Welcome to the stunning county of Cheshire, nestled in northwest England. This charming region boasts a rich history, breathtaking landscapes and an abundance of quaint towns and villages waiting to be explored. With its proximity to major cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, Cheshire is also the perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful countryside retreat without being too far from urban amenities.
Since I have spent most of my life living in the region, I’ve enjoyed exploring this scenic county extensively, so I’ll share my pick of the best things to do in Cheshire. Whether you’re looking for a family day out, a history buff, a nature lover or a foodie, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy!
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30 Fabulous things to do in Cheshire!
1. Visit Chester
The historic city of Chester is a charming British gem that has been a hotspot for travellers for centuries. The Romans founded this fortified city in 79 AD and still retains much of its historic charm today. Among its many attractions are the magnificent Chester Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece with a history spanning over 1000 years, and the Roman city walls and amphitheatre, which transport visitors back to the time when Chester was a central Roman fortress.
Yet, Chester isn’t just about history. It’s also a premier shopping destination with its unique medieval ‘Rows’, offering a two-tiered shopping experience. The city’s nightlife is equally vibrant, with an array of pubs, bars, and clubs catering to all tastes, ensuring the town continues to buzz after the sun goes down.
2. Tatton Park & Gardens
Located in the heart of Cheshire, Tatton Park is a stunning 18th-century Neo-classical mansion surrounded by over 50 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and a deer park. This National Trust property is filled with impressive collections of art and antiques, offering visitors a glimpse into the grandeur of the past.
For nature lovers, the stunning gardens, including a Japanese garden considered one of the finest in Europe, and the vast deer park provide ample opportunity for exploration and relaxation.
The park also encompasses the Tudor Old Hall and a working farm that provides an exciting insight into historical rural life. Learn about 1930s farming practices and meet some of the farm’s traditional and rare breed animals.
The park also hosts numerous events throughout the year, from outdoor concerts to Christmas markets, adding to its appeal as a year-round attraction. Tatton Park is a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit for anyone in Cheshire.
3. Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet
Located in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire Oaks is the largest designer outlet village in the UK, boasting over 145 luxury and high-street brands and offering shoppers a fantastic range of options at discounted prices. From trendy fashion to chic homeware, there’s something to cater to every shopper’s taste.
Beyond shopping, Cheshire Oaks offers diverse dining options, from quick bites to leisurely meals, satisfying all culinary preferences. For those seeking entertainment, there’s a cutting-edge Vue Cinema where the latest blockbusters can be enjoyed, as well as a sizeable 24-lane bowling alley, adventure golf centre and trampoline park.
4. Beeston Castle
Situated on top of a rugged sandstone crag, Beeston Castle is a treasure trove of historical and natural attractions. Now owned and looked after by English Heritage, this 13th-century ruined fortress is steeped in history and boasts one of the most sensational views in Cheshire. From its lofty heights, you can soak in panoramic vistas of the Cheshire Plain and even the Welsh Mountains on clear days.
But the allure of Beeston Castle extends beyond its breathtaking views. The site is home to intriguing caves and winding woodland paths that offer an adventurous exploration of the castle’s grounds.
To further enrich your visit, the ‘Castle of the Rock’ exhibition provides insight into the castle’s past, while the meticulously recreated prehistoric roundhouse offers a glimpse into life thousands of years ago.
5. River Dee
The River Dee is an enchanting waterway that flows through the heart of Chester, extending over 70 miles from its source in the Welsh hills of Snowdonia. This river serves as a serene backdrop to Chester’s bustling city life and offers a variety of recreational activities.
A boat trip is one of the most popular ways to experience the River Dee. These trips provide an opportunity to admire the picturesque landscapes of Chester from a unique perspective, making it a favourite among locals and tourists alike.
The riverside ‘Groves’ promenade, with its charming bandstand, enhances the tranquillity of the river, making it a perfect spot for relaxation, a scenic stroll, or simply watching the world go by.
6. Delamere Forest
As the largest woodland area in Cheshire, Delemere Forest spans an impressive 972 hectares and is meticulously managed by Forestry England. This picturesque forest offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, including walking trails, cycling routes, and horse riding.
