We have lived near Chester for 16 years now and it really is a beautiful part of the world. We have three children who have lived here their whole lives and so I feel that I have plenty of experience when it comes to things to do in Chester with Kids. This post will highlight some of our favourite places that are all within 15 or so miles of Chester city centre and each one will have a small write up but please do click on the links for more in depth reviews and top tips.
Things to do in Chester
One of my absolute favourite things to do in Chester is go to Chester Zoo. We have had a family pass since the boys were little and there was many a time when we would go daily just so Connor could make sure Daddy Lion was okay, bless him. Chester Zoo is one of the biggest and best zoos in the country. It has so much to see and do that you may not manage all of it in a day. As well as seeing all the different animals and listening to various talks there are also several parks for the little ones to explore, a fun sand and water play centre, a boat ride and if you pay extra a crazy golf area.
The Story House Chester
The story house is home to a gorgeous library, bar and restaurant, cinema and theatre. It is one of my favourite theatres of all time as it is small and intimate and every seat offers up a view of the stage. They have a whole host of shows on throughout the year from musicals like Joseph and his amazing technicoloured dream coat to shows for younger children such as Zog.
If you love history then check out the Dewa Roman museum and tours where you will go for a walk around the city with a tour guide dressed as a Roman. Honestly they must be freezing but they look fantastic and the kids love it, it is such a unique thing to do in Chester.
There are a number of museums in Chester. I often refer to them as Chester’s best kept secret as for some reason people don’t always know they exist or they have heard of them but aren’t sure where they are. Well, on a rainy day in Chester when me and the boys were stuck for new things to do in Chester we went from one to the other exploring them all and were very pleasantly surprised. Not only are they inside and dry they are also free and have lots of educational activities aimed at kids in all the different area. From building bridges to dressing up and from interactive computer games to drawing and colouring in stations there is something for everyone to do in the Chester museums.
Places to eat in Chester
Hickorys Steak House
If you are looking for a family friendly restaurant then Hickorys is worth a visit. It is situated right next to the River Dee and if you sit outside the views are lovely. It is the perfect spot before or after a walk round the river or if walking isn’t your thing then you can always see the Dee by boat instead.
Hanky Panky Pancake house
If you are looking for somewhere to grab a sweet treat instead of a full meal then check out Hanky Pankys. It is situated in the city centre and has indoor and outdoor seating. They serve up the most delicious pancakes and milkshakes you have ever tasted, with lashings of ice cream and fruit too. Or you can be sensible and opt for savoury with veg but I’ve never understood why you would do that!
Things to do a short drive from Chester
Delamere forest is one of our all time favourite places to go for a walk. It is about a 10 minute drive from Chester and there is plenty of free parking around the outskirts of the forest or you can pay and display in the main car park. The forest is massive with lots of paths to walk round that are suitable for bikes and prams as well as lots of little tracks that take you off the beaten track and deeper into the woods where you can build dens and go exploring. There is also a giant Gruffalo which is definitely worth a pit stop for a photo! Delamere forest also has a brand new cafe serving everything from brunch to take away coffee or of course you can take a picnic and use one of the many benches you will find on your walk.
Nestled within Delamere forest is Go ape, a high ropes course. This one has two course, one for the smaller monkeys and one for the older ones. Both courses are fantastic and really put you through your paces. The course takes about an hour to complete and is lots of fun. My boys love this and first completed it when they were 5 and 8.
Blue Planet Aquarium
Right next door to Cheshire Oaks is Blue Planet Aquarium. As far as aquariums go this one is pretty good and does have lots of lovely fish as well the sharks which are the main attraction. However this is more of a 1-2 hour activity than a full day although you can stay a little longer if you listen to all the talks.
The cinema is in walking distance to Cheshire Oaks on a separate entertainment complex. It shows all the latest films and at time of writing all tickets are £5 which is a bargain. They also do a kids am sessions on the weekends that are even cheaper.
On the same complex as the cinema is Paradise Golf. This is an indoor crazy golf arena suitable for groups of friends of family. The course is great fun and they have gone to a lot of effort to make it themed with giant statues and interactive areas. You can even use AR to keep score if you are feeling tech savy.
The Crocky Trial
The Crocky Trail is a action packed day out. It is mainly outside, although some bit are undercover and comprises of lots of physical activities like climbing ropes, slides and various rides. It is a circular route around a large field with the rides and slides situated at the start/finish. If you have children with lots of energy to burn then this place is well worth a visit. I would say it is more suited to those over 5 but younger ones can still go and join in with some things. If the weather is nice then be sure to take a picnic and make a day of it or if you prefer then you can buy food there. One of the best things about Crocky Trail for the locals is that each year they change up the trail and add new rides to keep in it interesting.
Cheshire Ice Cream Farm
Just a short drive up the road from The Crocky Trail you will find the famous Cheshire Ice Cream Farm which has recently undergone a huge transformation. Not only does it offer the most amazing ice cream (try the liquorice and blackcurrant) but there is also loads more to do to. For no extra charge there is a big play area in the centre of the farm with apparatus for all ages as well as a musical tree that shoots out foam every so often. If you are happy to spend a little extra then you can choose from indoor activities such as a play area and sand and water stations or outside you can enjoy go karts and crazy golf.
If you or your children like climbing or are familiar with bouldering the Boulder Hut is worth a visit. It is just a short drive from Chester based in Ellesmereport and is suitable for the whole family as they even have a toddler area. You can book a one off climb or sign up to a course and once you are finished working up a sweat you can refuel in their cafe and try some of their tasty vegan goods.
Apple jacks is an outdoor adventure play area. This one is aimed at younger children from 3 to 8. It has loads of activities for them to join in with from archery, to a maze to a giant jumping dome. There are also regular shows that you can sit and watch together and indoor and outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy your packed lunch or buy refreshments there. There is very little undercover here so if you can pick a nice day or wrap up warm.
If you are looking at staying some where near Chester but don’t want the hustle and bustle of the city then Carden Park is a beautiful, family friendly, spa hotel. It also has lots of activities on including sedgways and high rope courses.
Chester is a beautiful city steeped in history with so many attractions in and around the surrounding area. It is most definitely worth a visit with your family as you will find plenty of things to do in Chester with kids. Just make sure that once you have visited with them kids remember to come back without the kids for even more things to do!