Our list of the best family things to do in Chester includes ancient fortifications, wildlife attractions and award-winning parks. Along with free museums, self-guided walking tours, Lego displays and unique restaurants, you won’t struggle to keep the kids entertained during your stay.

    Dive alongside sharks in one of England’s largest aquariums, or tuck into an ice cream in a parlour that boasts indoor and outdoor play areas for the youngsters. For something a little healthier, head to one of the city’s green spaces and join a relaxing walk. Whether you’re a wildlife watcher, history buff or adrenaline junkie, Chester’s family-friendly activities could keep you occupied for a lifetime.

    1

    Chester Zoo

    Visit one of Britain’s most-visited wildlife attractions

    Covering an area of around 128 acres, Chester Zoo is one of the largest wildlife attractions in the UK. It’s zoological gardens and over 35,000 animals attract around 2 million visitors per year. You’ll see a diverse range of exotic and endangered mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians and plants at Chester Zoo. One of the newest exhibitions, the Asiatic Lion Habitat, is adored by kids and adults alike.

    It can take up to 2.5 hours to walk around Chester Zoo without stopping to look at anything, so you might want to set aside a full day to visit this top-rated attraction. Visit the Islands of Chester Zoo to learn about wildlife conservation programmes in the Philippines, Indonesia and Sumatra.

    Location: Chester CH2 1EU, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0) 1244 380280

    Map
    2

    Grosvenor Museum

    Teach the kids about natural history and archaeology

    The Grosvenor Museum details the stories of Cheshire from pre-history through to the present day. Inside this Grade II-listed, Renaissance-style building, you can view archaeological artefacts from the Roman era, one of the world’s largest collections of paintings by Louise Rayner, a Victorian Parlour, and fossils of a Chirotherium, which existed before dinosaurs.

    After perusing artwork and exhibitions on Cheshire’s natural history at the Roman Galleries, take the kids to learn about the history of the city at the Education Service, which occupies the top floor. Admission to the museum is free – it’s also open almost every day of the year.

    Location: Grosvenor Museum, 27 Grosvenor St, Chester CH1 2DD, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10.30 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1244 972197

    Map

    photo by Stephen Rogerson (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    3

    Chester in Lego

    View miniature recreations of Chester’s landmarks

    Chester in Lego is a recreation of many of Chester’s most notable residents and landmarks, including the Roman Walls, The Rows, Eastgate Clock and Storyhouse. There are also depictions of historical events that took place in the city. Since it was started in 2014, Chester in Lego has raised thousands of pounds for local charities.

    This top-rated family attraction is located inside Chester Market, where you can fill up on delicious bites from the city’s only indoor street food vendors. Head to Chester in Lego at Christmas to see a miniature version of the city covered in snow. The kids can try to find Santa Clause hidden in the display and get their Chester Christmas Passport stamped as a memento of their visit.

    Location: Market Hall, 6 Princess St, Chester CH1 2HH, UK

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm, Friday–Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1244 973040

    Map

    photo by IIya Kuzhekin (CC BY 3.0) modified

    4

    Chester Roman Gardens

    Explore fortress ruins, elegant gardens and the city walls

    The Chester Roman Gardens were constructed in 1949 to display fragments of the city’s ancient Roman buildings, including the Fortress of Deva, the Roman Baths and several military buildings. There’s also a reconstructed hypocaust (Roman heating system), a circular mosaic, and a large stretch of the Roman Walls that still surround much of the city.

    Located at the foot of the River Dee, Chester Roman Gardens are just a stone’s throw from the Roman Amphitheatre. In August, Chester Roman Gardens hosts the popular Moonlight Flicks event, one of the largest open-air cinemas in North West England. Hot food and beverages are available, or you can pack a picnic to enjoy a day out on a budget. Admission to the gardens is free.

    Location: Pepper St, Chester CH1 1DQ, UK

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Map
    5

    Chester Treasure Hunt Trail

    Embark on a self-guided tour with a fun twist

    The Chester Treasure Hunt Trail is a self-guided tour that takes you by city-centre landmarks including the Roman Walls, the Eastgate Clock, The Rows, the Cathedral and the River Dee. Along the way, you’ll solve clues set on the city’s buildings, monuments and permanent features to discover the location of buried treasure.

    This circular, 2-mile trail starts at The Cross and finishes along The Rows. If you can solve all the puzzles, you’ll have the chance to win a cash prize. Don’t worry if you get stuck – there’s a mobile text service for clues. For around £10, you can download the trail map and follow the route at your own pace.

    Location: 46 Watergate St, Grosvenor Precinct, Chester CH1 1NP, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1872 263692

    Map
    6

    Countess of Chester Country Park

    Enjoy a picnic in an award-winning countryside park

    The Countess of Chester Country Park is an ideal place to enjoy a countryside setting and wildlife watching. Covering an area of around 19 hectares, the park has a memorial forest, an outdoor gym, wetlands and grasslands. As you follow the pathways through the park, you’ll have the chance to spot kingfishers, kestrels, woodpeckers, sparrowhawks and a variety of butterflies.

    Get the kids active by embarking on a guided health walk. If you’re up to the challenge, you can join in the weekly 5-km-long Chester Parkrun, which takes place on Saturdays. See if you can find the 5 hidden totem poles. Parking is available from 7.30 am to 9 pm, though you can reach the park by cycling along the Chester Greenway footpath.

    Location: Valley Dr, Chester CH2 1UL, UK

    Open: Daily from 7.30 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)151 423 4433

    Map

    photo by Jeff Buck (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Zippy's PlayWorld

    Chester’s foremost indoor adventure playground

    Zippy’s PlayWorld is one of Chester’s largest indoor adventure centres for kids aged 1 to 10. It’s equipped with a 3-level climbing frame complete with ball pits, slides, mazes, roller squeezers, climbing walls, rope bridges and a Tarzan rope swing. For youngsters still finding their feet, there’s a 3-level toddler playroom. There’s also an interactive sensory room for babies.

    If you’re organising a birthday party, you can reserve a private booth with a deposit of around £40, which is redeemable against any beverages and bites you purchase from the onsite cafe. Keep your eyes peeled for annual events, such as Halloween and Christmas parties, Creepy Crawly Shows and CBeebies Stars.

    Location: Unit 5, Grange Park, Grange Rd, Chester CH2 2AN, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9.30 am to 6 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1244 377229

    Map
    8

    The Ice Cream Farm

    Treat the kids to their favourite dessert

    At The Ice Cream Farm, you can choose from over 50 flavours of real dairy ice cream. With numerous kid’s play areas, quad bikes and farm animals, it doubles up as an adventure-filled day out for the young ones. This quirky ice cream and adventure parlour brings in over half a million visitors each year. One of the most popular playgrounds is Daisy’s Garden, where children can eat giant scoops of melting ice cream from a unique ice cream tree.

    The Ice Cream Farm is located between Peckforton Castle and Beeston. Admission is free, and play activities cost between £1 and £4.50. Buy a Play Pass to get more adventure for your money.

    Location: Drumlan Hall, Newton Ln, Cheshire, Chester CH3 9NE, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)800 133 7000

    Map

    photo by Martyn Wright (CC BY 2.0) modified

    9

    Blue Planet Aquarium

    Get close to sharks in the underwater tunnel

    The Blue Planet Aquarium is one of the largest freshwater and marine parks in the UK, opened by the Queen in 1998. It’s home to more types of shark than anywhere else in the nation. Themed areas include Tropical Rivers, Lakes and Ponds, Seas and Oceans, and Where Land Meets the Sea. Overall, there are around 260 species of marine creatures in the aquarium and over 4,000 individual animals.

    Watch a plethora of fish and sharks swimming above you by walking through a 71-metre-long underwater tunnel. Or, get up close and personal with sharks by going on a diving encounter, suitable for adults and juniors. With exhibitions specifically geared towards young students of all ages, the Blue Planet Aquarium is just as educational as it is spectacular.

    Location: Cheshire Oaks, Longlooms Rd, Ellesmere Port CH65 9LF, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)151 357 8804

    Map
    10

    Breakout Chester

    Solve puzzles as a family to escape from a locked room

    Breakout Chester is an escape room game in which groups of up to 5 people have 60 minutes to solve puzzles and find clues to unlock the door of a themed room. In the Wanted room, you’ll take on the role of Wild West bounty hunters in a saloon searching for loot. The Cursed Carnival room will prove exhilarating if you prefer a spookier experience.

    The puzzles are a lot of fun but can be rather challenging, making Breakout Chester most suitable for families with children aged 10 years and over. However, kids below 7 can take part for free. If you haven’t had your fill of puzzle-solving at Breakout Chester, you can purchase a virtual ‘Play at Home’ escape game for around £15.

    Location: 42 Bridge St, Grosvenor Precinct, Row, Chester CH1 1NN, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1244 638061

    Map
    Joshua Saunders | Contributing Writer

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