Delamere Forest also has designated picnic areas and tranquil lakeside spots for those seeking to escape more peacefully, perfect for enjoying a serene afternoon surrounded by nature.
To add to its charm, the forest is home to an array of wildlife, including deer, badgers, and various bird species. Whether you’re seeking tranquillity, adventure, or a connection with nature, Delamere Forest is a must-visit in Cheshire.
7. Go Ape
Situated in the heart of Delamere Forest, GO Ape offers a range of outdoor adventures for anyone looking for a unique day out in nature.
The Treetop Challenge, designed for thrill-seekers aged 16 and above, presents the highest difficulty level among their high ropes courses. This course has daring treetop crossings, hair-raising swings, and exhilarating zip wires. Younger adventurers over 1m tall can enjoy an array of wobbly bridges, intricate crossings, and an excellent zip-wire finale.
For those who prefer to stay closer to the ground, the Go Ape Forest Segway offers an epic forest adventure with a down-to-earth twist. Whether you’re looking to test your nerve and coordination or want to release your wild side in the stunning setting of Delamere Forest, Go Ape is the place to be!
8. Nantwich Museum
Established in 1980, the Free Nantwich Museum is a local treasure housed in a Victorian library and stands on the site that was once the town’s former jail. The museum showcases the rich history of Nantwich and its inhabitants, from Roman times to the modern day.
Visitors can explore diverse artefacts, including paintings, photographs, and objects representative of life in Nantwich through different eras. The museum also regularly hosts events and exhibitions, making it a dynamic and engaging experience for all ages.
9. The Cheese Yard
If cheese is your thing, then you have to take a visit to the Cheese Yard in Knutsford. Since its inception in 2013, this award-winning shop has been importing and wholesaling exceptional continental cheeses, distinguishing itself as Cheshire’s favourite cheese shop.
Nestled on King Street, the Cheese Yard offers far more than just a place to purchase cheese. It also operates as a deli and café, providing a unique culinary experience, including its unique afternoon cheese experience and the indulgent Raclette. The cheese is melted and scraped onto potatoes and pickles in this traditional Swiss dish.
Whether you’re a seasoned cheese connoisseur or a food enthusiast, visiting The Cheese Yard promises a delightful gastronomic journey.
10. Little Moreton Hall
Little Moreton Hall, also known as Old Moreton Hall, is a moated half-timbered manor house now under the care of the National Trust. The property is an iconic Tudor manor house with a moat and a meticulously manicured knot garden. The building was built in 1504 by William Moreton, a wealthy Cheshire landowner; however, it took another 100 years to complete.
One of the most striking features of Little Moreton Hall is its unique, topsy-turvy architecture, an enticing sight that often leaves visitors astounded. The house also showcases an overwhelming symphony of timber framing built around an inner courtyard. Its ornamental panelling is richly detailed, and the black and white chequerboard patterns add to its aesthetic appeal.
The garden, although small, is a treasure trove of native flowers and early plant introductions from the continent. The surrounding moat would have been a grand status symbol in the house’s heyday; nowadays, it is the perfect place to sit and enjoy some of the local wildlife, including tufted ducks and moorhens.
11. Gulliver’s World
If you are looking for a family day out to entertain younger children, Gulliver’s World in Warrington is the place to be. The resort is designed for families and children aged between 2 and 13 and offers a variety of themed areas to explore.
Drawing inspiration from the world of Lilliput in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the park adds literary charm to your visit. The park consists of 6 different themed areas, such as the Lost World, where you can walk with dinosaurs or go fossil hunting, and the Safari Kingdom, where children can enjoy treetop adventures or ride the Temple Rider.
With over 80 rides, attractions, and shows, Gulliver’s World is a magical day out for young families wanting a fun-filled day out in Cheshire.
12. The Ice Cream Farm
A visit to the Ice Cream Farm in Cheshire is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth and a love for fun-filled family activities. This isn’t just an ordinary ice cream shop but a full-fledged adventure park that offers something for everyone.
The world’s largest ice cream shop is at the heart of the farm, serving a staggering variety of flavours made from locally sourced milk. But the fun doesn’t stop at indulging your taste buds. The farm also features a range of attractions, including a petting zoo, a sand and water play area, mini golf, and go-karts. Plus, with indoor and outdoor play areas, there’s no need to worry about the unpredictable British weather.
13. Jodrell Bank Observatory
Have you ever gazed up at the night sky and felt a sense of wonder about the universe? Get ready to take that curiosity to the next level at Jodrell Bank Observatory! As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it boasts a mix of science, exploration, and family fun out of this world!
Through interactive exhibitions and immersive experiences, you’ll learn about the observatory’s history and its contribution to space exploration. You can even walk through the giant Lovell Telescope, once the largest steerable dish telescope in the world! Plus, with regular events and workshops, there’s always something new to discover at Jodrell Bank.
14. Walk the Sandstone Trail
The Sandstone Trail is a long-distance walkers’ path stretching 34 miles (55km) along Cheshire’s Sandstone Ridge. This trail offers some of the finest walking experiences in the region, providing superb, unbroken, and often elevated routes through the countryside.
Starting in Frodsham, approximately 11 miles northeast of Chester, the trail follows the ridge of sandstone that rises dramatically from the landscape. Along the way, you’ll encounter ancient woodland, picturesque villages, and stunning views over the Cheshire Plain.
As one of England’s finest and most popular trails, it attracts walkers of all ages and abilities. With plenty of accommodation options along the route, you can break up your journey into manageable sections or complete the whole trail in one go.
15. Enjoy afternoon tea
Cheshire is renowned for its delightful afternoon tea experiences, offering a variety of venues that cater to this quintessentially British tradition. From quaint tea rooms to luxury hotels, you’ll be spoilt for choice when finding the perfect spot to indulge in a cup of tea and some delectable treats.
Why not try The Courthouse, a beautiful Georgian building transformed into a luxurious hotel and restaurant? Or head to the historic village of Tarporley and enjoy afternoon tea at The Swan Hotel, a 16th-century coaching inn with stunning views of the Cheshire countryside. Or, for those of you looking for a more indulgent experience, book a champagne afternoon tea at Peckforton Castle, a grand castle hotel nestled in the Cheshire countryside.
16. Chester Zoo
Opened in 1931 by George Mottershead and his family, Chester Zoo has flourished into a leading global conservation and education charity, supporting various projects. Chester Zoo is home to over 21,000 animals from 500 different species, including some of the world’s most endangered on the planet. This makes it a place for recreation and a hub for learning and awareness about global biodiversity.
My favourite zoo areas include the award-winning Islands, where you can explore six Southeast Asian islands and discover their diverse wildlife, from Sumatran tigers to Sunda gharials. Another must-see is the 11-acre African savannah exhibit, home to giraffes, lions, elephants, and more. For those looking for a unique experience, Chester Zoo also offers a range of VIP tours and animal encounters, where you can get up close and personal with some of the world’s most fascinating creatures.
17. Quarry Bank Mill
Quarry Bank Mill, nestled in the outskirts of Styal, is a remarkable testament to Britain’s industrial heritage. Founded in 1784 by Samuel Greg, it remains one of the best-preserved industrial heritage sites in the country. Not just a static monument, the mill still functions partially, producing fabric for its shop, adding an element of living history to your visit.
The site also offers a comprehensive glimpse into the life and times of the Industrial Revolution, with the opportunity to explore Quarry Bank House, the home of the mill-owning Greg family, and the five-floor mill, apprentice house with kitchen gardens, and worker’s cottages.
18. Walk the Middlewood Way
Middlewood Way is a scenic 11-mile (16-km) greenway that stretches from Marple in Stockport to Macclesfield in Cheshire. This traffic-free route is perfect for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders, offering a peaceful escape into nature.
The trail follows the former Macclesfield, Bollington, and Marple Railway, offering a charming mix of history and natural beauty. Two notable features add charm to the Middlewood Way route: a beautiful viaduct and several opportunities for creating local circular walks using the footpath network and adjacent canal towpath. The trail also forms part of Route 55 of the National Cycle Network, making it a popular spot for leisure cycling throughout the year.
19. Crewe Heritage Centre
Crewe Heritage Centre is a remarkable railway museum that offers a unique glimpse into the region’s transportation history. The Crewe Heritage Trust manages the museum and is ideally positioned close to the railway station, making it a hub of activity for train enthusiasts.
Visitors can immerse themselves in over 175 years of Crewe’s history, with exhibits from the steam era to the present day. The museum also offers a variety of interactive experiences, including the chance to climb aboard and explore vintage trains. For a truly immersive experience, visitors can even book a ride on the heritage railway, which runs on select days throughout the year.
Every museum element has been carefully curated and maintained by dedicated volunteers, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in railways and their impact on society.
20. Catton Hall Activity Centre
Catton Hall is a premier clay pigeon shooting centre, providing a thrilling sport for people of all ages. Recognised as one of the best action-packed outdoor activity centres in the North West, Catton Hall offers a variety of activities, including clay shooting, paintball, quad biking and air rifle shooting.
The picturesque location of Catton Hall, with its rolling hills and stunning woodlands, makes it the perfect setting for a day filled with adventure. The centre is equipped with top-of-the-line facilities and expert instructors to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.
21. Blue Planet Aquarium
A visit to the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks offers an immersive journey into the underwater world. As the largest aquarium in North West England, it houses diverse marine life.
Its most notable feature is the 71-metre underwater tunnel, home to the most extensive collection of sharks in Europe, which allows visitors to observe these fascinating creatures up close. Apart from sharks, visitors can also explore different aquatic zones featuring exotic fish, amphibians, and invertebrates.
For those of you looking for something more adventurous, there are even shark dive experiences that allow you to dive cage-free among these magnificent creatures!
22. Ness Botanical Gardens
Nestled in the heart of the Wirral Peninsula, Ness Botanical Gardens offers a tranquil escape into nature’s beauty. Established in 1898 by Arthur Kilpin Bulley and now managed by the University of Liverpool, these expansive gardens cover 64 acres and feature an impressive variety of plants worldwide.
As you wander through the well-curated landscapes, rock gardens, herbaceous borders, and wildflower meadows, you’ll be captivated by the changing tapestry of colours and scents. The gardens also offer a range of events and activities throughout the year, including guided tours, workshops, and seasonal displays.
23. Durham Massy
Dunham Massey is a quintessential Georgian house and garden that tells a captivating tale of love and history. Managed now by the National Trust, the grand mansion offers a glimpse into the life of the aristocratic Stamford family.
Stroll through the house and marvel at the opulent interiors, including a magnificent library and an extensive collection of art and furniture. Explore the peaceful gardens, which feature beautiful rose gardens, and scenic walks along the river. You can spot some of England’s native wildlife, such as bats, owls, and kingfishers!
One of the more unique attractions at Durham Massy is the herd of fallow deer. Usually, these herds shy away from human contact, but they almost follow you at Durham Massy.
24. Anderton Boat Lift
The Anderton Boat Lift is a remarkable feat of engineering and a significant landmark in the UK’s waterway history. Built by Edwin Clark in 1875, this two-caisson lift lock was the world’s first successful boat lift designed to hoist cargo boats a staggering 50 feet, facilitating their movement between the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal.
Today, it is one of only two working boat lifts in the country and is fondly referred to as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Visitors can admire the impressive steel structure and step onboard ‘The Edwin Clark’ and enjoy this unique experience first-hand. Those not scared of heights can also take a behind-the-scenes tour, allowing visitors to stand at the top of the Anderton Boat Lift.
25. Gaunlet Birds of Prey Centre
The Gauntlet Birds of Prey, Eagle and Vulture Park in Knutsford is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts. This unique park is home to over 180 birds from 50 different species, making it the most extensive collection of birds of prey in the North West of England.
Visitors can expect to meet and interact with various birds, from majestic eagles and vultures to wise owls, hawks, kites, and falcons. The park also has daily vulture talks and meet-and-greet sessions and has two flying displays, ensuring an engaging and educational experience for all.
26. Norton Priory Museum
Norton Priory Museum and Gardens, located on the outskirts of Runcorn, is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty. Recognised as Europe’s most excavated monastic site, the museum has 42 acres of lush woodland, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers.
Visitors can explore a variety of excavated exhibits, including the remains of a large medieval church and monastery, in addition to a superb crypt or undercroft. Norton Priory also boasts a Georgian walled garden and a newly developed visitor centre that provide an immersive experience into the past.
