It feels like we’ve lived through five years so far this year, but as conditions begin to ease and Chester settles into its new normal, there’s a simultaneous letting of breath around the country. The summer holidays are finally here!
While the first few days pass in a blur of morning lie-ins and late nights spent binge-watching series, it won’t be long before parents across the country hear those dreaded words: “I’m bored”! A collective sign ensues before you burst into action, frantically looking for activities to entertain your children.
Whether you’re enjoying the sunshine or dodging a summer rain shower, Chester is jam-packed with things for children of all ages to do. We’ve put our heads together to bring you some of the popular attractions and activities in the area.
Chester Summer Holidays
** We have also created a downloadable Google Map of all locations mentioned at end of article.
Chester Zoo is the most visited zoo in the country, and one of the top-ranked zoos in the world. There are more than 30,000 animals including many endangered and exotic species, housed within 128 acres. A trip around the zoo provides a glimpse into some of the world’s more remote habitats where you can view the likes of Andean Bears, Painted Dogs, and the Red Panda.
The zoo includes several islands that you can visit by foot or you can relax on the Lazy River Boat that meanders along the waterway among the islands. From your offshore position, you get a peek into the habitats of exotic animals like the Sumatran Tigers, Dusky Pademelon and Tree Kangaroo from New Guinea, and Indonesia’s Babirusa.
The zoo’s botanical gardens contain hidden gems like the Sunken Garden, Enrichment Garden and the Bee Garden. Each is designed to educate and amaze you with its beautifully landscaped space that also plays a vital role in the ecosystem.
There are plenty of places to grab some refreshments, and you can take a break while your children expend extra energy in the play areas, or swinging between the trees in the Treetop Challenge. There is no time to be bored when visiting Chester Zoo.
Upton-by-Chester, Chester, CH2 1EU
Blue Planet Aquarium
Blue Planet Aquarium is the largest in North West England, and houses both marine and freshwater exhibits. One of the highlights is its underwater tunnel enabling you to walk through Europe’s largest collection of sharks. You can learn all about these fascinating creatures at one of the dive shows that take place three times a day in the Aquatheatre.
There are more than 100 living displays, and something for the whole family to enjoy. Learn about the inhabitants of England’s streams and rivers in the Northern Streams exhibition, or try the Flooded Forest for a tropical experience. This exhibit represents a branch of the mighty Amazon River in South America, and you’ll quickly be transported to the rainforest through the symphony of sound and the humid temperature. In the Frog Zone you’ll learn all about these amphibians and how they’ve evolved over the years to align with their changing habitats.
When you’ve finished your stroll through the abundant sea life at the aquarium, grab a bite to eat in the unique underwater Nautilus Kitchen before heading out on your next adventure.
Longlooms Road, Cheshire Oaks, Chester, CH65 9LF
Chester Treasure Hunt Trail
Explore the ins and outs of historic Chester on this two-mile circular route through and around the city. The Chester Treasure Hunt Trail starts in the city centre at the Chester Cross in Watergate Street.
Before you start, purchase and download your treasure hunt booklet from the Treasure Trails website. With this in hand, move along the murder mystery-themed trail, solving each of the clues that are subtly positioned on monuments, landmarks, and buildings. Each clue helps you to eliminate suspects, pushing you closer to discovering the culprit. There is a mobile phone text service available to assist you in solving mystery if you come up against a particularly difficult clue.
The trail takes approximately two and a half hours. It’s suitable for adults and children over six years of age, and enables you to explore Chester at your own pace.
Watergate Street, Chester, CH1 2LE
Sandy Lane Park
Located on the River Dee just two and a half miles from Chester town centre, Sandy Lane Park makes those hot, summer days with fractious children more bearable. The park comprises large open spaces with beautiful views across the river, and dedicated play areas for children.
A summer feature of Sandy Lane is the Aqua Park that is open between March and September. The aqua park contains ten pieces of play equipment providing fun and refreshing entertainment for children. Some of the apparatus spray water through sprinklers or jet sprays, while others tip water buckets or squirt fountains from the ground.
It’s the perfect picnic spot; a place to relax and recharge while your children play close by or cavort in the spraying water.
