Things to Do When You’re Out and About in Cheshire
Revive explores what Cheshire has to offer, including travel, excitement, heritage, fitness, fantastic eateries and more, what makes Cheshire so special and why is it one of the most popular places to live in the North and even the country.
Cheshire has its critics and clichés (think moneyed footballers, rich housewives etc), but in truth, it is an attractive part of the North West to come to, combining the countryside with the cosmopolitan. There’s a reason the people you read about have settled here for a good reason.
However, you don’t need a professional footballer’s salary to enjoy what Cheshire has to offer, and it’s as rewarding to visit as it is to live in.
Cheshire offers the perfect mixture of a taste of the country with exemplary scenic views and plenty of excitement, sophistication, quirkiness, charm and choice.
Exploring Garden Life
The 50 acres of land at Tatton Park represent some 200 years of heritage, and the range of things to do and see at this Knutsford attraction make it a popular destination.
Tatton Park Gardens are one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s recommended gardens. They comprise various different sections, including a walled kitchen garden, Japanese garden and glasshouses.
The pleasure garden section includes a maze, based on the Hampton Court design.
The 18th century Tatton Park Mansion has a valuable collection of paintings, books and furniture and includes a permanent exhibition about the last Baron of Tatton Park, Maurice Egerton.
For visitors looking to explore the natural beauty of the area, there is plenty of parklands attached to Tatton Park. Here, you’ll find the deer park and plenty of landscaped open spaces, which you can explore on foot, by bike, or even on horseback.
Running from Wilmslow town centre with nearly a mile of the circular route, which follows the River Bollin, The Carrs Park is a great outdoor destination.
There’s something here for all ages, whether it’s the gentle 3km walk from one end to the other, or taking the kids to the playground, with its various swings, see-saws, slides and climbing frames.
The park also has dedicated areas for skateboarding and football, along with a basketball ring and tennis courts, which you can go on for free. There’s a car park on Chancel Lane, where you’ll also find that Parklife essential, the ice cream van.
At The Carrs Park, you can enjoy open grassland, woodland and walking by the river. Essentially, it’s a space for anyone and everyone. Bring your picnic and enjoy your perfect day outdoors.
There are plenty more luscious gardens across Cheshire, ranging from the well-known to hidden gems.
These include Arley Hall; Bluebell Cottage Gardens; Capesthorne Hall; Lyme; Dunham Massey; and Norton Priory.
When Heritage Comes Alive
Wilmslow is the home of one of the UK’s greatest industrial heritage sites, at Quarry Bank.
At the heart of Quarry Bank is the cotton mill, originally the driving force of working life in the area and a key part of the cotton trade founded by Samuel Greg.
Quarry Bank brings all this vividly to life. You can see the heritage mill machinery working and feel the power of its intensity as the floors shake under you. It is an exciting blend of entertainment with education, including an immersive audiovisual experience.
There are also some superb gardens and a glasshouse, where visitors can discover how 19th-century gardeners lived and worked while experiencing the vivid beauty of the gardens for themselves.
At Ellesmere Port is the National Waterways Museum. This is a wonderful waterside setting, at the point where the Shropshire Union Canal meets the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Mersey.
It has one of the world’s greatest collection of historic boats, interactive, augmented reality exhibits and plenty of space for picnics and walks. Its street of preserved cottages, Porters Row, is one of its most popular attractions.
This is a setting where you can immerse yourself in the past while thoroughly enjoying the present.
Combine your visit with a ride on the Shropshire Union Canal on board a canal boat.
Ellesmere Port is also home to the Blue Planet Aquarium if you fancy seeing what’s underneath the water, as well as what floats on the surface. Plus, if the weather proves unpredictable, then it’s the perfect indoor solution.
Markets, Food and Ice Cream
On the third Saturday of every month, you’ll find The Market Co in the centre of Wilmslow, next to Alderley Road.
Perfectly complementing the town’s various independent shops and its restaurants and cafés, the market sells a wide range of food, drink and crafts, including authentic street food.
This is an excellent spot for a browse, or an unexpected impulse buys, but also for an excellent range of food and drink, with the emphasis very much on the local, ethical and freshly-sourced.
Culinary treats include excellent pies, tarts and pastries; cheeses and pasta; handmade sauces and condiments; fresh fruit and vegetables.
Craft goods include bespoke garden furniture; unique jewellery; ceramics and ornaments; vintage collectables and wearables; soaps and oils; trinkets and artwork.
The Ice Cream Farm at Tattenhall is one of the biggest ice cream parlours you’ll find, with a whole adventure park attached to it.
The ice cream parlour itself is home to a huge variety of ice cream flavours, from the familiar to the exotic.
The farm has been producing its extremely tasty, real dairy Cheshire Farm ice cream for over 30 years.
To work up an appetite, or work off the ice cream, there is an extensive play area with a variety of settings for kids of different ages.
For anyone looking to combine shopping with eating, Altrincham Market is an ideal destination.
Strictly speaking, Altrincham is in Greater Manchester of course, but it is also a traditional market town located on the Cheshire farm belt, and, well, it feels like Cheshire when you’re there.
As part of the town’s dynamic and successful regeneration, the Market House is now a permanent hub for tasty food, which you can select and eat at tables both inside and outside the building.
These are all independent food sellers, offering a range of meals, from pizza to pies, the familiar and the more exotic. There are also speciality wines and craft beers.
The market has stalls selling goods from independent makers, including designer and vintage clothes, jewellery and furniture.
Getting Active in Cheshire
Whether it is clambering up an indoor climbing wall or making the most of the trampolines, the Energi Trampoline Park in Wilmslow is the ideal venue whether you’re looking for a family day out, or just to be fit and active yourself.
Once you’re in, you can pretty much bounce across the length of the park, climb the walls, or practice your free-running skills in a safe, indoor environment.
The Energi Trampoline Park also caters for parties, groups and school visits and it holds regular organised fitness workout sessions.
Those looking for outdoor activity, either vigorous or less so, then Cheshire has plenty of places for you, including Macclesfield Forest, in the shadow of the Peak District with its various trails for hiking and biking.
There’s a whole local initiative around this area, under the name, Can You Tackle Macc?
There are plenty of walking trails in Cheshire too, including the Sandstone Trail, Delamere Forest and Nantwich Riverside.
For pure excitement, there’s Gulliver’s World Resort, near Warrington. This theme park resort has over 80 rides, shows and attractions – enough to keep even the most demanding kids satisfied on a day out.
Eating Out and About
Cheshire has a formidable reputation for its huge variety of family-friendly eateries.
You could combine lunching out with visiting a unique setting by going to the Planet Pavilion Café at Jodrell Bank. Here, overlooking the famous Lovell Telescope, you can take in some great views while tucking into some equally great food.
For kids with a real appetite, then Hanky Panky Pancakes in Chester is an ideal destination, offering a mouth-watering selection of sweet and savoury pancakes, with enough choice to suit the most demanding of tastes.
Italians are rightly known for their family-centred restaurant culture, and there are plenty of excellent Italian restaurants in Cheshire, such as La Famiglia in Hale, Pacino’s in Chester, and perhaps an unexpected setting for excellent gourmet pizza, the Royal Oak in Kelsall.
Really, this is the tiniest tip of the iceberg when it comes to eating out in Cheshire. With its various historical and market towns and a formidable reputation for food and entertainment, there’s enough to explore further to keep anyone entertained, and well-fed, in Cheshire.
Of course, when the kids are tucked up in bed and the babysitter is on duty, there is a whole range of nightlife in Cheshire to explore, from dynamic, buzzing town centres such as Hale to revived scenes in Wilmslow, with great venues like The Symposium lighting the way for the next generation of great bars, restaurants and eateries.