In Cheshire

Chester, 14 July 2020: Cheshire’s visitor attractions are reopening their doors following further easing of the lockdown. Tatton Park, Beeston Castle and Blue Planet Aquarium are among the big names finding safe and secure ways to welcome back visitors, and the county is being treated to a drive-in cinema for these ‘new normal’ times. Here are 10 of the latest attractions to open, with more ideas to discover available at


The opulent interiors at Lyme are once again available to view – the magnificent Palladian mansion (pictured, centre left) is one of just seven National Trust houses reopening to the public this week as part of a pilot scheme. The Grade I-listed property, owned by the Leghs for 600 years, also features formal gardens graced with ponds and ornaments and vast parkland where deer roam in the shadow of the hilltop stone tower, the Cage.

Moonlight Drive

Each summer, open-air cinema comes to Chester’s Roman Gardens. For 2020, Storyhouse, in partnership with Chester Race Company, is also introducing a drive-in cinema experience, Moonlight Drive, at locations around the city. Wood-fired pizzas are among the snacks cinemagoers can pre-order to enjoy in the comfort of their own front seat, while watching classic films on a huge 30ft screen. Top of the bill? Grease, of course.

Blue Planet Aquarium

Once again it’s possible to come face to fin with Sandtiger and Blacktip sharks at Blue Planet Aquarium (pictured, far left) in Ellesmere Port, which reopened on 4 July. While the daring can book a shark dive, others might judge the Underwater Shark Tunnel a close enough encounter with the fearsome (if much-maligned) fish – the aquarium has one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks.

Tatton Park

With its medieval hall and Georgian mansion, Tatton Park in Knutsford is one of Cheshire’s premier historic houses and, since early June, it has been welcoming visitors back through its gates. First, walkers and cyclists were allowed to roam the vast parkland, then kids were let loose in the adventure playground, and now pre-booked visits to the gardens and farm have been made possible. From tomorrow, 15 July, the mansion will reopen, too.

Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

Derek Dick’s exhibition ‘Undivinable’, which pays tribute to the heroic efforts of NHS staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, is an apt show for the reopening of Warrington Museum & Art Gallery this month. Also on display, a photographic exploration of Warrington’s urban environment, ‘Not All Who Wander Are Lost’, by Creative Remedies, and ’10,000 Steps’, a look at the experience of walking through the landscapes of Great Sankey and Penketh as recorded on canvas by local artist Jan Newhouse.

Chester Zoo

Following a public campaign, Chester Zoo reopened in early June and has since been guaranteeing a fun and safe day out thanks to the ability to book slots and the presence of a new team to help maintain social distancing. Since 4 July, more of the zoo has been put within reach, including indoor animal habitats such as the Tropical Realm and Jaguar House (pictured, centre right). The Oakfield, the newly renovated pub in the former home of the zoo’s founder, George Mottershead, is now taking bookings for diners, too.

Beeston Castle

One of the first of English Heritage’s sites to reopen, Beeston Castle, near Tarporley, is well-placed to welcome back visitors, thanks to its open aspect. Timed tickets can be pre-booked to explore the ruins of the medieval fortress, which sits high on a crag overlooking the Cheshire plain. Visitors can also enjoy the woodland walk and views of the exterior of the recently recreated Roundhouse, a faithful reproduction of a dwelling from the Bronze Age.

Chester Boat

City cruises are now departing regularly from The Groves in Chester. Half-hour sailings along the River Dee – the first journey to be unveiled by Chester Boat – pass beneath the city’s graceful suspension bridge and past Grosvenor Park to the Meadows, where swans, cormorants and kingfishers are among the birdlife to spot. 

Arley Hall

The gardens at Arley Hall in Northwich are open once more. The home of Lord Ashbrook, whose ancestors have owned this splendid stately home for the past 500 years, Arley is renowned for its herbaceous borders – thought to be the first planted in England – and 14 towering columns of clipped holm oaks. There’s also a pleached lime avenue, formal walled garden, rose garden and woodland walk to explore.

Go Ape at Delamere

The zip wires are ready to ride again at Go Ape Delamere (pictured, far right). With social distancing rules and procedures for cleaning equipment in place, visitors seeking an adrenaline rush can scale the heights of this ancient forest canopy. Wobbly bridges and a zip line more than 200 metres in length are among the challenges to face.

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