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Exploring Chester With the Kids

Disclosure - This post contains affiliate links. 

The best days out we have had as a family are the ones we didn't expect to have. With the various restrictions in place we have been very limited to places we can visit however I feel it has opened our eyes to what we have closer to home that we may have missed if the restrictions were not in place. We love being out and about planning days out as a family so we recently visited Chester and realised that there is so much more to do there than we had realised. Although we went with an idea of what we were going to do, we ended up doing so much more. Here is our guide to exploring Chester With The Kids. 

Chester Town Hall

Chester City Walls

Chester City Walls
Elevated above the city you can take in the views of Chester as you walk along the city walls. Standing for almost 2,000 years the defensive walls are the oldest and longest in the UK. You can't miss the walls and they are easily accessible from 4 main gates, Northgate, Eastgate, Watergate and Bridgegate. There are opportunities to join from other points along the way including steps and accessible ramps. 

Chester City Walls

The route is free of charge and is approximately 2 miles long. The duration will depend on your speed and also whether you stop to look at the beautiful views of the city, the river, the cathedral and other places of interest.

The Roman Gardens

The Roman Gardens

The Roman Gardens

The Roman Gardens can be spotted from the City Walls Walk or if heading down towards the river from the city centre. The gardens feature lots of pieces of important buildings and baths. As well as the history to see and read, the gardens themselves are well maintained with beautiful lawns and cherry blossom trees.

The Roman Gardens

There are benches around the gardens which slope down to the river. Perfect for stopping for a picnic lunch, a break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre close by or just to sit and enjoy the views. 

There are steps leading down to the river but also an accessible winding path. 

Cruise on the River Dee

Cruise On The River Dee
There is a buzz in the air as you arrive at the banks of the River Dee. The Chester Boat River Cruise offers sailings throughout the day on the Dee so you can enjoy the views from the river. The half hour cruises sail from 11am-5pm each day with ticket available to book at a discounted rate online or at the quayside.

views from the River Dee

Prices start from Adult £7, Children £2.50. Concession, family, disabled and disabled carer rates are available and children under 5 go free. 

man and boy on motor boat

Drive A Motor Boat
If you want something a little different , just next to the Chester Boat River Cruise you can hire a motor boat. The motor boat is easy to use and would comfortably fit a group of 4 or 5. 

views from the river dee

It's a lovely way to travel along the Dee, looking at the views on both sides of the river.

To hire a motor boat it is £25 plus a £20 deposit for 30 minutes. If paying by card they take £45 and return your deposit in cash.

Boy eating an ice cream

Enjoy An Ice Cream On The River Bank
Alongside the River Dee there are plenty of ice cream kiosks selling various ice cream treats and snacks. Just opposite the Chester Boat you can purchase a Cheshire Farm Ice Cream cone. We recently visited the Ice Cream Farm and loved all the flavours to choose from. The kiosk on the River Dee has lots of flavours to choose from too so you will be sure to find one you like.

Eastgate Clock in Chester

Eastgate Clock in Chester

Take A Photo Under The Eastgate Clock
The Eastgate Clock stands at the original entrance to the Roman Fortress. It towers over the city centre shopping area and is also part of the City Walls walk. It is a precious landmark within the city of Chester and is rumoured to be the most photographed clock in the UK after Big Ben.

Chester Cathedral

Visit Chester Cathedral
The Chester Cathedral is a church of England cathedral and is located in the heart of Chester. As well as being a beautiful Grade 1 building to admire and explore it opens its doors throughout the year to host special events.

Between May 17th - July 1st you can enjoy a free exhibition of the very popular children's book The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr. The exhibition is family friendly and includes a life-size model of the Tiger.

Boy holding a treasure map

Treasure Map Trails
Chester is full of history and things to see so what better way to explore than with a Treasure Map Trail. Choose a city local to you and your map will be delivered to you first class, then you are ready to go on a treasure trail. 

