The cathedral city of Chester, in the Northwest of England, should definitely be among your must-see places to enjoy a day out with kids. Whether your offspring are budding historians, adventure maniacs, or simply enjoy the great outdoors, you are spoiled for choice of things to do in this bustling, ancient Roman city.
One visit to Chester really isn’t enough. After spending an action-packed day in this beautiful English metropolis, with its surrounding countryside and the nearby River Dee, you’ll be itching to experience more. To get you started, we’ve put together what we feel is the ultimate day out in Chester for your family.
Chester Day Out for Kids
The Day Begins
Chester Zoo is a wonderful starting point. It welcomes over two million visitors each year making it the most popular zoo in the country, and it would be a shame to miss out on everything that it offers. Covering an expansive 128 acres, Chester Zoo is home to more than 20 000 animals, including many endangered and exotic species. Among these are the critically endangered cotton-top tamarind from Northern Columbia, the red panda from Asia and the fossa from Madagascar. The attraction is zoologically curated, with its inhabitants housed in spaces that replicate their natural habitat. This allows visitors to leave with a realistic picture of what they would be like in their indigenous surroundings.
The zoo also has a significant focus on flora, with several naturally landscaped gardens dotted among the animal experiences. Gardens like the Rock Garden and Sunken Garden showcase plant species from around the world and provide insight into how they contribute to the world’s ecosystems.
128 acres is a lot to cover, but there is plenty to keep the younger visitors interested. Some activities like the Treetop Challenge or Ape Around may cost a little extra, but downloading one of the trail ideas before your visit is lighter on your pocket and bound to add some extra excitement to your visit. And when walking becomes a struggle, jump into one of the boats on the Lazy River for a different perspective of Chester Zoo.
Time for Lunch
After a full morning of plant and animal viewing, walking and learning, it’s surely time for a bite to eat. While there are several restaurants in Chester that cater for children, we recommend Bella Italia for your lunchtime vittles. It’s a mere 15-minute drive from the zoo and located close to the Eastgate Clock, a well-known landmark in the city.
The menu is distinctly Italian, with a range of meals for varying appetites. A children’s menu allows your little ones to demonstrate their creative flair by creating their own pizza or pasta, while also offering firm favourites like meatballs and spaghetti bolognaise. Bella Italia caters for a variety of dietary requirements.
After Lunch Fun
After lunch it’s time to stretch the legs again, and learn a little about Chester’s history while doing so. A short walk along Eastgate Street brings you to the ancient city walls and Eastgate, which was the original entrance to the Roman fortress. The Eastgate Clock was added to the gate in 1899 to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and presides over the city from its lofty position on the top of Eastgate.
Chester Cathedral is an easy stroll from the Eastgate Clock, and if little (and older) legs aren’t too tired it’s certainly worth the few minutes’ walk. However, if tempers are fraying you may prefer to keep this for another day to truly make the most of the various experiences that Chester Cathedral offers.
The last stop on this fun family day out in Chester is Grosvenor Park. The River Dee provides a serene backdrop to this award-winning park with its tree-lined avenues, sweeping lawns and ornamental spaces. Explore the park by following the Tree Trail that showcases some of the more than 700 trees, or simply wander through the landscaped parkland at your leisure.
Plants and trees aside, there are several other features worth seeing like Billy Hobby’s Well that was believed to have magical properties; the Grade-II listed Grosvenor Park Lodge, which houses the park’s café; and a statue of the Marquess of Westminster in the centre of the park. An ever-popular feature is the miniature railway that follows a circular route around the pond on the east side of the park.
Covering 20 acres, Grosvenor Park is the perfect space to relax in the late afternoon sunshine and let the kids expend their last vestiges of energy in the environmentally-friendly play area.
After a day of fun in the sun and great experiences, it’s time to head home. If the post-lunch exercise and fresh air has revitalized your appetite, there are plenty of options for dinner before you hit the road or meander back to your accommodation. Our choice is Hickory’s Smokehouse in Souter’s Lane, a manageable walk of less than ten minutes from the park.
The menu at this American-style restaurant has something for everyone, from burgers to steaks, salads and ribs. The specially crafted kids’ menu will ensure that your little darlings’ tummies are full, and coupled with all the fresh air this should add up to a good night’s sleep when their heads finally hit the pillow.
After one day of fun in Chester, you’ll realise how much more there is to see and do in this intriguing city.
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 in Chester are available around the city and can be booked from your hotel or location.
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.
- Chester Summer Holiday Ideas For Kids (2022)
- Chester this Spring for Kids
- Chester Attractions in 2022
- Spending A Rainy Day In Chester
- Sightseeing in Chester