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7 of the Best Free Family-Friendly Days Out In Cheshire

By Jenny Schippers – 1st April 2021
free family-friendly days out in Cheshire

7 of the Best Free Family-Friendly Days Out in Cheshire


As restrictions begin to lift in the UK and the prospect of a long Summer entertaining the kids beckons, I am sure you are working your brain hard to think of new and exciting ideas for a day outside in Cheshire. Over the last 18 months, I have no doubt you have exhausted the majority of local walks and playgrounds! I hope my list below of 7 of the best free family-friendly days out in Cheshire provides you with some much-needed inspiration to get you out and about, whilst also being kind to your bank balance.

These ideas are all outdoors but suggestions for indoor activities include events and workshops at your local library, museum, and church so keep an eye out for that information. Facebook community groups are also a fantastic information source for free community events so make sure you have joined yours. A great way to keep the cost down on days out is to pack a picnic and take snacks/drinks with you.

NB Some of the parks, walks, and playgrounds listed below will incur parking charges. Do also check the weather conditions and route prior to walking while ensuring sensible clothing/footwear is worn.

7 of the Best Free Family-Friendly Days Out in Cheshire


Free Day Out 1: Climb a Hill

Bickerton Hill – lies at the Southern tip of the Peckforton Hills, with views over the Cheshire Plain. There are various circular walks to consider starting from 3 miles.

Car parks:  SY14 8LN off Goldford Lane or Sy14 8LH off Old Coach Road

Helsby Hill – a short circular walk (approx. 2 miles) up to Helsby Hill Fort with views out towards the Mersey Estuary and Liverpool. Longer trails can be picked up including the Longster Trail and Sandstone Trail.

Car Park: Helsby Quarry off Alvaney Road

Overton Hill –  a 3-mile circular trail climbing to this prominent hill on the Mid-Cheshire ridge, 500 feet above Frodsham and with fabulous views over the Cheshire plain and Mersey estuary. The walk includes Woodhouses Iron Age Fort and a longer walk can be picked up on the Delamere Way to Delamere Forest.

Car Park: Frodsham Hill car park on Bellemonte Way

Runcorn Hill – a 1.5-mile circular hill walk through a nature reserve to a sandstone outcrop overlooking Runcorn and the River Mersey. This area once served as a series of sandstone quarries providing stone used in the building of Liverpool Cathedral and New York harbour.

Car Park: end of Highlands Road close to Traveller’s Rest Pub

Tegg’s Nose Country Park – this is a gentle 3-mile hill climb with the route weaving through the old quarry works offering spectacular views of Macclesfield Forest. There is plenty of old machinery to stop and look at on the way.

Car Park: Buxton Old Rd, Macclesfield SK11 0AP

White Nancy – there are many different trails ranging in length and difficulty from 3 to 6 miles. The walks all end at White Nancy on top of Kerridge Hill with 360-degree views across Cheshire, North Wales, and the Shropshire Hills.

Car Park: Postcode for White Nancy SK10 5QF (variety of parking places depending on the route so plan ahead)


Free Day Out 2: Lakeside Walks

Enjoy a circular lakeside walk with the opportunity to spot wildlife and feed the ducks along the way:

Nantwich Lake – CW5 8AA

Alderford Lake – SY13 3jQ

Moore Nature Reserve – WA4 6XE

Astbury Mere Country Park – CW12 4FP

Pennington Flash – WN7 3PA

Shakerley Mere – CW9 7DB

Tatton Park – WA16 6SG

Lymm Dam – WA13 0UG

Anderton Nature Park – CW9 6FW

Marbury Park – CW9 6AT


Free Day Out 3: Pick a (new) Park

Rather than visiting the same old park and playground, why not work through my list to visit somewhere new:

Castle Park, Frodsham – WA6 6SA

Sankey Valley Park, Warrington – WA5 9UR

Grosvenor Park, Chester – CH1 1QQ

Congleton Park – CW12 1BN

Sandbach Park – CW11 1FJ

The Moor, Knutsford – WA16 6ES

Victoria Park, Widnes – WA8 7SU

Queens Park, Crewe – CW2 7SE

Sandy Lane Park, Chester – CH3 5UL

Victoria Park, Warrington – WA4 1DQ

Walton Gardens, Warrington – WA4 6SN


Free Day Out 4: Visit a National Trust Property (without paying)

If you have a National Trust membership then you will find that a visit to one of their properties and grounds feels like a cost-effective day out, especially if you are able to visit at least twice in a month, therefore, getting your money’s worth. For those that do not have a membership, there are other ways of accessing the grounds at many of the properties for free, all completely legal and some of my favourite free family-friendly days out in Cheshire:

Quarry Bank Mill has a number of public footpaths that cross through and circle the historic site; along the River Bollin, through Styal Woods, and all the way to the Carrs in Wilmslow. Although the path cuts straight through the yard at the historic former mill, you are able to access this free of charge and the only areas that are off-limits without paying the National Trust entrance fee are the formal gardens and inside the mill (when it reopens).

Tatton Park is a vast country estate and parkland close to Knutsford. If you are walking or cycling into the grounds then this is free of charge and you will have access to over 1000 acres of deer park to explore including miles of woodland and lakeside trails that take you close to the resident Red and Fallow deer. Picnics within the grounds are permitted and dogs are to be kept on the lead. There are designated picnic and seating areas at various points around the park, a large children’s playground as well as toilets, and a cafe. The only areas of the park that you would have to pay to enter are the National Trust gardens, the farm, and the house (reopening date TBC).

Dunham Massey is an ancient deer park, country manor, and estate located close to Altrincham and although you are required to pay to park (free if you are a National Trust member), you can access the grounds free of charge if you walk or cycle in. Whilst being mindful of local residents, there are pedestrian entrances to Dunham Massey along the perimeter of the park as well as via the walking route from the Swan with Two Nicks at Little Bollington. Picnics within the grounds are permitted and dogs are to be kept on the lead, there are benches at various points around the park as well as toilets, and a cafe. The only areas of the park that you would have to pay to enter are the National Trust formal gardens and the house (reopening date TBC).

If you are thinking about a National Trust Membership and wondering whether it is worth considering, take a read of my blog post here all about why I think it is excellent value for money for my family.


Free Day Out 5: Barons Quay, Northwich, CW9 5LG

It may seem like a bit of a strange suggestion, but this modern shopping area in Northwich, located on the banks of the River Weaver, is a great place to spend a few hours. Firstly, the car park is free for 3 hours and the pathways are wide and traffic-free, the perfect place for children to walk, scoot and push a pram easily. Barons Quay also features the ‘Project Happy’ street art project designed by Emma Evans and little ones will love spotting the various bright and colourful murals dotted along the walls and windows. Along the route, there are coffee shops and places to sit to enjoy them. You could easily bring a picnic and incorporate a walk along the river.


Free Day Out 6:  Spot the Boats

Enjoy a waterside walk with plenty of boats to spot along the way:

River Dee, Chester

Bridgwater Canal, Altrincham to Stockton Heath

Anderton Boat Lift, Northwich – You can view the boatlift from the canal bank without paying to go into the Visitor Centre.

Nantwich Riverside Loop

Acton Bridge to Dutton Locks


Free Day Out 7: Woodland Walks

We are blessed with a number of ancient woodlands as well as more recently planted wooded areas in Cheshire to enjoy, they are the ideal place for children to roam free and explore the habitat around them:

Macclesfield Forest

Delamere Forest

Alderley Edge Walk

Spud Wood, Lymm

Risley Moss, Warrington

The Dingle, Appleton


Enjoyed Reading?

Why not read my latest blog featuring family-friendly walks in Cheshire this Spring and for more daily inspiration head to the Girl About Cheshire Instagram page to join the growing #makingmemoriesincheshire community.


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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