Itinerary Planner

On the Trail of ... Cheshire's Cheese

On the Trail of ... Cheshire's Cheese

Cheshire is home to the country’s oldest named cheese, in fact, it was first recorded in Roman times. And Cheshire cheese has been one of our favourites since the reign of Elizabeth I – irresistibly crumbly, creamy and salty. But these days Cheshire isn’t only known for the county’s signature cheese. Today’s local artisans draw on influences from around the globe. Take a tour to find out more.

Why is salt essential to cheese? It’s one of the questions that will be answered at “A Brine Romance: Salt and Food”, a new exhibition this autumn at Lion Salt Works near Northwich (20 October to January 2021). Find out why the mineral – of which this county has the country’s largest reserves – is crucial to the great taste of cheese at this fun and fascinating museum set in one of the world’s last inland open-pan salt works. Lion Salt Works, Ollershaw Lane, Marston, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 6ES (01606 275066, http://lionsaltworks.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk)

The Bourne family has been making cheese since 1750 using traditional techniques passed down over six generations. Oak smoked, cloth bound and even blue Cheshire are among the types crafted by hand at HS Bourne near Malpas from milk from the farm’s herd of Friesians. Stock up on Bourne cheeses at local farmers’ markets in Nantwich, Tarporley, Knutsford, Sandbach, Macclesfield and Rode Hall. You can even can book to see how the cheese is made at the Bourne’s dairy, although visits are currently suspended because of the pandemic. HS Bourne, The Bank, Malpas, Cheshire SY14 7AL (01948 770214, www.hsbourne.co.uk).

It’s only fitting that one of Chester’s best-loved independent shops is dedicated to selling cheese. The Cheese Shop was founded more than 30 years ago by Carole Faulkner, a farmer’s daughter and former cheesemaker who focuses on British cheeses from small-scale producers that she personally visits. These specially selected cheeses are carefully stored in the cellar of this small shop close to the city wall, ensuring a constant supply of delectable offerings are available to buy. The Cheese Shop, 116 Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HT (01244 346240).

Churns, vats, curd mills and cheese presses are among artefacts that offer a visual guide to centuries of local cheese-making at the Cheese Room in Nantwich Museum. What gives the cheese its salty tang, is it through salting or due to the brine springs beneath the local pastures grazed by cows? This is the place to find out the answers to these questions and more. Nantwich Museum, Pillory Street, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 5BQ (01270 627104, www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk).

We’re so dedicated to the art of making cheese in Cheshire, we’re home to one of Britain’s leading institutions for teaching all things dairy. The next generation of cheesemakers learn their craft at Reaseheath College near Nantwich and the industry also comes here to keep knowledge and skills updated. But you don’t have to be a full-time student or corporate player to go deeper into the science because budding cheesemakers can sign up for short courses, too. Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 6DF (01270 625131, www.reaseheath.ac.uk).

Please check websites for the latest on opening times, access and Covid-19 safety measures.

Product Information

  1. Lion Salt Works

    Northwich

    Cheshire’s salt – the precious mineral on which this county sits – has been prized since Roman times.

    Add Lion Salt Works to your Itinerary

    It’s a story brilliantly told at the Lion Salt Works, one of the last open-pan sites in the world, an intriguing warren of stove, boiler and pan houses renovated to reveal how salt was extracted from the underground brine lakes and transformed into a coveted commodity. Immerse yourself in the high-tech wizardry of Salt Pan 3, which recreates the steamy and dangerous conditions where bare-chested men toiled over great vats of the boiling brine. Stand at the bar in the old Red Lion pub, where the workers were once served refreshing pints of beer with a replenishing pinch of salt. Spot the worker’s boots encrusted with salt crystals and the sardine tins that, curiously, wages were paid in. Then step out on the towpath of the Trent & Mersey Canal, where salt was once hauled to Liverpool’s docks, the gateway to the world.

    Contact Details:

    Ollershaw Lane, Marston, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6ES

    Tel:

    01606 275066

    Website

    Web Site

  2. H. S. Bourne

    Malpas

    The Bourne family has been hand-making fine Cheshire cheese since 1930. Unlike many other cheese makers who use industrial production methods, we still use traditional 'hands on' techniques to produce cheeses which have been awarded gold, silver and bronze medals at the British Cheese Awards, prizes at the Nantwich International Cheese Show and Gold and Silver Medals at the World Cheese Awards.