Chester has two maps to choose from or you could do both. They are bright, colourful, easy to read with road names and buildings illustrated on the map and are ideal for children aged between 5-12. 

boy climbing an elephant statue

The maps are a great way to encourage your children to look around the city trying to solve the clues and find all the different statues, signs and other treasures. 

Each map costs £5.99 each or you can purchase more of the same maps if you have more than 1 child starting at £8.99 for two copies of the same map. 

We are part of the Treasure Map Trails affiliate scheme and can offer our readers a 10% discount if you use the code PLAYDAYSRUNWAYS or follow this link

Chester is a great city to explore and cane be reached by train, bus and car with ease. When planning your trip make sure you check out way you can save on your travel costs, it will give you more money to spend while you are there. 

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Comments - I love reading your opinions and thoughts - Have you visited Chester or planning a trip?  Leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought or what you have planned. 

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Where To Stay At The Alton Towers Resort

We have been visiting Alton Towers for as long as I can remember. In the past 15 years we have visited Alton Towers at least 3 times per year and have watched as it has grown in to the resort it is today. Originally Alton Towers was a day trip which you could enjoy with your family or friends but now it is more than that. It's a UK holiday resort with a theme park, a waterpark, mini golf and a wide range of accommodation to choose from and there are lots of reasons to stay over at the Alton Towers Resort. We have been lucky to stay in most of the resorts accommodation over the years and can tell you which hotel to stay in at the Alton towers Resort to suit your needs. 

    The alton towers hotel

    The Alton Towers Hotel

    The Alton Towers Hotel is the original hotel and usually our first choice when booking a stay. The hotel is themed around the explorer Sir Algenon who landed at Alton Towers and made this hotel his home. The hotel is beautifully decorated inside and has gorgeous gardens and features on the outside. 

    The hotel main entrance is on level two and consists of the reception area, a small shop selling gifts and snacks and a small Costa Coffee. Here you will be able to check in and out, book your restaurant reservations, find out information regarding opening times and predicted weather for the duration of your stay. You will find the entertainment board providing you with a schedule of the entertainment available that evening. 

    Rooms and Suites are located on every floor of the hotel. You can choose to take the lift or enjoy the views from the stunning staircase. 

    Level 1 has the arcade and toilets. The arcade at the Alton Towers Hotel is only small however there is a larger arcade in the adjacent hotel Splash Landing

    On the ground floor you have the Dragons Bar, The Secret Restaurant and Atrium which provides evening entertainment for all the family. 

    While at the resort you can also enjoy a visit to the Spa which is located in the Alton Towers Hotel.

    The Rooms
    There are a wide variety of rooms and suites to meet your needs and budget with each room type having a different theme. 

    The Explorer Room - This is your standard room at the Alton Towers hotel. It consists of a double bed and usually a set of bunkbeds. The theme is based on Sir Algenon's travels and are decorated with maps, compasses and flying boats. 

    We have stayed in the Explorer Room many times and it has everything you need for an overnight stay for up to a family of four.

    The Moon Voyage Room - This room is themed around Sir Algenon's visit to the moon and is space themed. The room is very similar to the Explorer Room except the children have their own area to sleep, watch tv or play XBOX. 

    We have also stayed in a Moon Voyage Room and the children's separate area was a hit with the boys especially as it is equipped with a TV and XBOX. These rooms are great for families who need a little extra space and entertainment in the room. 

    Artic Explorer Room at Alton Towers

    The Artic Explorer Room - This is usually our first choice when it comes to booking a room at the hotel. The Artic Explorer room is based on Sir Algenon's travels to the artic and has a snow themed decor. 

    We have found that there is more floor space in these rooms and they are usually located on a the main entrance floor. The room has a double bed, a single bed and a truckle bed which is pulled out from under the single. We prefer this room setup than those with bunk beds.

    These are the main three room types within the hotel however you can choose to book a suite especially if it is a special occasion. There are a number of suites available all with a different theme including The Chocolate Room, The Smiler Room and The Coca Cola Room. 

    The Coca Cola Room

    The Coca Cola Room

    Suites - We have only stayed in the Coca Cola Suite so can't comment on the others however we absolutely loved the room and it was the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. 

