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11 family-friendly Autumn days out in Cheshire

As we leave the summer months behind, the promise of clear, crisp autumn days ahead is enough to start planning your adventures in Cheshire. With indoor and outdoor pursuits to suit all ages, Cheshire is packed with exciting family-friendly autumn days out – attractions, countryside walks, play opportunities, and cultural sights.

Although the weather can be unpredictable, this handy round-up should provide plenty of inspiration for affordable weekend and half term activities to enjoy this autumn in Cheshire, come rain or shine.

August 31, 2022


Blakemere Village

Situated just outside Northwich, Blakemere Village is a unique collection of independent shops, attractions, and eateries. With free parking, a soft play barn, plenty of crafting opportunities, a bird of prey aviary, outdoor activities including crazy golf and archery, bike hire, playground, and mini funfair – Blakemere has something to suit all ages.

Along with The Village Restaurant serving breakfast, lunches, and a hugely popular Sunday Carvery, the dog-friendly site is also home to a traditional sweet shop, cupcake shop, a cafe, a pub, and The Village Social tipi. It is also possible to stay at Blakemere, with luxury glamping pods arriving in the autumn plus camping and touring pitches available.

With direct access to miles of woodland trails and proximity to The Whitegate Way – Blakemere is the ideal place to begin and end outdoor adventures in Cheshire. The impressive Magical Woodland light trail also returns in October and transforms the woodland into a spectacular display of lights, lasers, and illuminated installations.

Pumpkin picking

Pumpkin picking is one of our favourite autumn days out in Cheshire and a great way to make memories with loved ones. This seasonal activity has become incredibly popular over the last five years, with fields opening towards the end of September/early October. Now is the time to plan where you will be visiting with the children this year.

I will link to last year’s article on where to go Pumpkin Picking in Cheshire below, but some of our tried and tested patches from previous years include:

• Kenyon Hall Farm (tickets now on sale)
• Dunham Pumpkins
• The Hayloft, Widnes
• Brookheys Farm, Dunham Massey

• New for 202: The Lymm Pumpkin Patch

Castaway Play and Glebe Farm

Located close to the pretty village of Astbury, just outside Congleton in south Cheshire – Castaway Play and the nearby Glebe Farm make the perfect autumn day out with children.

Castaway Play is unique in Cheshire – an accessible indoor and outdoor covered play centre suitable for children up to the age of eight, and specifically designed with SEN children in mind. With a calendar of character-themed events, magical worlds to explore, and interactive activities – Castaway Play makes the perfect wet-weather activity.

Glebe Farm is a delightful stop when travelling to or from Castaway Play or Astbury Mere – this working farm has a farm shop, cafe, playground, and animals to meet. It’s also completely free to visit.

National Trust

A day trip to a National Trust property is always a popular autumn day out and, in Cheshire, we have some of the finest properties, woodlands, and gardens the region has to offer.

Whether it’s walking the woodland trails at Tatton Park, discovering the formal gardens at Dunham Massey, or exploring the expansive grounds at Lyme Park – the possibilities are endless. For National Trust members, it also offers an inexpensive day out with the family.

Below is a list of the National Trust properties/parks/woodlands located in Cheshire (and the wider North West region):
• Dunham Massey
• Tatton Park
• Lyme Park
• Little Moreton Hall
• Speke
• Biddulph Grange Garden
• Quarry Bank Mill
• Alderley Edge Wizard Woodland

The National Trust also offers seasonal activities for children, often to coincide with school holidays, so be sure to check the relevant property website before visiting for details and opening times.

From the 18th of December, the magnificent Christmas light trail returns to Dunham Massey, giving paying evening visitors (tickets booked separately in advance) as well as daytime visitors the opportunity to see these impressive light installations in situ around the formal gardens.

The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall

Considered the largest ice cream farm in the world, this bold statement is hard to dispute when you visit The Ice Cream Farm close to Tattenhall, just outside Chester.

One of Cheshire’s most loved tourist attractions, the award-winning site has rapidly expanded over the last ten years. The site features not only an ice cream parlour, serving 50 ice cream flavours, but a Willy Wonka-inspired outdoor play area, indoor water, and sand play area (additional price to entry ticket), crazy golf, go-karts, an inflatable pillow, bouncy castles, and a play loft for older children.

Located in the shadows of Beeston Castle, a stone’s throw from the Shropshire Union Canal and Tattenhall Marina, The Ice Cream Farm is conveniently located close to some of Cheshire’s finest sights. Even if the weather is bad, or you are short on time, there is the option to order an ice cream from the Drive-In hatch instead.

