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TOP 5: Family-Friendly Historic Attractions in Cheshire

By Jenny Schippers – 1st December 2020
RECOMMENDATION | Billy Bob’s Parlour & Diner – The Yorkshire Dales 180

The History of Cheshire

 

Cheshire’s history is rooted in the Norman and later Roman occupation that shaped the City of Chester as well as the wider county. Its proximity to the Welsh border has resulted in centuries of wars and disputes evident in the string of castles that run along its length. The more modern history of Cheshire is associated with the Industrial Revolution and the displacement of people, as many farmworkers moved to larger towns to service the thriving factories of the area. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, there was an economic boom which in turn saw many country estates being built as wealthy industrialists began to call Cheshire home. The success of the coal, textile, and salt industries was down in part to the efficient transport links by rail and water that crisscrossed the region and can still be seen to this day.

 

Family-Friendly Historic Attractions

 

The benefit of many of the historical sights within Cheshire is that they are completely interactive and family-friendly making them the perfect place to take children who are interested in learning more about where they live. Although many indoor exhibits are currently closed, I have included my suggestions below for the best family days out in Cheshire that appeal to both history buffs but also serve as a fantastic opportunity to get outside and explore the rich history of this area.

My Top 5 Family-Friendly Historic Attractions in Cheshire

 

1. Quarry Bank Mill

 

Quarry Bank Mill, close to Manchester Airport, was built by Industrial Revolutionist Samuel Greg in 1783 as the perfect spot for a cotton mill harnessing the power of the nearby River Bollin. As the business boomed, the estate widened with cottages built for the workers in nearby Styal Village as well as five further cotton mills across the area employing 2000 people. Nowadays, Quarry Bank Mill is protected by the National Trust and is open to visitors who can take tours of the mill (currently closed) and walk through the estate and gardens. Close by you can visit the Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park or enjoy countless muddy walks along the River Bollin.

 

2. Beeston Castle

 

Perched on the top of the Mid Cheshire Ridge, Beeston serves as a dramatic reminder of the English and Welsh wars that ravaged the area between the 12th and 16th centuries. Built by Ranulf, 6th Earl of Chester, in the 1220s the castle incorporates the banks and ditches of a previous Iron-Age fort. Having withstood a long siege during the Civil War it was finally surrendered to and partially destroyed by the Royalists in 1645. Nowadays the site, including the woodland park that surrounds it, is under the care of English Heritage and you are able to book tickets in advance to visit and walk up to the castle which affords you a 360 panorama of the whole of Cheshire. Older children will love the walk and fascinating castle views, for younger children, I suggest you use a baby carrier for the uphill walk.

 

3. Norton Priory

 

A true hidden gem in Cheshire, this medieval monastic site close to Warrington is home to a 12th-century undercroft with stunning vaulted ceilings and the priory ruins showing the original layout of the medieval buildings that once stood here. Within the museum itself, you can marvel at the artifacts that have been excavated from the site including a twice life-size St. Christopher statue. Surrounding the priory are beautiful woodland walks, orchards, and a Georgian Walled Garden. Onsite, there is a café, guided tours, and workshops available. Close to Norton Priory, you have the stunning Walton Hall and Gardens which includes a vast children’s playground, mini zoo, and crazy golf (seasonal). Check their website for updates on the new high ropes course as well as opening times for the Heritage café.

 

4. Chester

 

Settled by the Romans in 79 AD, the walled city of Chester, on the banks of the River Dee has incredible historical importance both within the county of Cheshire but the wider UK. Everywhere you look within this city, you are greeted by reminders of its historic past. The walls that encompass the city centre are some of the finest preserved examples of their kind in the country and the sheer volume of both roman artifacts and medieval buildings makes Chester a living, breathing museum. Walk along the city walls, visit the Roman Amphitheatre and gardens, or visit the Grosvenor Museum to learn more about the city. Roman guided walking tours can be booked or enjoy a boat trip down the River Dee to see the city from a different angle. More information about visiting Chester with children, including a family-friendly walk and playground suggestions, can be found on my blog post here.

 

5. Tatton Park

 

Tatton Park, close to Knutsford, is one of the finest and most complete country estates in the UK. Set within a 1000 acre ancient deer park, the estate was owned by the Egerton family from 1598 with the Neo-Classical mansion that we see today being built during the 1770s. The history of the Egerton family stems from their links to Queen Elizabeth I, with Sir Thomas Egerton serving in senior office for the royal before becoming Lord Chancellor of England. The Tatton estate became the home of the junior members of the family initially, at the head of which were the Earls and Dukes of Bridgewater. The Egertons’ continued their ownership of Tatton, despite many financial difficulties before the mansion and gardens were ultimately bequeathed to the National Trust on the death of the last Lord Egerton in 1958. The National Trust Gardens have a calendar of family-friendly events taking place and currently Holly Hare’s Festive Feast (running until 3rd January) which takes you around the gardens following clues to complete the trail. The estate also has a working farm (open seasonally), café, woodland trail, and a huge adventure playground. It costs £7 to park at Tatton Park and National Trust tickets to the gardens must be booked in advance; the mansion is unfortunately currently closed.

 

Make sure to tag me in your Cheshire adventures @girlabout.cheshire and by using the hashtag #makingmemoriesincheshire

RECOMMENDATION

This is a Girl About recommendation. This means that it was not gifted in return for a review but paid in full by our writer and the venue had no idea that I was there. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!

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