    Add H. S. Bourne to your Itinerary

    The Bourne family has been hand-making fine Cheshire cheese since 1930. Unlike many other cheese makers who use industrial production methods, we still use traditional 'hands on' techniques to produce cheeses which have been awarded gold, silver and bronze medals at the British Cheese Awards, prizes at the Nantwich International Cheese Show and Gold and Silver Medals at the World Cheese Awards.

    Contact Details:

    H S Bourne, The Bank, Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 7AL

    Tel:

    +44 (0)1948 770214

    Website

    Web Site

  3. Nantwich Museum

    Nantwich

    In light of the current government advice in relation to the Coronavirus, Nantwich Museum have taken the difficult decision to close until further notice.

    Add Nantwich Museum to your Itinerary

    See our Cheese Room
    Nantwich Museum
    Nantwich Museum
    Visit our Museum shop before you leave
    Learn about Nantwich's industries
    See our Cheese Room
    Nantwich Museum
    Nantwich Museum
    Visit our Museum shop before you leave
    Learn about Nantwich's industries

    Visitors must book their visit by telephoning the Museum on 01270 627104 when they will also be advised of any specific requirements.

    The temporary exhibition, “Personal Voices” by the Breakaway Textile Group, which started just before lockdown, will remain in place until the end of the year.

    The fascinating history of one of Cheshire's most attractive and historic towns is brought to life by Nantwich Museum, founded in January 1980. (The building was formerly Nantwich Public Library which stood on the site of the town's jail). Located in Pillory Street, at the heart of the town, the museum has main galleries telling the story of Nantwich through the ages including Roman salt making, Tudor Nantwich's Great Fire, the Civil War Battle of Nantwich (1644) and the more recent shoe and clothing industries. Beyond the galleries lie extensions. The first contains the cheese-making exhibition, dedicated to demonstrating how the county's famous cheese has traditionally been made and sold around the floral market town of Nantwich. Above it is the Joseph Heler meeting room, which also houses our collection of maps. Next to these is the Community Gallery, where small exhibitions are staged, followed by the magnificent, prize-winning, Millennium Gallery, which provides the perfect home for a diverse programme of temporary exhibitions. With facilities available to local community groups, Nantwich Museum is a vibrant hub of local interest. Enter through the door of Nantwich's former Victorian Jubilee library and discover our exciting museum for yourself. The museum does not make a charge for admission, although donations are always welcome. The opening hours are: Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30am to 4.30pm.

    Contact Details:

    Pillory Street, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 5BQ

    Tel:

    01270 627104

    Website

    Web Site

  4. The Cheese Shop

    Chester

    Visit us online or in person to see our great range of cheeses. With a wide selection of ewes, goats, vegetarian and unpastuerised cheeses - you won't know where to begin!

    The Cheese Shop. Photo Credit: The Cheese Shop

    Visit us online or in person to see our great range of cheeses. With a wide selection of ewes, goats, vegetarian and unpastuerised cheeses - you won't know where to begin!

    Contact Details:

    116 Northgate Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2HT

    Tel:

    01244 346240
  5. Reaseheath College

    Nantwich

    Reaseheath College is one of the UK’s leading specialist land-based colleges based in Nantwich, Cheshire. We offer a range of full-time diplomas, apprenticeships and degrees, ideal for those looking for an exciting career in the land-based industries.

    Reaseheath College. Photo Credit: Reaseheath College

    Reaseheath College is one of the UK’s leading specialist land-based colleges based in Nantwich, Cheshire. We offer a range of full-time diplomas, apprenticeships and degrees, ideal for those looking for an exciting career in the land-based industries.

    Contact Details:

    Reaseheath, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 6DF

    Tel:

    01270 625131

    Website

    Web Site

Itinerary Distances

FromToDistance * (metric)
Lion Salt Works (53.2752,-2.49549)H. S. Bourne (53.00808,-2.8332)33.59
H. S. Bourne (53.00808,-2.8332)Nantwich Museum (53.06569,-2.52079)19.69
Total Distance *53.27 miles
Estimated Journey Time1.71 hours

* Approximate distance by road

Visit Chester and Cheshire

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss