England - Cheshire

Cheshire is a lovely area of central England to the west of Derbyshire, east of Wales and south of Liverpool and Manchester with typical English farms and countryside.

Train Viaduct Near Jodrel Bank

Things to See

Anderton Boat Lift

Anderton Boat Lift - From the Side Anderton Boat Lift - From Below

Located in the town of Anderton, just north of Northwich, the Anderton Boat Lift (see for details) which is a marvel of Victorian engineering that has recently been refurbished to working order. It was built in 1875 to allow boats to travel between the River Weaver and Trent and Mersey Canal, a vertical distance of 50 feet (15.2 meters).

Lift Control Room

There is a small café, museum (including, oddly, an assortment of early penny arcade games as well as the lift control room) and children's playground on site which are all free to visit. You can also book a boat trip (at nominal cost) that takes in the short trip down the former River Weaver to Northwich with remnants of former industry as well as a ride on the lift itself.

NorthWich River Weaver Shoreline

Tours are held throughout the day and can be booked either starting with the lift itself (you catch the boat outside of the café on the upper level of the lift) or with the river trip (you catch the boat at the bottom of the lift).

Top of Lift

Beeston Castle and Woodland Park

Beeston Castle from Below

Midway between Nantwich and Chester is Beeston Castle and Woodland Park (signposted off the A49) operated by the National Trust. This stunning medieval castle is perched on top of a tall outcrop of rock overlooking the (somewhat flat) surrounding Cheshire landscape. The wonderful castle grounds, crossed throughout with paths, are surrounded by a wall with the castle at the uppermost part.

Main Entrance

There is a small “pay and display” car park opposite the main entrance. There is a small café operated by the trust beside the main entrance while inside the grounds (yes, there is an admission charge) there is a small visitor centre and gift shop as well as toilets.

Path Walls

To get to the castle you follow a steep gravel path to the lower walls of the castle then continue up through the inner gardens to reach the keep itself which is, of course, at the top of the hill.

Bridge into Castle Castle from Grounds Below Castle guardroom

The grounds also have a recreation of an ancient “roundhouse” in the woods that it is worth seeking out.

Beeston Roundhouse

The castle is a ruins but enough of the walls and buildings remain to give you a good idea of what it was like. The views from the top are amazing and well worth the walk.

View from Castle Keep

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre

Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank

A short distance to the west of Macclesfield, Jodrell Bank is home to a number of radio telescopes and has been instrumental in many discoveries of astrophysical phenomenon. The site welcomes visitors with a number of exhibits and walks throughout the rural site. Entry tickets are valid for one year and are not terribly expensive. Pre-booking is definitely recommended.

Main Entrance From the Jodrell Town

You can visit the centre which has a number of family-friendly exhibits including the wonderful new “First Light Pavilion” which houses an exhibition on how and why the facility was created (they have dramatically used some large old panels from the telescope as projection surfaces), a “Space Dome” cinema/planetarium, as well as other temporary exhibits and a large cafe. The “Space Dome” hosts films/events throughout the day so check the schedule when you visit (some are free some you must pay for).

First Light Pavilion Inside the First Light Pavilion Exhibition

Most will want to see the massive “Lovell Telescope” at the far end of the site. Here you can get very close and, if you are lucky, see the telescope rotate before your eyes as it changes it's focus on another part of the sky.

Near to the telescope there is the “Space Pavilion” which houses both temporary exhibits and interactive displays for younger visitors. As you exit the site there is the obligatory (small) gift shop which has a small café attached as well.

Lovell Telescope

Further Information

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