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A Family-Friendly Staycation in Chester

By Jenny Schippers – 13th September 2020

A Chester Staycation in 2021

 

UK staycations are anticipated to be big business in 2021 and hugely popular as we are made to stay closer to home for our holidays. Chester, in the county of Cheshire close to Liverpool, is a fantastic choice for both a romantic or family-friendly weekend staycation. There is so much to see within the city centre itself but also in the surrounding areas as it is close to the Welsh border, Wirral coast, and Cheshire countryside including Delamere Forest. For my 48hrs in Cheshire itinerary please click here for an example of how to spend a weekend in and around Chester as a couple.

 

When travelling with small children, often your plans have to incorporate an element of ‘downtime’ and a shift from the typical action-packed itineraries of old. With any City break, it is a good idea to have a rough plan as to what you want to see and do without fixing it too much in stone. We recently stayed in Chester with our two small children, 3 and 6 years old, for the weekend and I have included the itinerary and accommodation details below.

 

Chapel Chester Apartments

 

We chose to spend our weekend in Chester staying at the beautiful boutique apartments Chapel Chester, located in the heart of the city and a 2-minute walk from the famous Chester Walls. This self-contained accommodation provided not only a convenient base to explore Chester but also the flexibility to eat in the apartment and the benefit of a small, secure outside terrace and living space. For a full review and details of our stay at Chapel Chester, please click here.

 

Navigating Chester with Children

 

First of all, Chester is easier without a pram! The City Walls and Rows incorporate a lot of steps and uneven ground. I would highly recommend bringing a baby carrier for small babies and for older children, breaking up the walk with regular stops to rest in the great city parks.

Chapel Chester, our base for the weekend, was conveniently located next to the Roman Amphitheater and Roman Gardens with direct access to Grosvenor Park. The Walls that circumnavigate Chester are a safe, traffic-free way of exploring the city with plenty of breaks to drop down to see the sights below. The views over Chester Racecourse, the shopping streets, Cathedral and River Dee are just spectacular.

A Family-Friendly Chester Staycation Itinerary

 

Saturday Morning

 

On arrival in Chester, we parked our car on Albion Street and walked towards Grosvenor Park. On route, you pass the ancient Roman Amphitheatre and Roman Gardens, as well as St. John’s the Baptist Church, Chester’s original cathedral. In Grosvenor Park, we enjoyed a picnic in the landscaped gardens and time at the well-equipped playground before taking a ride on the miniature train. There was a coffee van in attendance, clean accessible toilets, picnic tables, and drinks/ice cream available at the nearby kiosk.

From here we dropped down onto the riverfront and took in all that the River Dee has to offer. This bustling part of the city, otherwise known as the ‘Groves’, is a fantastic place to head with children. You could easily spend an hour or so watching, and participating in, all that is on offer. There are motorboats/pedalos and rowing boats to hire as well as river cruises of various durations via Chester Boats. Alternatively, sit and watch the world go by; feed the ducks, and enjoy an ice cream from Snugburys On the River.

 

Saturday Afternoon

 

After time spent on the Groves, we crossed over the Chain pedestrian bridge, which affords you stunning views up and down the river before walking to Handbridge. This pretty riverfront walk back towards the city centre has plenty to keep little ones occupied, including marveling at the kayakers and wildlife on the weir. Before we crossed the bridge from Handbridge towards Lower Bridge Street, we made sure to take a diversion to Edgar’s Field Park which has an excellent children’s playground that is generally much quieter than Grosvenor Park (there are no facilities, however).

 

Saturday Evening

 

After plenty of time playing at the park, we crossed back into the centre and headed to Oddfellows Hotel on Lower Bridge Street for an early dinner. This boutique hotel is quirky in style and was a real treat for our anniversary. The girls loved the birds painted on the walls in the restaurant and we were really impressed by the varied, yet reasonable, kid’s menu. The outdoor garden is lovely on a sunny day and overall the hotel provides a peaceful rest bite from the buzzing shopping street outside.

Other family-friendly spots for dinner in Chester include the American-style Hickory’s Smokehouse by the river and La Fattoria on Lower Bridge Street for authentic Italian dishes (booking essential). For those a little more adventurous the Ruan Orchid, next door to Oddfellows, is an authentic Thai restaurant that has a good value ‘early diner’ menu and a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Finally, the Indoor Market Hall, close to the Town Hall, is a new addition to the food scene that has begun to serve exciting street food in their casual food hall.

 

Sunday Morning

 

After a restful night’s sleep at our apartment, we made our way to The Flower Cup on Watergate Street for a hearty brunch. This botanical-inspired cafe prides itself on its French Toast specials, Vegan menu, and artisan coffee. You cannot pre-book so it is best to arrive for opening time otherwise expect to queue outside whilst waiting for an available table. After we had eaten we enjoyed some time shopping before making our way to visit The Storyhouse on Hunter Street, opposite the Cathedral and adjacent to the Town Hall.

This contemporary theatre, cinema, and library is a multi-functional social space that welcomes you in with its stunning interior. Free to enter, the colourful Children’s Library is located on the ground floor and the girls loved spending time reading the lovely books. Before leaving we enjoyed a walk around the impressive main library hall and made a note to revisit for one of the many events and also to sample the coffee at The Kitchen.

 

Sunday Afternoon

 

To finish our weekend in Chester we made our way down to the racecourse in the afternoon and enjoyed a Sunday Roast at the White Horse Pub located in the centre of the racecourse itself. This contemporary family-friendly establishment has an impressive alfresco area, complete with a pirate ship playground as well as a cozy interior with open fires and a light, bright conservatory. The children’s menu is extensive and the home-cooked food is perfection. Once we had eaten, we sadly said our goodbyes to the fabulous city of Chester and made the short 25-minute drive home, the benefit of a staycation close to home!

 

Short on Time?

For those short on time, you may wish to consider a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour to see the major sites quickly and conveniently with little ones in tow. If you have a day or two to explore, however, you can easily navigate the whole city on foot finding plenty to see and do for children of all ages. For more information on events and things to do/places to visit please click on the visitor information site below.

 

For more information visit: https://www.visitcheshire.com/chester

 

Enjoy!

Jenny x

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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