How to spend a day in Nantwich
- Credit: Archant
Nantwich offers great food, shopping, walks and plenty of ice-cream
The vibrant and bustling market town of Nantwich, located on the southern edge of the Cheshire Plain, really is one of the shining lights in the region offering visitors an all-round destination in which to shop, dine and explore. With its origins dating back to Roman times and its significance founded in the salt and, later, tannery trades, Nantwich lays claim to being one of the earliest settlements in Cheshire.
Nowadays its geographical importance on the old London to Chester trading route is clear to see as you arrive, with the Nantwich aqueduct, designed by Thomas Telford, and along the Welsh Row of impressive Georgian town houses. With one of the highest concentrations of listed buildings in the UK, there is quite literally a photo opportunity at every turn, and it is easy to see why Nantwich retains its strong sense of community spirit. Perfect for day-out dates or family visits, Nantwich is a treat just waiting to happen.
In the Morning
The pretty town square, in the summer festooned with bunting and adorned with stunning floral displays, serves as the perfect starting point and a great place to watch the world go by before disappearing down any one of the meandering shopping streets. Take a seat in the shadows of the imposing St Mary’s Church to enjoy an ice cream from Vitaliano’s trike or a coffee outside at the impressive Nantwich Bookshop while soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the thriving street scene. Be sure to visit the neighbouring Chatwins Bakery, established in the town over one hundred years ago, and still serving the locals from this ever-popular and much-loved landmark business. From here follow the signs towards the traditional indoor market hall – open three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – which showcases an array of regional suppliers and produce, including the famous ‘Nantwich Blue’ cheese.
A walk along the quaint Monks Lane will take you past the oldest building in Nantwich, Churches Mansion, which remains as one of the only properties to escape the Great Fire of 1583 that destroyed much of the town. If you wish to learn more about this major historical event and the subsequent regeneration scheme to replace the buildings then a visit to the Nantwich Museum, located on Pillory Street, is a must. The museum’s galleries present the history of the town focusing on the Roman salt trade, the Battle of Nantwich during the English Civil War and a look at the local shoe, clothing and clock making industries that the town is most famous for.
In the Afternoon
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If the weather is kind, you could choose to stretch your legs with a three-mile circular walking trail starting in Riverside Park close to the centre of town. The Riverside Loop is a way-marked walk and relatively flat throughout. Taking approximately an hour and a half to complete, the river and canal side paths are sealed however there is a section of the walk over fields that can be muddy in parts so bear in mind during wet weather. Suitable for all ages, the route takes you along the River Weaver and Shropshire Union Canal as well as passing Nantwich Lake. During busier periods there are often narrowboats moored near to the aqueduct selling vintage clothing (Instagram @thehippieboat), sweets (Candy Boat on Facebook) and Pizza (@pizzabakedonboard on Instagram) so make sure to check social media for their movements prior to visiting.
Finally, no day in Nantwich would be complete without a visit to the nearby Snugburys award winning ice cream farm. Famous for its annual sculptures in aid of charity, this year a bumblebee sits proudly in the field raising funds for The Bumblebee Conservation Trust. This family-run business has certainly become a well-loved local landmark over the years and remains a popular place to stop when visiting the area. Currently offering both a drive-through service and a one-way serving system from the main shop, there is plenty of open space to enjoy your ice cream on the grass lawn or during a walk through the field.
Dining out in Nantwich
Where to begin in this micro foodie mecca! You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to locally owned and incredible places to eat and drink in Nantwich. For anyone with a sweet tooth you will be richly rewarded; Cheshire Cupcakes not only produces insanely pretty cupcakes and brownies, but they taste as good as they look. Make sure to visit early on their opening days, Wednesday to Saturday, as they always sell out quickly. For quirky Afternoon Tea head to Miss Marmalade’s, twice voted Nantwich’s favourite cafe, serving a varied menu including super-indulgent Freak-Shakes, as well as a full savoury lunch and vegan menu. For something a little bit different the Bench Bistro Bar, voted Best Newcomer 2019 in the Nantwich Food Awards, offers their ‘Bench Afternoon Tea’ which includes mini burgers, scampi, soup and falafel lollipops alongside their more traditional scones and cakes.
Hidden away, with a sheltered outside courtyard area and extended indoor seating, the Café de Paris on Hospital Street serves impeccable French cuisine in relaxed surroundings. With an extensive menu covering breakfast through to evening meals this is a fabulous all-round choice with a continental twist. Close by and offering a similar relaxed feel is St Martha Taverna, offering a slice of Greek home cooking from their family-friendly and incredibly welcoming establishment. While many of us choose to stay at home this year, these two great restaurants will be sure to whisk you away to sunnier climes. On this visit I ate lunch at Ginger & Pickles on Mill Street and enjoyed a fabulous al fresco salad whilst my daughter tucked into one of the Palace Picnic boxes from the fantastic Children’s Menu.
Why the locals love Nantwich
Sarah Boor, of INKspire Calligraphy
“Nantwich is a beautiful, vibrant historical market town filled with timber frame buildings housing lots of little independent shops, pubs and cafes. We love it! It has lots of events running throughout the year. From the Jazz Fest over the Easter bank holiday weekend, to the Food & Drink festival in September, there’s something for everyone. It’s great for families, with lots of free activities in the local library, numerous parks, Nantwich Lake, kids cafes and gorgeous walks and adventures.”
“The best thing about living in Nantwich is the festivals. Every year we visit Holly Holy Day, the Jazz Festival and my favourite is the Food Festival! The town comes alive and the atmosphere is amazing. There are also loads of great pubs, our local The Leopard is a firm favourite and does great burgers!”
“I love living in Nantwich because it is full of its history, beautiful buildings and an abundance of independent shops and restaurants. We are spoilt for choice for lovely local places to eat and drink and all right on the doorstep.”
“I love living in Nantwich as there’s always plenty of events going on, suitable for all ages, throughout the year. In the winter you can stand in awe at the re-enacted Battle of Nantwich, then pop to one of the many cosy cafes t warm up. In spring it’s the jazz and blues festival - always a relaxed but lively event that has people dancing in the streets to some great bands. The end of summer sees the town transformed for the annual Food Festival which is being held online this year, so we can still discover new tempting delights. Add to this the indepenent shops, cafes and restaurants and the beautiful countryside that surrounds us and you have the perfect place to live.”
Jenny Schippers is a travel writer and the Cheshire representative of the Girlaboutblogsquad, representing Cheshire. You can follow her adventures travelling with her small daughters at girlabout.cheshire
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