Sandy Lane, Chester, CH3 5UL
The Ice Cream Farm
The Cheshire Ice Cream Farm is an extension of the popular Cheshire Farm Ice Cream operation that has been running since the 1980s, supplying restaurants and pubs in the area with fresh dairy ice cream.
With the increasing popularity of its ice cream over the years, the owners have introduced a full visitor experience that incorporates party rooms for children’s parties and several play zones, including Strawberry Falls, Gemstone Cove, and Daisy’s Garden. The Honeycomb Canyon is a popular choice for those warm days, with its wet areas that allow children to explore the movement of water.
There are more than 50 ice cream flavours to choose from, including non-dairy, vegan, and fruit sorbets. Enjoy your favourite in one of the largest ice cream parlours in the world for an unforgettable experience.
Newton Lane, Tattenhall, Chester, CH3 9NE
Greenacres Animal Park
Greenacres Animal Park is located just across the River Dee in Wales, about a 15 minute drive from Chester town centre. The park provides an immersive experience for the whole family, with a broad range of domestic and farm animals. It’s also home to ring-tailed lemurs and a black-and-white ruffed lemur, both of which are on the list of endangered species’.
Children can get up close with the animals in the petting zoo, including rabbits, ducklings, piglets, and even skunks. Around the farm you can see many other animals and wildlife, and participate in one of the close encounters with the lemurs and wolves. A Tractor Engine takes you on a ride through the fields, visiting some of the farm animals and learning a little about them on the way.
For a break from all things animal, children can enjoy the fairground rides, or expend energy in the Play Barn, while you enjoy a beverage and snack from the Rainforest Café.
Cottage Lane, Deeside, Flintshire, CH5 2AS
With the rich history in and around the area, the Grosvenor Museum should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Chester. The museum itself is a historical building, having been built in 1885, and incorporates 20 Castle Street, a house dating back to 1680.
The exhibitions at Grosvenor cover a range of topics, giving you a glimpse into what life was like hundreds of years ago. The Roman exhibitions display a pictorial history of the town’s fortress, with displays of relics from those times, and hold a display of Roman tombstones.
Other galleries exhibit displays that change periodically. You can find detailed information about what displays are available on the website.
Entry to the Grosvenor Museum is free of charge however they welcome donations from visitors to assist with the upkeep of the facility.
27 Grosvenor Street, Chester, CH1 2DD
Chester Roman Gardens
Just a short walk from the Grosvenor Museum is another historical attraction in the city, the Roman Gardens. The gardens showcase building fragments of some important military buildings, the main baths, and the headquarters of the legion from Roman times.
Many of the artefacts in the gardens were taken from the original Roman bathhouse in Chester. These relics include the stone columns in the centre of the gardens that initially stood six feet high, form a centrepiece of the gardens, and a reconstructed hypocaust that was the ancient heating system used in Roman times.
The gardens are beautifully landscaped and with spots to sit and enjoy the scenery. While it’s not a place of interest to smaller children, those older or with a love of history will enjoy seeing the relics from days of old.
Pepper Street, Chester, CH1 1DQ
What better way to pass time on a rainy day, or take a break from sightseeing, than to exercise your creativity. Charleys Ceramics is little more than eight miles from Chester, in the Ellesmere Port. Here, you can paint a plate, mug, cake stand or teapot in your own unique style.
Children of all ages can get involved in the action. The range of ceramic items includes cute ornaments that your child can splash with as many paint colours has they like. Drinks and snacks are available for purchase, to keep your creative juices flowing and those little tummies full.
7b Craft Workshops, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, Chester, CH65 4FW
Breakout is a bonding experience where the whole family contributes to escaping from one of seven themed rooms. As the clock ticks down to 60 minutes, it encourages team work, patience and out-of-the-box thinking to open the locked door in time.
There is no age limit at Breakout, and everyone can get involved in solving the puzzles and finding the clues that lead you closer to the exit. Everything you need to help you escape is inside the room, you just need to keep a level head and not leave any corner unsearched.
Each room is monitored by a member of staff and perfectly safe. If you are unable to escape within the allotted time, the door opens automatically. This is a unique experience that will leave you laughing for days.