    The Coca Cola room is themed around the brand and features a double bed, a set of bunk beds and a pull out double sofa bed so can comfortably sleep six. As the room is a suite you can expect lots of floor space and special features such as a fridge full of complimentary Coca Cola and a game console in the room. You will also be treated with celebration balloons and chocolates on arrival. 

    The room and extras are a lovely treat to head back to after a day in the theme park however the rooms are costly an we would probably only stay in a suite for a very special occasion as you don't really get much time in your room as you are so busy enjoying the resort. 

    Why Stay At The Alton Towers Hotel?
    The Alton Towers Hotel is the perfect base for you to explore the resort. It's the original hotel and unlike other accommodation around the resort this hotel actually feels like a hotel with its gorgeous decor, beautiful features and ambience. 

    The Secret Garden restaurant is the ideal place to enjoy an evening meal or breakfast with some tables having views over the beautiful gardens towards the back. 

    There are more room choices within the hotel to suit all needs and budgets. We also find the rooms to be bigger than Splash Landings Hotel.

    If you do want to explore what Splash Landing hotel has to offer you can always take the indoor walkway which connects the two hotels. 

    Outside the Splash Landing Hotel

    Splash Landing Hotel

    The Splash Landing hotel is themed around the Caribbean. Everything about the hotel from the fixtures, furnishing, restaurant and rooms have a calypso feel and is ideal for those who would like a hotel stay to remember. 

    As soon as you enter the hotel on level two you feel like you have just stepped on to a Caribbean island. As well as the reception, small shop selling snacks and gifts on this level you will find Ma Garrita's Bar. Ma Garrita's serves delicious cocktails as well as beers and soft drinks with a tropical themed terrace or windows overlooking the waterpark. It is also home to the Calypso Crew kids club who provide entertainment throughout the day and evening for the kids staying at any of the resort accommodation.

    On level one you will find toilets, a large arcade and Flambo's restaurant. Here you will enjoy your breakfast or if you are staying for an evening meal they serve grills, burgers, salads and a kids menu all in a tropical surrounding with some tables overlooking the waterpark below. 

    On the ground level you will find The Waterpark. The Waterpark is an indoors Waterpark with an outside area too. It boasts a Master Blaster Coaster and Lazy River and has a Bubbly Wubbly pool and flumes outside. Make a splash in Lagoona Bay, head to the interactive Wacky Waterworks or little ones can paddle and play in Little Leak.

    The Rooms
    Splash Landings Hotel offers the choice of three rooms to suit your requirements and budget. 

    Beachcomber Room - This room is a standard room that lives up to your Caribbean expectations. Brightly coloured bedding, pineapple shaped lamp and sand and water patterned carpet. 

    Rooms sleep up to 4 and consist of a double bed and a set of bunk beds. Cots are available on request. 

    When staying at Splash Landings this is the hotel room we choose every time. It's comfortable and always clean.

    Pirate Room - Inspired by Mutiny Bay, the pirate room is a must for little adventurers. You will be staying in the Captains Quarters filled with Pirate themed decor and hidden treasures. Can you crack the code to unlock them?

    The Pirate Room is spacious offering room for up to 6 people. The children can enjoy the XBOX console that is available in the room and also a mini fridge filled with complimentary water. 

    Ice Age Room - Despite Ice Age being removed from the theme park years ago Splash Landings hotel still offers an Ice Age Themed room for fans of the movies. 

    Designed and themed around the Ice Age you can cosy up under fur blankets in your own artic den with ice berg walls.

    Each room sleeps up to 6 people with an XBOX console and Ice Age Game and a mini fridge filled with complimentary water. 

    Why Stay At The Splash Landing Hotel?
    Splash Landing is perfect for guests who want to be submerged in to the Caribbean theme and feel like they are actually on a tropical island once inside. The temperature is always warmer in this hotel so you usually find guests walking round in shorts and flip flops even during the colder months. 