Storyhouse Chester

Located in the heart of the historic Roman city of Chester, the Storyhouse is a not-for-profit theatre, cinema, library, and community hub open daily. While work continues close by to complete Chester’s new Indoor Market, multi-screen cinema, and Northgate shopping complex – the Storyhouse already offers visitors so many reasons to visit this thriving area of the city.

The children’s library is a delightful, colourful space for little ones to sit and read, as well as to listen to readings and complete craft activities. The theatre and cinema space shows a selection of family-friendly films and performances, and the community hub and café make the perfect place to shelter from the rain and relax among the books.

Combine your visit to Chester this autumn with a walk along its famous elevated City Walls, visiting Grosvenor Park and Water Tower Gardens as you make your way around its perimeter. This unique, bird’s eye view of the shopping areas, Roman Gardens, River Dee, and Chester Racecourse allows even first-time visitors to Chester the chance to get their bearings quickly and easily in this vibrant city.

Lion Salt Works

Telling the story of one of Cheshire’s greatest exports – salt – the Lion Salt Works on the outskirts of Northwich offers visitors an up-close, gritty journey through time. Housed within an original, restored open-pan salt-making site in Marston, the museum gives visitors a fascinating glimpse into the tough conditions that workers faced.

As well as interactive exhibitions and events, the site also includes a children’s playground, gardens, a picnic area, a café, and a gift shop. The museum stands on the Trent & Mersey Canal, allowing easy access to the miles of waterside walks that criss-cross the area, including the Marshall’s Arm Nature Reserve, Weaver Valley, and Northwich Woodlands.

Jodrell Bank

Situated close to the pretty hamlet of Goostrey, Jodrell Bank remains at the centre of scientific research and space exploration. Recognised as a site of Outstanding Universal Value and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2019, Jodrell Bank Observatory is owned and managed by the University of Manchester. Open to the public Tuesday to Sunday, visitors are welcome to explore the four pavilions, outdoor exhibits, and 35 acres of beautiful grounds, including the Jodrell Bank Arboretum.

The newly opened First Light Pavilion is an exciting addition to the site – visitors can pay a small additional charge (£3 adults, £2 children) to experience the Space Dome and its 30-minute narrated planetarium show. There is also a children’s playground, interactive indoor exhibits, and the Whispering Dishes. Picnics are welcome, and there are plenty of indoor and outdoor seating areas along with two cafes. After a visit to Jodrell Bank, stop at Bidlea Dairy ice cream farm or the Lovell Quinta Arboretum to extend the day.

Delamere Forest

A visit to the ancient woodland of Delamere is one of our favourite autumn days out in Cheshire. This vast outdoor playground is a wonderful place to explore come rain or shine. For bigger kids, Go Ape is a thrill-seeking high ropes adventure through the canopy, while down on the ground – the newly opened Superworm Trail will keep smaller children entertained.

This self-lead mile-long trail begins at the Visitors Centre where activity packs can be purchased for £3.50. Follow the brightly illustrated panels and complete the trail pack full of activities before finishing the day at Kelsall playground. This enclosed wooden play area close to the Morris Dancer pub is perfect for a picnic and a run-around.

Lymm Dam

Come rain or shine, Lymm Dam is a popular waterside walk, and during the autumn months, the woodland is a sight to be seen. With a combination of shorter and longer circular trails around the dam, there is a route to suit all ages and abilities. There are trees to climb, wildlife in and out of the water to spot, and sticks to be collect, making Lymm Dam a gem of an autumn adventure.

Stop for a takeaway coffee from the Avanti Coffee Van or at the Church Green Deli, where the pub grub is top-notch, before making your way around. Just a few steps down into The Dingle brings you into the pretty Cheshire village of Lymm, where there are an array of fine eateries for lunch, including The Coffee House, Sexton’s Bakery, and The Terrace, as well as shops, pubs, and bars.

Close by, walkers can access the banks of the Bridgewater Canal and continue a walk in either direction to either Dunham Massey or Stockton Heath. The traffic-free Trans Pennine Trail is a popular route for walks, cyclists, and those with prams and scooters. A return journey to the Little Manor or Pickering Arms in Thelwall is an easy route with a welcome stop for drinks and food on route.

Marbury Park and Anderton Boat Lift

One of my favourite autumn days out in Cheshire – entrance to the Anderton Boat Lift with its indoor exhibition, café, gift shop, and outdoor children’s playground is free of charge. Standing at the intersection of the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal, the gigantic Victorian boat lift – considered one of the seven wonders of the waterways – lifts boats from the river below to the canal above.

As well as the miles of waterside trails, the adjacent Anderton Nature Park combines 350 hectares of parkland that stretch from Northwich town centre to Marbury Country Park. Visitors can easily combine the boat lift, nature park, and Marbury Country Park – featuring a brand new children’s playground – to create a full day out exploring this beautiful part of the Cheshire countryside.

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August 31, 2022