. Stay connected and fully charged with complimentary wi-fi and portable phone chargers, plus if you’re shopping in a group of 10 or more, receive a Fashion Passport from Guest Services and save an additional 10% off outlet prices at many of the stores. What are you waiting for? Shop your heart out. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/cheshire-oaks-designer-outlet-p31991
Nesting in the heart of the county, Cheshire Falconry not only offers sightings of birds of prey, but also opportunities to fly the majestic creatures. Cheshire Falconry’s sister company, Cheshire Outdoors, can enhance your Cheshire adventure, with a selection of outdoor pursuits such as Segway riding, low ropes courses, and archery. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/cheshire-falconry-p151061
Departing from The Groves in Chester, ChesterBoat provides the perfect combination of cultural enrichment and relaxation. As you sail down the River Dee, the rich history and heritage of Cheshire, alongside its natural beauty, will become apparent, so be sure to take a camera along for the journey. As well as its sightseeing cruises, ChesterBoat hosts party nights, afternoon teas, and private charter events – the riverside possibilities are endless. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/chesterboat-sightseeing-river-cruises-and-private-hire-p20651
No list of Cheshire attractions would be complete without Chester’s most prominent landmark, Chester Cathedral. As well as offering worship and prayer, the Cathedral, founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092, is home to the Rectory Café. You could even scale one of the Cathedral’s magnificent towers should you so wish. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/chester-cathedral-p20601
Established in 1539, Chester Racecourse is not only the world’s oldest of its kind still in operation, but is also the only racecourse to see horses racing anti-clockwise. Nowadays, the racecourse offers luxurious dining options, regular fixtures, and even evidence of the city’s Roman heritage. These unique features make it a must-see attraction on any Cheshire-visitor’s itinerary. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/chester-racecourse-p44901
Featuring in many lists of national tourism wonders, this is the most visited zoo in the UK and a conservation and education charity committed to preventing extinction. With more than 35,000 animals and 125 acres of zoological gardens to explore, you will be transported to some of the most remote corners of the world. Experience the critically endangered orangutans from the rainforests of South East Asia, or the bouncing ring-tailed lemurs of Madagascar and the roar-some lions of the Savannah plains, to name a few. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/chester-zoo-p30061
Cholmondeley Castle Gardens
Since Norman times, the castle’s lands have been occupied by the Cholmondeley family. Nowadays the same 70 acres of parkland, also famous for housing one of England’s finest gardens, is open to visitors, so you can wander at leisure around the romantic temple, rose garden and arboretum, and marvel at Cholmondeley Castle itself. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/cholmondeley-castle-gardens-p30371
City Sightseeing Open Top Tour
From the picturesque Groves to the bustling village of Handbridge, it is no secret that Chester City Centre offers a range of outstanding locations waiting to be discovered. The City Sightseeing bus makes it easy to travel between all of Chester’s history and natural beauty spots in one day, giving you plenty of time to explore. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/city-sightseeing-open-top-tour-p41021Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre
Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre
Set in 50 acres of stunning Cheshire countryside, Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre is a fantastic day out for equestrians and nature lovers alike. Seamlessly blending education and entertainment, you can learn about the shire horse and its history, as well as meet the horses and their owners. If you strike lucky, you may also catch a sighting of the horses’ wild and domesticated neighbours...
With activities ranging from walking trails, cycling and GoApe, Cheshire’s largest area of woodland, Delamere Forest, provides a fantastic day out for all its visitors regardless of whether they seek adventure, relaxation, or a combination of both.
Dewa Roman Experience
With barracks, markets, and archaeological exhibits, all complemented by the sounds and smells of Roman Britain, Chester’s Dewa Roman Experience is the perfect way to revisit the past and discover Dewa Victrix. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/dewa-roman-experience-p51241
Dunham Massey Garden
Like the Dewa Roman Experience, a visit to the Dunham Massey Garden will transport you to Cheshire’s past. While strolling around the 300-acre medieval deer park, be sure to admire the ancient trees and the mill, the oldest building in the park, dating back to 1616.
Gladstone’s Library, named after its founder William Gladstone, is a unique residential library and meeting place in Hawarden. This Grade I Listed building is the perfect place to lose yourself in timeless literature and dine with classic meals in the Food for Thought bistro. The onsite accommodation allows stories created at Gladstone Library a little extra time to unfold. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/gladstones-library-p178961
Few experiences beat the adrenaline rush of ziplining through the sky and tackling assault courses in mid-air. When combined with the breath-taking scenery of Delamere Forest, it becomes clear why Go Ape is a must-visit while you are in Cheshire. With courses of varying difficulties, as well as forest Segways for those preferring to be close to the ground, Go Ape promises to be a day where the whole family can go bananas.
With seemingly countless exhibits including the period house, ancient stones, and spectacular artwork, the Grosvenor Museum, perfectly narrates the tales of the ancient city in which it finds itself in the heart of today. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/grosvenor-museum-p21061
Read more: 22 things to do in Cheshire and the North West after lockdown
Gulliver’s World Resort
With more than 80 themed rides and attractions targeted at children aged 2 – 13, as well as an indoor waterpark, Gulliver’s World Resort makes for an excellent family day out! Not only this but, with free parking and advance tickets available, it is highly affordable too.
Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker
The stories of this secret underground complex are ready to be unearthed. Wandering around the 35,000sq ft complex, you can immerse themselves into the spine-tingling world of the Cold War. Rations are available at the Bunker Bistro, and memorabilia can be bought at the Cold War shop.
Adrenaline, adventure, speed. These three factors fuel all activities at Hover Force, Frodsham, one of Cheshire’s most extreme attractions. From hovercraft flying, axe throwing and off-roading in mud buggies, all under the watchful eye of former Armed Forces members, Hover Force’s activities are perfect for all groups whether families, friends or even co-workers.