    The entertainment has always been more child friendly at Splash Landing with games and fun throughout the evening shows. We also prefer the larger arcade in this hotel too. 

    Although all guests can access The Waterpark, it is just down a few steps once you have finished breakfast or before checking in. 

    It is also closer to the Monorail which takes you to the theme park.

    The CBeebies Land Hotel

    CBeebies Hotel

    CBeebies Land Hotel 

    Even though we are regulars to the resort and staying over throughout the year we have never stayed at the CBeebies Land Hotel. It's aimed at littler ones and the boys were too old when it opened. We have however visited inside and looked around and it would be the perfect choice for CBeebies fans. 

    When the hotel was designed and built they definitely had children in mind so you can expect bright colours, CBeebies theme running throughout the whole hotel, interactive features and entertainment exclusive to hotel guests. 

    The Windmill Restaurant has lots of yummy food for the kids to enjoy including fish fingers, pasta dishes and burgers. 

    There is a gift shop inside selling lots of CBeebies merchandise. 

    Keeping the kids entertained is a priority at the hotel and the team provide non stop entertainment throughout the day. Join in with the Ubercorn disco to burn off some energy and dance away to some of Ubercorns favourite music. Meet some of your favourite characters with Meet and Greets. Join the Spot Bots on screen as the CBeebies Land Hotel team help you with some of the Spot Bot puzzles. Just before bedtime enjoy some stargazing on a comfy beanbag.

    The Rooms
    There is a huge range of rooms and suites in the CBeebies Land Hotel to suit family size, requirements and budget.

    Bugbies Room - Although this is your standard room choice it will not feel like it once inside. The room is decorated and themed around CBeebies Bugbies characters. It's brightly coloured and features and double bed and bunk beds. 

    The children have their own sleeping area which features an interactive play wall. 

    The room can sleep up to a family of 5.

    Themed Rooms - Similar layout and features of a Bugbies room the themed rooms are deluxe and are themed around some of your favourite characters. Choose from Octonauts, Postman Pat, Swashbuckle, In The Night Garden and Something Special.

    Suites - As I mentioned earlier the suites available at the Alton Towers Hotels are perfect for larger families, those who would like a little more floor space or if celebrating a special occasion. 

    The suites at The CBeebies Land Hotel sleep up to 7 people and there are a variety of themes to choose from, Postman Pat, In The Night Garden, Swashbuckle or Something Special. 

    Why Stay At The CBeebies Land Hotel?
    The hotel has children in mind so its bright, fun, interactive and themed around CBeebies and the CBeebies characters. Entertainment and Meet and Greets are scheduled throughout the day to keep little ones busy when they are not at the theme park. 

    Toddler friendly features available including cots, baby baths, children's toilet seats and steps for the bathroom sink. 

    Entertainment is exclusive to CBeebies Land Hotel guests and Early Ride Access at CBeebies Land is included. 

    Woodland lodges

    The Enchanted Village

    The Enchanted Village is like a fairytale with woodland lodges and luxury treehouses amongst winding pathways with twinkling lights. The Enchanted Village is set back behind the hotels and is furthest from the theme park. 

    The Enchanted Village has its own reception for check in to the Woodland Lodges. There is a small gift shop within the village, children's play areas and small arcade machines. 

    The Crooked Spoon Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. 

    Woodland lodges

    Woodland lodges

    Woodland Lodges
    Woodland Lodges offer you the privacy of your own log cabin within the Enchanted Village. Each cabin sleeps up to 5 people with a double bed and a separate sleeping area for children featuring bunk beds and a truckle bed. 

    Each Woodland Lodge offers free wifi, TV and an outdoor decking area to relax at after a long day at the park. 

    Luxury Treehouses
    There are five luxury treehouses within the Alton Towers Resort. Each treehouse offers luxury accommodation for up to 8 people. 

    The Treehouses have their own private decking with a hot tub overlooking the Enchanted Village. You can access exclusive in-resort takeaway service or make use of the kitchenette with crockery and glasses for up to 8 people. 

    The treehouse will be equipped with a 50" Plasma TV, PS4 and family friendly games. 

    You will be given VIP parking, an earlier check in time of 2pm with a Costa waiting for you on arrival.

    Stargazing Pods 
    The stargazing pods are the newest addition to the resort offering budget accommodation. Each pod consists of a double bed and two single beds. The pod does come equipped with lighting and heaters however it is similar to a camping experience where you access to communal toilets, showers, baby change facilities located in another area of the camp. 

    These are perfect for families who want to enjoy a stay over at the resort without the great expense. 

    Why Stay In The Enchanted Village?
    The Enchanted Village offers a unique experience and is perfect for those who enjoy the idea of having their own personal lodge, cabin or pod. 

    In the evening it looks magical with the twinkling lights guiding you through the dark pathways. The Crooked Spoon restaurant is at the heart of the village and is within walking distance from the lodges. 

    Anything Else?

    Most short breaks at Alton Towers are based on Bed and Breakfast. You need to add on theme park tickets to your booking to gain access to the theme park unless you are a merlin pass holder.

    A complimentary pass to use at the Extraordinary Golf is included in overnight stays.

    Check in is 3pm (unless otherwise stated based on your accommodation) and check out is 10am.

    Car Parking is free and some accommodation offer VIP parking. 

    Tickets to the Waterpark can be purchased at the time of booking.

    Early access to the theme park is included however this does not include special events such as Scarefest. 

    Restaurant bookings can be made prior to your arrival using the email link in your booking. 

    Free WIFI is included throughout the resort. 

    If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

    Comments - I love reading your opinions and thoughts - Have you stayed at Alton Towers or planning a stay soon? Which accommodation did you choose? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

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    Jump Maniax Inflatable Park, Preston

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    Jump Maniax is a unique inflatable park and is now open in Preston. With a 20,000 sq.ft arena it is every bouncers dream as all the inflatables are connected to make one huge bouncy playground. 

    Jump Maniax
    What To Expect At Jump Maniax, Preston, PR1 4LQ

    Jump Maniax is located on Fishwick Park in Preston. The inflatable park covers 20,000 sq.ft and is the largest of its kind in the North West. The arena has different areas to provide bouncing fun for everyone.

    Slam Dunk and Darts - Challenge your family or friends to some basketball or darts.

    Wipeout Zone - Can you stay in the wipeout zone the longest? Be prepared to dunk and jump over the spinning beams.

    Battle Beams - Balance on the inflatable beam with another beam in your hand as you try to knock over your opponent. 

    Climbing Wall - Use all your strength to climb across the wall. Don't worry if you fall there is a nice bouncy soft landing. 

    Wrecking Ball - Stand on the beam opposite your opponent and try to dodge the wrecking ball as you throw it back and forth.

    Wac A Mole - Like the popular fairground game but you can choose an opponent (wearing a helmet) to whack. 

    Inflatable Slides - Various slides to choose from all heading in to a ball pool. 

    Ninja Climbing Wall - A little tougher than the climbing wall but there are ropes to help you. 

    Ninja Obstacle Course - A One way obstacle course with lots of different challenges.

    Multi Sports Arena - Perfect for basketball or football.

    For Toddlers - The under 5's won't miss out on the fun with their own inflatable area including slide. Upstairs in the arena you will also find their own dedicated soft play area.  

    Anything Else?

    If you are feeling peckish the cafe serves hot and cold drinks and food all day.

    There are lockers available to keep your personal belongings safe whilst bouncing. 

    There are a variety of promotions offering discounted entry such as buy one get one free so make sure you check the promotions page before you buy tickets. 

    Jump Maniax also offers party package perfect to help you celebrate a special birthday. 

    Opening times differ depending on the time of year 

    Term Time
    Monday – Friday: 10am – 6:00pm
    Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 8:00pm

    School Holidays
    Monday – Friday: 10am – 7:00pm
    Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 8:00pm

    We will be heading to Jump Maniax soon and will post a full review of our experience. If you would like to visit Jump Maniax, enter our giveaway to be in with a chance of winning one of two family tickets. All you need to do is complete the entry form below and pop back daily for bonus chances to win. 

