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Girl About Cheshire’s Guide to a Family-Friendly Weekend in Chester

By Jenny Schippers – 13th September 2020
RECOMMENDATION | Billy Bob’s Parlour & Diner – The Yorkshire Dales 88

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 chose to spend an overnight stay in our closest city of Chester to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We found a beautiful boutique apartment (Chapel Chester – see blog post) in the centre and this provided a great base to explore all that this brilliant city has to offer with two children, three and six years, in tow.

First of all, Chester is easier without a pram, the City Walls and Rows incorporate lots of steps and uneven ground. I would highly recommend bringing a baby carrier for small babies and for older children, breaking up the walks 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. Here there is direct access to the Walls and you can walk in either direction towards the main shopping areas or towards the River Dee and Racecourse. The Walls themselves surround the centre so you can walk a full loop of the City easily if time and little legs allow. There are regular breaks in the Walls where you can drop down and see the sights below.

On arrival in Chester, we parked our car and walked towards Grosvenor Park where we enjoyed a picnic in the landscaped gardens and time at the excellent playground before taking a ride on the miniature train. There was a coffee van on site, clean accessible toilets, and drinks available at the kiosk near the playground. 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 is a fantastic stop with children and you could easily spend an hour or so watching all that is going on. There are motorboats/pedalos and rowing boats to hire as well as a River cruise with Chester Boats. If you don’t decide to do any of those things you could just sit and watch the world go by, feed the ducks, and enjoy an ice cream from Snugburys On the River.

From here, we crossed over the Chain pedestrian bridge, which affords you stunning views up and down the river. You could choose to walk into the Chester Meadows or, like us, walk back up towards Handbridge. This walk gives you excellent views back into the City and the weir where we stopped for a while to watch the kayakers. Before we crossed the bridge out of Handbridge, 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).

After some time playing, 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 include the American-style Hickory’s Smokehouse by the River and La Fattoria on Lower Bridge Street for authentic Italian dishes. 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.

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 and before heading home we made sure to visit The Storyhouse on Hunter Street, close to the Cathedral. This theatre, cinema, and library is a multi-functional social space that welcomes you in with its stunning interior. 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 The Kitchen for coffee and cake on our next visit.

Those short on time may wish to consider a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour to see the major sites with little ones however if you have a day or two to explore you could easily navigate the city on foot finding plenty to see and do for all ages.

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!

 

RECOMMENDATION | Billy Bob’s Parlour & Diner – The Yorkshire Dales 103
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