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
From discovering the wonders of the universe to relaxing in the 35 acres of sensational gardens, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the world-famous Lovell Telescope and has the potential to catalyse a great day out. When low on energy, orbit to the Planet Café and sample the local, sustainable space food.
Lady Lever Art Gallery
Named after its founder William Hesketh Lever, The Lady Lever Art Gallery is home to one of the UK’s most prestigious art collections. Of particular prominence are the collections of Wedgwood jasperware, the best of its kind in the world, as well as the masonic collection and South End galleries.
Lion Salt Works
Taking visitors on a journey through the county’s last open-pan salt making site, this multi-award-winning attraction, nestled next to the Trent and Mersey Canal, tells the stories behind Cheshire’s 2000-year-old salt industry.
Little Moreton Hall
Guided tours, costumed actors and hands-on, traditional experiences all create the perfect historical immersion experience at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire’s iconic, logic-defying Tudor property. Continue the authentic British experience with a visit to the Little Tea Room, serving quaint cakes and drinks, or indulge in afternoon tea on the spacious lawn.
Boasting top-class entertainment, dining and events, Crewe Lyceum Theatre is Cheshire East’s only Edwardian theatre. Its curtains have opened to many famous faces over the years including Charlie Chaplin, Hylda Baker, Keith Harris and Ken Dodd.
What was once a sporting estate and home to the Legh family is today an iconic tourism attraction featuring 1,400 acres of parkland, medieval deer and second-to-none views. All of this combined with a historic collection, Timberyard Café, and Crow Wood Playscape, highlights why Lyme is such a popular day out.
Mountain Goat Tours
Guided by local experts, and seated in Mercedes minibuses, Mountain Goat Tours can transport you to North Wales and the Lake District, to experience the breathtaking views, charming villages, and historical marvels of Cheshire’s neighbouring regions.
National Waterways Museum
As its name suggests, the National Waterways Museum takes you on a journey through the history of British waterways over the last 200 years, using a combination of technology and hands-on exhibits. Together with its sister museum in Gloucester Docks, it cares for one of the world’s largest boating collections.
Ness Botanic Gardens
Spanning 64 acres of diverse flora and fauna including snowdrops, daffodils, and bees, Ness Botanic Gardens is an outstanding destination for any day of relaxation.
Quarry Bank - National Trust
Quarry Bank, through live demonstrations, tours and exhibits, shows visitors the history of Cheshire’s Industrial Revolution and how lives differed according to social class. Quarry Bank also boasts acres of woodland complete with charming wildlife and stunning scenery.
With showrooms such as the Man Cave and Lady Shed, filled with appropriately-themed décor, as well as plentiful garden areas, it is clear to see how Reclaimed World, a unique emporium in Little Budworth, successfully combines the thrill of treasure hunting with the serenity of relaxation. Pair this with the knowledge of onsite experts, and you have a perfect day mapped out. visitcheshire.com/things-to-do/reclaimed-world-p23420
Since its opening in 2017, Chester’s Storyhouse has become synonymous with quality entertainment, offering not only a plentiful library but also a nationally acclaimed theatre, lounge and independent cinema. Closing at 11pm most nights, Storyhouse is the UK’s longest-opening public library which, for you, means plenty of time to visit and explore.
In the heart of rural Cheshire, Stretton Watermill is one of England’s best-preserved water-powered corn mills. This once industrial marvel today shares its past through stories, machinery demonstrations, models and displays. Once finished touring the exhibits, relax in the grounds, complete with picnic area and stunning views of the pond and mill itself.
Surrounded by luscious green fields, Tabley House, designed by John Carr of York for the Leicester family, is the North West’s most prestigious Palladian house and is home to extraordinary English art collections, including works by Turner and Reynolds, and furniture by Bullock and Chippendale.
Situated in the heart of Cheshire’s exclusive Golden Triangle, this 18th-century estate is exquisite, with more than 50 acres of gardens, wonderous collections of paintings and books. The estate has an authentic working farm, home to a series of rare species, as well as an 18th-century mill and caretaker’s cottage, all complemented by seasonal demonstrations of traditional skills. The youngest visitors can let their imaginations run wild in the den building zone and woodland play trail. There is something for the whole family at Tatton Park and the fun can be enhanced through the use of the Field to Fork app from the App Store.
Tegg’s Nose Country Park
Behind the scars of Tegg’s Nose Country Park’s industrial past are truly spectacular views of the Cheshire Plain, the Welsh hills, and Liverpool. Partnered with a visitor centre, geology trail and climbing wall, and Tegg’s Nose Country Park quickly is an excellent choice for visitors of all ages.
The Hollies Farm Shop - Little Budworth
With delicacies ranging from artisan bread, luxury wines, and locally produced vegetables, The Hollies Farm Shop truly showcases the best of Cheshire (and international) produce. Why not stay in one of the fully furnished forest lodges, complete with a hot tub, and indulge in a glass of the finest champagne from the shop?
The Ice Cream Farm
With delights including the flavour forest, indoor sand and water play area, and a mini-golf course, all sharing the same yummy theme, The Ice Cream Farm is a firm family favourite in Cheshire. What is more, you can indulge in one of the attraction’s 40+ flavours of delicious ice cream with flavours from Creme Egg to Jammy Dodger.
Walton Hall & Gardens
Surrounded by countless acres of parkland and embellished with a grand staircase, high ceilings and antique furniture, Lord and Lady Daresbury’s Victorian manor house, Walton Hall, is a historic marvel just waiting to be explored.
Weaver Hall Museum
Through a combination of archaeological exhibits, images and films, Weaver Hall Museum, appropriately housed in the old Northwich Union Workhouse building, shares the true tales of West Cheshire’s industrial heritage.