Coast’s Choice: Cheshire

This week, Coast’s Choice arrives in Cheshire; home of Cheshire cheese, birthplace of athlete Paula Radcliffe and setting for Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks. Its county town, Chester, is a popular tourist attraction, while other notable towns include Macclesfield, Northwich, Runcorn, Warrington and Widnes.Here are Coast’s recommended places to visit in the county:

Catalyst science centre

Who says science can’t be fun? Catalyst’s action-packed museum demonstrates how chemistry shapes our everyday lives, the effect it’s had on our past and the role it will play in our future.

The journey begins on the ground floor at Scien-trific, an interactive gallery featuring over 30 hands-on exhibits that enable you to discover how chemicals are made and what they are used for. The next gallery, Birth of an Industry, charts the development of the chemical industry from ancient times until the 1940s.

Catalyst’s rooftop has been transformed into an observatory with stunning views over the Cheshire countryside. Here, visitors can build bridges, look down microscopes and browse the museum’s extensive photographic archive.

For those wanting to get involved in real scientific experiments, a visit to the Catalytic Discovery Lab brings access to activities including helping to solve crime mysteries, while the Alchemy Theatre features a 3D show with voting opportunities!

Catalyst is open Tuesday – Sunday at a cost of £4.95 for adults and £3.95 for children. Click here for more information.

Nearest caravan site: 6.4 miles

Chester Zoo

For a real family day out, look no further than Chester Zoo; an interactive animal experience featuring more than 400 two legged, four legged and many more legged species!

Among the areas to visit are the Realm of the Red Ape, Spirit of the Jaguar, Fruit Bat Forest, Tsavo Black Rhino Experience, Elephants of the Asian Forest and Butterfly Journey. Daily talks are held on the Zoo’s most popular animals, while you can take in the sights from different perspectives with a trip on the Waterbus or Zoofari monorail, or the new giant otters underwater viewing area.

Chester Zoo offers plenty of entertainment for your little monkeys too, courtesy of a climbing frame play area, wooden Noah’s Ark, miniature golf and face painting. Meanwhile, grown up visitors can wander round the site’s award-winning 110-acre gardens.

The Zoo is open daily with entry costing £16.30 for adults and £12.60 for children. Click here to visit the official website.
Nearest caravan site: 4.6 miles

Hack Green Nuclear Bunker

It’s hard to believe that this 35,000 sq ft underground nuclear bunker remained secret for more than 60 years. The former RAF base and bombing decoy site became part of a project following World War II to protect Britain against the threat of nuclear war. A semi-sunk bunker was created, fitted with a long-range radar to intercept any fast-approaching Russian bomber planes.

A total of 18 officers, 25 NCOs and 224 corporals and aircraftsman were stationed at Hack Green, with the site also becoming a joint civil and military air traffic control unit in the mid-1950s. It was closed in 1966 and lay dormant for many years until it was sold to a private company in 1992, opening as a Cold War museum in 1998.

Today, members of the public can explore this vast underground village and find out what the threat of nuclear warfare would have been like, learning about the government’s preparations for the Cold War and the lives of those who worked at Hack Green. Visitors can take part in a a ‘shelter experience’ that mimics the effects of a nuclear blast, purchase survival rations from the bunker bistro or take home some historical souvenirs from the Cold War shop.

Entry to Hack Green nuclear bunker costs £6.80 for adults and £4.90 for children. The site is open daily from March – October and at weekends during the winter. Click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 4.7 miles

Lyme Park House and Garden


Constructed in Tudor times, this lavish Elizabethan stately home was transformed by Leoni, a Venetian architect, into an Italian-inspired manor in the 1720s, before British architect Lewis Wyatt made further revisions in the 19th century.

Visitors to this spectacular building can enjoy a close look at its lavish interiors, featuring state rooms decorated with Mortlake tapestries, a unique English clock collection and Grinling Gibbons woodcarvings. A visit to the library will also reveal the Lyme Caxton Missal, an early printed book published by William Caxton, containing the liturgy of the mass according to the Sarum Rite.
Lyme Park’s formal gardens are equally impressive – the 17 acre expanse includes a reflection lake, sunken Dutch garden and 19th century Orangery.

Both the house and gardens are open all year round, with admission priced at £9.90 for adults and £4.95 for children. Entry to the gardens is free of charge, visit the website for further information.

Nearest caravan site: 5. 8 miles

Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse

Formerly known as the Salt Museum, Northwich’s Weaver Hall brings to life Cheshire’s industrial history. Through artefacts, films and actor reconstructions, the museum portrays the birth of major manufacturing, the development of Cheshire’s famous salt industry and working life in Victorian Cheshire.

The museum is housed within a building once used as a workhouse for child labourers, and a dedicated display details the harsh work routine, poor living conditions and scant diet that they endured. 

In addition to permanent exhibitions, Weaver Hall holds regular events, talks and workshops on history, culture and craft relating to the local area. It also hosts activities aimed at children during the school holidays.

The museum is open weekdays from 10am – 4pm and during the afternoon at weekends. Tickets cost £2.50 for adults and £1.30 for children. Visit the website for further details. 

Nearest caravan site: 1.8 miles

If you’re travelling to Cheshire or any other UK or European destination this summer, make sure you protect your caravan with dedicated touring caravan insurance. Coast can offer you a competitive quote by calling Freephone 0800 614 849 or click here for an instant online quotation.