Cheshire is a county rich in cultural significance, with many of its ancient towns and landscapes strewn with impressive historic buildings calling to be explored. The medieval Beeston Castle, and the opulent moated Little Moreton Hall, are but a few examples of early architecture dating back to the 15th century.
Britain is famed for its boundless rolling countryside too, and Cheshire is no exception, providing endless miles of trails, such as the iconic 34 mile Sandstone Trail, perfect for long romantic walks through this fairytale landscape. Though many of Cheshire’s attractions don’t come free, here are 11 date ideas that do.
1. Hang out in Happy Valley
Residents of Bollington refer to their hometown as Happy Valley. From a nondescript backwater to a vibrant mill town, a trip to the Discovery Centre tells its story, and even provides a free Majestic Mills trail guide for you to go off and explore the old cotton mills, canals and cobbled streets. Surely a date can’t fail in Happy Valley?
2. Create your own Watergate scandal
Impressive works by the likes of Jack Vettriano, Bernhard Vogel, and Kerry Darlington might ignite a whirlwind romance on a date to the Watergate Street Gallery. With such vibrant pieces at every turn, it’s easy to see why anyone can be seduced by art.
3. Walk Chester’s medieval city walls
There’s arguably no better way to appreciate a land than from above. Without taking to the skies, view historic Chester from on top of its medieval city walls. Dating back to AD 120, this mixture of Victorian and Roman architecture are the only complete city walls in the UK. Built to defend Chester from numerous enemies, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Roman foot patrols and archers. Will cupid strike?
4. Warm your heart in Port Sunlight
Recognised as one of Europe’s finest art galleries, Lady Lever in Port Sunlight houses Britain’s best collection of decorative and fine art. Stunning exhibitions featured throughout the year compliment the 18th and 19th century displays of Chinese porcelain, and Wedgewood jasperware unrivalled anywhere in the world. Its founder, William Hesketh Lever, dedicated the gallery in memory of his wife. Much of the works come from his own private collection. If this doesn’t warm your date’s heart, find another.
5. Spot red squirrels on an ornamental lawn
Walton Hall Gardens span 30 acres of a managed estate in Warrington. Mature trees, ornamental lawns and formal gardens provide an excellent habitat for Walton Hall’s red squirrel breeding program. Bring cucumber sandwiches and Pimm’s for a quintessential British afternoon picnic.
6. Visit one of the UK’s oldest museums
Opened in 1857, the Warrington Museum & Art Gallery was one of the first museums in Britain. With over 200,000 fascinating things to look at, including Warrington’s own dinosaur, you can’t go wrong by taking your date here. Free admission is almost unheard of in an establishment like this. Recent features include works by Banksy and Tracy Emin.
7. Watch boats from a bandstand
8. Exotic species to set your passions on fire
A date to Ness Botanical Gardens is a treat for both newbie and seasoned botanists. Arthur Kilpin Bulley created the gardens in 1898. Sponsoring global expeditions to bring new plant species back to the UK, he developed one of the most significant botanical gardens in the country. Each corner of Ness is a delight guaranteed to ignite your passions.
9. A romantic walk down a Victorian railroad
Although remnants of the old railway line are scarce, the Chester-to-Birkenhead line offers miles of trails through what is now known as the Wirral Country Park. Cosy up in a bird hide and dare to steal a kiss. Take advantage of the on-site BBQ area and show off your culinary skills.
10. Romance at Thor’s Stone
Designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the nature reserve at Thurstaston common is spread over an impressive 250 acres. It is also a place of legends and myths. Here is the home of Thor’s Stone. Combining Viking folklore and the natural world makes for a fascinating day out and a memorable date.
11. Pet pigs at an urban farm
How do you think your date will react to a farmyard full of animals? The Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm surrounds a historic cottage where you can expect to see anything from a bee to a baby guinea fowl flying through the air, plus all the usual suspects, such as goats, ponies, sheep and cows. They say animals are a great judge of character, what do you think?
Image Source: Bollington via happy-valley.org.uk; The Watergate Street Gallery via cutthecap.wordpress.com; Chester City Walls via philandgarth.com; Lady Liver Art Gallery via liverpoolmuseums.org.uk; Walton Hall Gardens via warrington.gov.uk; Warrington Art Gallery via warringtonartsfestival.co.uk; River Dee via visitchester.com; Ness Botanical Gardens via nessgardens.org.uk; Wirral Country Park via clickar.co.uk; Thurstaston Common via gerryco23.wordpress.com; Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm via tamoshanterfarm.org.uk
Featured photo credit: Humphrey Muleba via unsplash.com