    Good Luck

    Monday – Friday: 10am – 7:00Michelle

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    The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall Cheshire

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    The Ice Cream Farm is a family friendly attraction that offers a children's play area, lots of pay as you play attractions and over 50 flavours of ice cream to choose from.

    Boy sitting on a deck chair

    What To Expect At The Ice Cream Farm, Tattenhall, Cheshire CH3 9NE
    The Ice Cream Farm is located in Tattenhall in Cheshire. Like most days out and activities you now have to book in advance online. You can choose a 1, 2 or 3 hour pass. The passes cost just £1 or 90p if you are a VIP pass holder. You can choose a time slot that suits you. We went at 2pm and stayed in the farm until 5pm.

    The attractions inside are pay as you play however we chose to buy a play pass online before we arrived. This cost us £15 per pass and allowed us to access the attractions inside at a discounted rate. Our play pass had 5 credits on so instead of paying £4.50 on the day per attraction it had only cost us £3.

    Tree house at the Ice Cream farm

    Tree house at the Ice Cream farm

    boy crawling through a tunnel

    Daisys garden

    Once inside you have access to Daisy's Garden which is included in your entrance fee of £1. This is a lovely play area with lots of different play equipment for the children. 

    There is a large treehouse with rope ladders and slide. A selection of in the ground trampolines. Balance beams and tunnels. Rope swings and lots more. 

    In-between attractions it was a great place to let the kids play in whilst we waited for the next. 

    strawberry falls

    boy playing mini golf

    boy playing mini golf

    Strawberry Falls golf was a lot of fun and is probably the main attraction at the farm. There were 12 mini golf type holes on the course.

    We had to book this attraction using the virtual queuing system. It was quick and easy to book your time slot and meant we didn't have to queue. 

    Each player pays £4.50 or uses a credit from their play pass. You are given a scorecard, golf club and ball. Make your way around the course weaving in an out of lots of decorative yummy treats.

    boy and dad looking for gems

    Gemstone Cove was lots of fun. You are given a small sieve and a mesh bag and then you are ready to go and find some gems. 

    All you need to do is dig in the sand and water and then sieve it out and see what you've found. 

    We found lots of stones of all different colours. 

    Again this costs £4.50 per person or 1 credit from a play pass. We were asked to keep to a time limit of 20 minutes. 

    two boys on a quad bike

    SilverCone costs just £1 and you do need a £1 coin to put in the slot of the quad. You can then drive your quad around the track and straight to the finish line

    boy looking at a bouncy castle

    Unfortunately we couldn't play on the marshmallow mound as little J has broken his finger so he just watched as his cousins had a turn. It's a huge inflatable bouncy pillow and they have a smaller one for little ones too.

    The marshmallow mound costs £4.50 or 1 credit from a play pass. You are given a timed slot to return to the marshmallow mound and the children have a limited time bouncing.

    There were a few attractions we didn't do including Rocky Road. This is another self drive attraction. The inside play attractions where closed due to restrictions and we also didn't see the farm this time. 

    picnic area

    There is a lovely picnic area too which we will remember for next time. 

    We finished the day with Ice Cream. There are over 50 flavours to choose from. 

    boy looking at ice cream flavours

    The ice cream parlour usually has an indoor seating area however due to restrictions it was closed. There are places to sit around the play area though if you wanted to sit whilst eating.

    boy bouncing on a trampoline

    boy on a trampoline

    Ice Cream Farm

    Ice Cream Farm
    We had a lovely day at the farm and would definitely recommend it. Pre booking tickets online meant it wasn't too busy and it felt safe. The virtual queuing system also meant less waiting times at the attractions too. 

    We can't wait to go again. 

    If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

    Comments - I love reading your opinions and thoughts - Have you visited the Ice Cream Farm? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought.

    Growing my social media is something I work hard on. If you would like to follow us - Like us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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