10 autumn family activities in Cheshire

Part of the Chester railway path, cycle on National Route 5 from Chester to Connah's Quay (credit: A

Part of the Chester railway path, cycle on National Route 5 from Chester to Connah's Quay (credit: Alex Allen) - Credit: Alex Allen/Sustrans

If you’re looking for things to do over the autumn half term, then these are ideal – and some of them are free

Discover the great outdoors

Bird watching in Alderley Edge

A wonderful variety of woodland birds can be found in Alderley Edge’s countryside. Perfect for all visitors with a wildlife interest; look out for the flycatcher, redstart and great spotted woodpeckers, among others. If you’re lucky you may hear or even see a tawny owl. While you are there, walk the dramatic red sandstone escarpment which has views over the Cheshire Plain to the Peak District.

Alderley Edge, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/alderley-edge-and-cheshire-countryside


Walk somewhere a bit different

Hilbre Island

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The Hilbre Islands Local Nature Reserve is surrounded by the tide for up to six hours, twice a day, so it’s important to find out crucial tide information for a safe crossing. Starting in West Kirby you will walk toward Little Eye, before passing Little Hilbre and then reaching Hilbre Island. Due to changeable conditions, this walk is better for families with teenagers.

West Kirby, www.deeestuary.co.uk/hilbre


See the sights on two wheels

Chester Railway Path

An ideal activity for the whole family, this route is an undemanding ride that follows the former Mickle Trafford to Dee Marsh railway line from Connah’s Quay into the centre of Chester. Take in rich farmlands as well as historic Roman sites in the city centre. The traffic-free route also has the option to cycle/walk one way and return by train with a railway station at either end.

Chester, www.sustrans.org.uk


Explore the mini maize trail

Backford Bells

Family-run Backford Bells has plenty of things to do to entertain the children for a few hours. In the autumn months they open their free mini maize trail, and there’s also a play area, ice cream parlour and calves, hens and alpacas to see.

Backford, www.backfordbelles.com


Have fun on the farm

Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm

A great opportunity for children of all ages to meet and learn about farm animals up close, a visit to the Tam O’Shanter historic cottage and free urban farm is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Run by a charitable trust with the aim of providing an enjoyable and educational experience for kids and adults alike, it’s open every day except Christmas. Visit to see a variety of farm animals including pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and geese.

Bidston Hill, www.tamoshanterfarm.org.uk


Cathedral of the Canals

Anderton Boat Lift

Back in 1875, it was responsible for lifting narrowboats and barges straight up the 50-foot difference in height between the two water levels of the River Weaver and Trent and Mersey Canal. Today, its lower level houses a free interactive exhibition that looks at the lift’s history and the people who worked on and around it. There is also a daily schedule for the glass sided boat, The Edwin Clark, on which for a fee you can enjoy a 90 minute combined lift and river cruise, and see the lift in action.

Northwich, www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/anderton-boat-lift


Step back in time

Grosvenor Museum

The Grosvenor Museum’s two floors of collections explore the history of Chester, its art and silver heritage and natural history. Children and adults will enjoy finding out about life during the Roman military occupation, and make sure to take a visit to Period House at Number 20 Castle Street, where you will find rooms from the 17th century to the 1920s. A year round programme of special exhibitions and events means there’s always something to see and do.

Chester, www.grosvenormuseum.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk


Grab your walking boots

Sandstone Trail

Stretching for 34 miles, the Sandstone Trail offers a wealth of things to do for all. It links the towns of Frodsham and Whitchurch, which means as well as walking across beautiful, unbroken and often elevated countryside, you can also enjoy some of the excellent attractions and activities available in each town. Children will love exploring the medieval Beeston Castle and its exhibition, and adults can enjoy a few refreshments in the various pubs along the way, which include The Pheasant Inn, Higher Burwardsley.

Various Cheshire locations, www.sandstonetrail.com


Pet the animals

Glebe Farm

Glebe Farm offers something for everyone. Adults will enjoy stocking up on home grown and local produce in Glebe Farm Shop, enjoying a coffee and tasty treat in the café or strolling through the courtyards filled with independent shops and studios that sell a variety of handmade, bespoke and vintage furniture and accessories. For the children, the farm continues to expand and recent additions include a children’s petting area, playground and tractor rides.

Congleton, www.glebefarmastbury.co.uk


Become a Gruffalo spotter

Delamere Forest

A shady oasis, Delamere Forest is a great space for running, cycling and exploring with the family. For younger visitors, or big kids, why not download The Gruffalo Spotter app before visiting and along the trail you can look out for clues. These lead to footprint marker posts, where you point the app and see your favourite fictional characters appear.

Near Frodsham, www.forestry.gov.uk/delamere