42 Bridge Street Row, Chester, CH1 1NN
The Chester Cathedral is a central focal point in the city and sits within the old city walls. This magnificent building took 275 years to construct, without the use of modern-day tools. Both adults and children will be amazed at the architecture and pure beauty of the cathedral, and the peaceful atmosphere tends to have a calming effect on smaller children.
A wander around the cathedral highlights some amazing works of art, not least of which are the striking stained glass windows. A visit to the cathedral isn’t complete without a trip up the tower on the Cathedral at Height tour, which takes about an hour to climb the 216 stairs to the top of the 1000-foot high tower. Children can join the tour but must be accompanied by an adult.
Children will enjoy a visit to the Falconry Centre, which is set apart from the cathedral although on the same grounds. Daily shows demonstrate the flying ability of these birds of prey, while the falconer chats about their habitats, feeding habits and history.
12 Abbey Square, Chester, CH1 2HU
Grosvenor Park is a Grade II registered public park within the old city walls. Bordered by the River Dee, and affording visitors beautiful views, the park exudes an atmosphere of relaxation and tranquillity.
There are close to 700 trees in this landscaped park, showcased along the self-guided Tree Trail that starts at the Vicar’s Lane park entrance. The trail is suitable for all ages, and encourages interaction. You can download a map of the trail from the website, and using a crayon, mark your path on the map and include a rubbing of each unique plaque that you come across.
Grosvenor Park includes a miniature railway that transports children and adults on a quarter-mile route around the pond. Once off the train, children of all ages can enjoy and explore the environmentally-friendly play park, while parents relax in the beautiful surroundings.
Grosvenor Park Road, Chester, CH1 1QQ
City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
A City Sightseeing tour of Chester is the best way to expose your children to the many attractions and historical sights of the city, while saving their little legs. Buses depart every half hour, and there are 12 stops along the route where you can disembark and explore the area.
Sit back in the comfort of the luxury double decker bus and learn all about the history and culture of this ancient city. The stops are strategically placed allowing you easy access to some of the main focal points of the city, as well as some hidden gems, while also affording you the chance to stroll along the lanes and take in the stunning architecture.
You can make the most of each stop, or pick the ones you wish to disembark at. Buses run every half an hour, so you never have to wait too long to continue your tour.
Chester Railway Station, Chester, CH1 3DR
National Waterways Museum
The National Waterways Museum sits on the banks of the River Mersey, as well as the Manchester Chip Canal. It’s the perfect location to showcase the lives of the people who worked the canal when it was a transhipment hub.
The museum is vital to the history of the country’s waterways, and is home to more than 15,000 objects and 50 boats. The historic objects include tools, engines, ceramics, textiles and personal items, while the boats on display range from dredgers, tugs and ice breakers to leisure craft constructed from wood, iron and concrete.
The docks at Ellesmere Port were the largest inland waterway complex in the UK and such was its importance that it functioned until as late as the 1950s. You can explore the forge, stables and workers’ cottages, which all form part of the seven-acre site includes various Victorian buildings and canal basins.
You need a good few hours to take in this extensive site. When visiting with children you’ll definitely want to break it up with a stop at the Waterside Café for some refreshments.
South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 4FW
If you’re looking for a place to spend the day outdoors with your family, Tatton Park, about 30 miles from Chester, is well worth the drive. The park spans 1000 acres, with free-roaming Red and Fallow Deer that have made the parklands around Tatton Park their home for hundreds of years.
There are some great walks through the parklands, with stunning viewpoints and lots of opportunities to stop and lay out your picnic blanket. An adventure playground with more than 30 rides will keep your toddlers and teens busy while you relax and take in the spectacular scenery.
For a taste of history, visit the Mansion at Tatton Park and wander through the State Rooms and servants’ quarters. The mansion sits amidst 50 acres of landscaped gardens that date back more than 200 years. Each of the owners over that time contributed greatly to their development.
The Park Gardens include the original Walled Kitchen Garden, a Japanese Garden, and a New Zealand Fernery. The Pleasure Garden is popular with children who delight in finding their way through the landscaped maze.
Tatton Park, Knutsford, WA16 6SG
Eastgate & Eastgate Clock
The Eastgate and Eastgate Clock are prominent landmarks in Chester. They stand in their original position at the entrance to what was Roman fortress. The clock is apparently the most photographed after London’s Big Ben.
The current Eastgate is constructed from sandstone and dates back to the 18th century. It carries the walkway that forms part of the old city walls that protected Chester in ancient times. The Eastgate Clock was added to the structure in 1899, celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Although not an attraction that takes much time to view, Eastgate and Eastgate Clock are firmly ensconced in Chester’s history. A visit to this old city would be incomplete without viewing this well-known landmark.
Eastgate Street, Chester, CH1 1LE
BeWILDerwood is a magical woodland adventure experience based on a range of children’s fantasy books. It’s located about a half hour drive from Chester, and although it’s more suited to children it provides entertainment for the whole family.
The woodland park is made up of different activity zones catering for children of different ages. Each zone is an explosion of fun, a chance to let loose and enter the enchantment of the BeWILDerwood vibe. From Slippery Slopes and Wobbly Wires, to The Broken Bridge and the Mish mash Maze, your children will be blown away by the excitement at BeWILDerwood.
After the adrenaline rush of the adventure zones, kids can relax at the Storytelling Stage and listen to some fabulously magical stories of the BeWILDerwood characters, or get creative with crafts in The Big Hat. Refreshments in the Cosy Cabin or Munch Bar fill those little tummies, before a quick doze in the car back to Chester.
Whitchurch Road, Malpas, Whitchurch, SY13 4JF
Chester Castle & Military Museum
Chester Castle is steeped in history. Its roots can be traced back to William the Conqueror who founded the castle in 1070 as part of the earldom of Chester. In the mid-13th century, when the last Earl died, the castle became part of the kingdom.
Over the course of its history, Chester Castle has served as the military headquarters for the conquest of Wales, a centre for county administration, and the headquarters for Lord John Byron during the Civil War. The military withdrew completely from the castle in 1999, but it still acts as the county hall, Crown Courts and a military museum.
The Chester Military Museum is housed in Block A at the Chester Castle. Here, you can learn about the history of the four British Army regiments associated with Chester from the 17th century to date.
Grosvenor Street, Chester, CH1 2DN
ChesterBoat River Cruise
View the sights of Chester from a different view point as you float leisurely down the River Dee. A half hour city cruise highlights the many beautiful homes along the river front, while your guide provides a potted history of the city.
On the Iron Bridge Cruise you leave the outskirts of Chester and sail through Eaton Estate, the ancestral home of the Duke of Westminster. Listen to the interesting commentary while you keep your eyes peeled for sightings of swans, herons, moorhens and kingfishers.
ChesterBoat partners with City Sightseeing to provide a combined ticket, allowing you to view Chester from both perspectives. This land and river option will surely keep the kids entertained and interested in all the sights of Chester.
Souter’s Lane, The Groves, Chester, CH1 1SZ
Ghost Hunter Trail
Older children, and even those younger ones who enjoy a good ghost story, will love the Ghost Hunter Trail through Chester. Your ghost-hunter guide will take you on a spooky journey through the mysterious and macabre side of Chester’s history.
Chester has more than 2000 years of history and is widely considered one of the most haunted cities in England. Learn about the sinister events that have taken place here as you depart from the Town Hall and stroll through the darkened streets.
Each ghost tour lasts about an hour and a half. Please bear in mind that some stories may not be suitable for young children.
Town Hall, Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2HJ
Chester Summer Holidays Map
Getting Around Chester
Being an old city, Chester does have its limitations during busy seasons. Chester park & ride is a great option for day trippers, whilst parking in Chester should be planned ahead of time if you are visiting during peak season and events. Our taxis are available around the city and can be booked from your hotel or location.
Chester is a hugely popular city to visit, with for local and international tourists to see and do. The attractions we’ve covered are all currently open and welcoming visitors. However, we are very aware that this can change at any stage, with fluctuating circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We recommend that you check the website of each attraction before finalising your plans for the following day. This way you can be assured of a fun-filled, action-packed stay in Chester.
- Days Out for Kids in Chester this Summer
- Hidden Gems in Chester: Unique Activities and Experiences in 2023
- Spending A Rainy Day In Chester
- Things to Do on a Long Weekend Break in Chester
- Chester Restaurants & Pubs With Outdoor Seating