27. Hack Green Secret Bunker
Tucked away in the heart of the Cheshire countryside lies the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, a significant part of Britain’s defence history. This former government-owned nuclear bunker remained a secret for over 50 years before its blast doors were finally opened to the public.
Today, visitors can explore this vast underground complex that spans 35,000 sq ft and learn about its crucial role in the nation’s defence for almost six decades. From the original communications equipment to the terrifying nuclear fallout room, this unique attraction provides a fascinating insight into the Cold War era.
28. Cholmondeley Castle Gardens
A visit to the Cholmondeley Castle Gardens is a splendid journey into history and horticulture. The castle is a private residence, built in the early 19th century by the 1st Marquess and has been home to the Cholmondeley family since Norman times.
This romantic gothic-style castle stands majestically on a high rise above a lake, surrounded by sweeping lawns. Its surrounding ornamental gardens stretch over 50 acres, offering visitors a stunning array of diverse plant collections considered among the finest in England. The estate also includes 670 acres of historic parkland, further enriching the visitor’s experience.
For those interested in delving deeper into the estate’s horticultural heritage, Head Gardener Barry Grain offers guided tours that provide an in-depth look at the seasonal highlights and history of the gardens.
29. Lyme Hall Park & Gardens
Lyme Hall Park and Gardens, nestled in the heart of Cheshire, offers a captivating blend of history, natural beauty, and literary allure. The estate boasts a grand mansion, once home to the Legh family for over 600 years and the inspiration for Jane Austen’s beloved novel “Pride and Prejudice.”
The gardens at Lyme Hall are equally enchanting, with sweeping lawns, vibrant flower beds, and tranquil water features. Visitors can also explore the ancient deer park surrounding the estate, home to a herd of Red and Fallow deer. The park also offers numerous walking trails, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the idyllic countryside setting while soaking up the history and beauty of Lyme Hall.
For an added touch of luxury, guests can enjoy traditional afternoon tea at the on-site café or shop for unique souvenirs at the estate’s gift shop.
30. Catalyst Science Discovery Centre
The Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum in Widnes is a hub of interactive scientific exploration for individuals of all ages. The museum is dedicated to chemistry, showcasing how its products are utilised daily.
The centre offers an array of interactive exhibits, reconstructed scenes and hands-on workshops that engage the senses and stimulate curiosity. Additionally, the centre houses a vast archive collection of photographs, documents, and artefacts. Its mission is to make science exciting, accessible, and relevant to people of all ages and abilities.
Alongside its educational offerings, the Catalyst provides practical amenities, including an excellent adventure playground for children and teenagers and a well-equipped café, ensuring a fun and enlightening outing for the whole family.
Where To Stay In Cheshire?
When planning your visit to Cheshire, you’ll find various accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. From luxury hotels and quaint bed and breakfasts to self-catering cottages and campsites, you’ll be spoilt for choice in this beautiful county.
The Cheshire Boutique Barns and Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa are highly recommended for those seeking high-end luxury. These establishments offer lavish accommodations, with the former providing unique self-catering options in converted barns and the latter being a 4-star country house hotel equipped with a health club and spa.
For a more unique stay, consider The Legh Arms Prestbury or The Bear’s Paw Sandbach, offering a blend of traditional charm and modern comfort. The Pheasant Inn is another excellent choice with its boutique-style rooms and award-winning restaurant.Booking.com
For booking accommodation, I recommend using Booking.com. This website offers the best-priced accommodation catering for all budgets and styles. Just pop in your requirements, and you’ll get a list of available accommodations. Perfect for picking out the best hostels, B&B or even some luxury escapes.
Cheshire is a remarkable place with abundant activities and attractions catering to every taste. Whether you want to immerse yourself in history, experience the thrills of outdoor adventures, indulge in delicious food and drink, or relax and take in the beautiful scenery, there is something for everyone in this fantastic county. With its proximity to cities like Manchester and Liverpool, Cheshire offers easy access to urban entertainment and cultural experiences.
So why wait? Start planning your trip to Cheshire now and discover all these fabulous things for yourself. This charming county has a rich history, stunning landscapes, exciting activities, delicious food, and warm hospitality.
Thanks so much for stopping by; I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and make it to the end! I have lots of exciting new content in the next few weeks, so make sure you pop back to catch up!
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