Children in Chester

Photo of eating ice creamPhoto of feeding squirrelsPhoto of girl on model elephant

Our own children have discovered lots of things to see and do in and around Chester. Here are some of their favourites.

  • Grosvenor Park has a playground (currently being rebuilt and due to re-open in Spring 2014) and a miniature railway that runs most weekends and holidays.
  • The riverside Groves - you can feed the ducks and swans on the river Dee, buy delicious Cheshire ice cream and take a boat trip.
  • The city walls provide a unique circular walkway, mostly separated from traffic. There are plenty of access points into the city centre. Please note that some sections have steps and are not suitable for prams, although we have been around with a lightweight buggy and carried it up and down the steps without too much difficulty. If you come down the steps on the North West corner of the walls you will find the pleasant Water Tower Gardens with a small playground.
  • The Chester rows - unique two tier shops and cafes in historic half timbered buildings. Although most of the access to the rows is by steps there are some wheelchair / buggy access points, for example, through the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. Older children might appreciate the model shop in Bridge Street Row.
  • Bus tours - the hop on hop off open top bus tour can help to stop small legs from getting too tired. You can also get a combined ticket for the bus and riverboat cruise.
  • Chester Zoo - definitely worth a visit (although it’s not cheap at around £45 to £60 for a family of 4, so it’s worth checking the Visitor Centre for leaflets with discounts). You can drive there or walk in to the city centre and take a bus from the bus station located next to the Town hall. Allow a full day for a trip to the zoo.
  • The Grosvenor Museum runs regular hands-on activities for children during the school holidays. These can be very popular and some may need booking in advance. Contact the museum for details on 01244 402033.
  • Favourite restaurants and cafes include La Fattoria (our children like watching the pizza chef spinning the dough). Brown Sugar cafe in Handbridge does yummy milk shakes and cakes. See our 'eating out' page for more details.
  • Geocaching is a great way to encourage older children to get out and about and there are several caches hidden around the city. The caches can be anything from a tiny magnetic box not much bigger than a screw head to the size of a lunch box. The bigger caches contain items to swap and they all have some sort of log book where you can record your visit. The geocaching web site has a list of nearby caches with co-ordinates that you can use with a GPS as well as clues and geocaching etiquette. There is also an app that will work with a smart phone.

Some options for wet days:

Younger children can burn off some excess energy at soft play centres - there are several in Chester:

  • 'Fun4All' soft play centre was recommended by one of our guests. It is at Unit 8 Hartford Way, Sealand Industrial Estate, (CH1 4NT) not far from the large Tesco, tel: 01244 379458.
  • Funky Town soft play and, in the evenings, laser tag centre, is in the north of the city. Address - unit 5 Grange Park, Grange Road, CH2 2AN, tel, 01244 377229.
  • Runaround soft play is on the city outskirts on the road to Broughton. Address The Warehouse, Chester Road CH4 0DH, tel: 01244 661754.

We haven't any experience of these but they get good reviews on Netmums and Eat and Play.

Older children might enjoy the laser tag sessions at Funky Town (see above).

Sadly Chester is without a cinema at the moment, the nearest is at Cheshire Oaks which is about 8 miles away by car. You can also find Tenpin bowling there too.

Don't rule out the zoo on wet days - there are lots of shelters and indoor animal houses, just take waterproofs for the bits in between.

Further afield

  • North Wales coastline is easily accessible by car and train. There are sandy and pebble beaches all along the coast, within an hour’s drive from Chester. Prestatyn and Rhyl are commercial seaside towns; Llandudno is a classic Victorian resort complete with pier. The beaches do tend to shrink dramatically at high tide so it may be worth checking the tide times with the visitor centre before you plan a day trip. There are also several ruined castles to explore in this area.
  • Llangollen has a steam railway and horse drawn canal boat trips. Not to mention the option of a breath taking drive over a (small) mountain pass to get there!
  • Thurstaston and West Kirby on the Wirral, about 30 minutes by car. There are long sandy beaches, great for kite flying, with an island at West Kirby that you can walk out to at low tide. There are also various water sports available here.
  • The Blue Planet Aquarium is a great day out - make sure that you catch one of the shows with scuba divers swimming with the sharks.
  • The Crocky Trail in Waverton is a an outdoor adventure park where you can slide, climb and scramble around the trail and possibly get quite muddy in the process. Best suited to school age children (although adults seem to enjoy it too). Telephone 01244 336161 for more information.

More about Chester for children

Check out the Tourist Information Centre in Town Hall Square (not far from the cathedral) for information on other child friendly attractions and events. Telephone 0845 647 7868.

Kiddiewalks in Cheshire describes short walks in the area. Read about it on our book reviews page.

Other related pages in this web site: