Cheshire serves up an idyllic slice of Merry Old England, its calm countryside dotted with stately homes, romantic ruins and historic market towns.
Situated in a quiet corner in the north west of England, between the county of Derbyshire and England’s west coast, Cheshire’s gentle, rolling countryside and patchwork of villages and fields is a picture of perfect calm. Don’t be fooled by its composed exterior though; this genteel county has much more to offer besides its rural charm.
Dramatic landscapes, fascinating history, wonderful heritage, world class events… Cheshire has it all and then some. It’s also the perfect base to visit the rest of the country, close to Liverpool and Manchester, and just 2 hours by train from London.
Cheshire’s Peak District area is its rural heart, covering 100 square miles of the Peak District National Park. Explore this great outdoors on two wheels, two feet or even on horseback, taking in the beautiful scenery and wildlife. Those with strong legs can trek through ancient woodlands to the top of Mow Cop ridge for dramatic castle ruins, or soak up the views from The Cloud, a prominent 343 metre-high (1,125 feet) hill overlooking the Cheshire Plain.
Fancy travelling by boat? The Cheshire Ring is a 97-mile (156 km) circular route through five canals and 92 historic locks (count them!). Float along its relaxing waterways, past quaint villages and welcoming country pubs. Keep your eyes peeled near Northwich, where you’ll encounter the awe-inspiring Anderton Lift. Built in 1875 by the civil engineer Edwin Clark, this three-storey iron giant hoists cargo boats from the River Weaver up to the Trent & Mersey Canal.
Cheshire has a grown-up, cosmopolitan side too. The jewel in its county crown is the Roman city of Chester, home to the UK’s most complete medieval city walls, the ruins of a Roman Amphitheatre, a magnificent cathedral, the oldest racecourse in Britain and the iconic Eastgate Clock built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Cheshire is also home to some of England’s finest stately homes and gardens, including Arley Hall and Gardens, Capesthorne Hall, Little Moreton Hall, Lyme Park and Tatton Park. And there’s new money too; Cheshire’s ‘Golden Triangle’ is a honey pot for millionaires, who are often seen living the high life in and around exclusive villages like Alderley Edge – known as ‘Britain’s Champagne Capital’ – and the leafy town of Wilmslow.
There’s plenty of time to treat yourself. Cheshire’s pretty villages and market towns, and the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet – the UK’s largest designer outlet – are perfect for indulging in some retail therapy. Or you can head to Chester’s famous Rows, an amazing set of two-tiered medieval galleries that are now home to an eclectic array of designer boutiques, restaurants and tearooms.
Craving a taste of Cheshire’s delicious produce? Savour traditional pub grub and local ales at Chester’s Bear & Billett, which dates from 1664 and is the city’s oldest timber-framed building. And, of course, you have to sample Cheshire’s signature food, the crumbly Cheshire Cheese. Look out for regular tastings in one of the many cheese shops or book yourself in for an indulgent evening of cheese and wine.