Cheshire is a truly historic county, one of the UK’s most interesting destinations to visit, and, as such, has a wealth of fascinating museums at its disposal. While you may be visiting the area for a relaxing break at a spa in Cheshire, after your pampering session you can look forward to a host of fun things to see and do. No matter if you are visiting as a couple, with friends, or are bringing kids along, there is a great museum to discover. In this guide, we are going to highlight some of the very best of these attractions, letting you know about what you can look forward to seeing during your time in Cheshire.
Image credit: Grosvenor Museum
Cheshire is truly spoiled when it comes to museums and one of the very best is certainly Grosvenor Museum. Located in Chester, Grosvenor Museum is housed in a building as impressive as its contents, being a Grade II listed building on the National Heritage List. The home of fascinating exhibitions and collections on archaeology, science, and art, there is plenty to explore upon visiting.
Grosvenor Museum says: “The Grosvenor Museum houses collections exploring the history of Chester, its art and silver heritage, and its natural history. Find out about life during the Roman military occupation and visit the Period House, with rooms from the 17th-century to the 1920s.”
There are two Roman galleries at the museum, telling the story of Chester’s rich Roman heritage, replete with coins, pottery, tombstones, and displays about the army. There are also changing programmes and events, helping to make repeat visits unique. Admission is free but the museum does suggest a donation of £3 per person. There is also a small café to grab a refreshment after exploring.
Another museum that has to be on your Cheshire to-do list is Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. Situated in the town of Warrington in its cultural quarter, this museum is housed in another lovely Grade II listed building, sharing with Warrington’s Central Library. Opening its doors back in 1858 at its current location, there is a lot here to enjoy.
The museum describes what’s on offer: “From the curious to the contemporary, the collections at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery capture the fascinations of Victorian collectors, the ingenuity of Warrington’s craftspeople and the creativity of local artists.”
Warrington Museum and Art Gallery has a number of permanent galleries that focus on the natural world (including dinosaurs) and collections that span the ages, featuring thousands of items in the fields of ethnology, archaeology (prehistoric to medieval), industrial history, coins and medals. The museum also has nearly 2,000 artworks in its collection by nationally recognised artists. Admission is free and there are refreshments onsite.
Image credit: Cheshire Military Museum
Cheshire Military Museum in Chester is the perfect location for those who enjoy military history and want to find out about the role Cheshire and its regiments have had to play in battle. Telling the tale of Cheshire soldiers from the 17th-century until the present day, visitors can learn about the various wars that have been fought by these brave troops across the ages.
Cheshire Military Museums says the following about what visitors can expect: “Follow the exploits of the Regiments of Cheshire and their travels across the world during many great battles. Learn about the wars they fought, experience life in the trenches for a World War One soldier and immerse yourself in the history of the soldiers.”
At the museum, there are myriad fascinating things to see, including 200 drawers full of military medals, as well as uniforms, weapons, equipment and much more. The museum’s introductory room is as helpful as it sounds, introducing visitors to army terminology and badges of rank – preparing you for a wonderful experience. Cheshire Military Museum exists inside a 19th-century building known as The Castle, which was once the accommodation for soldiers and officers. Tickets cost £4 for adults, £2 concession, and £9 for families.
Norton Priory Museum & Gardens is on the historic site of Norton Priory in Cheshire, which is comprised of the remains of a 12th – 16th-century abbey, as well as 18th-century country house. This fascinating site now has a museum on the premises that should certainly be visited when spending time in Cheshire. A great location for the whole family, allowing you to experience nature up close in its delightful walled garden as well as discovering the impressive 14th-century statue of St Christopher in the gallery. Norton Priory is the most excavated monastic site in Europe and the museum displays thousands of historic objects.
Here you can explore the priory ruins or the surrounding woodland which is just lovely when the sun is shining, as is the 2.5-acre garden and orchard. The variety on offer at Norton Priory really is a joy and bound to be a memorable excursion. Tickets to the museum and gardens are £7.95 for adults, £5.50 for children, and £22.25 for the family.
Talking about what she enjoyed about the museum after its big new refurbishment, Sarah from the travel blog The Urban Wanderer has said: “Walking into the refurbished ground floor space, I was delighted to see lots of new items on display, more interactive areas and new videos telling the stories the people who lived and worked at the Priory in its day… Being a sunny day on our visit, it was pleasantly quiet, meaning that we were able to really check out the artefacts, enjoy the videos and have a play with the interactive bits.”
Image credit: National Waterways Museum
Located at Ellesmere Port, the National Waterways Museum is a stunning location to enjoy a great museum experience when in Cheshire. The museum has a lot to offer visitors, including in-depth indoor displays, some historic Victorian buildings, and even boat trips! This seven-acre site was previously the busy canal docks, where history is an intrinsic part of the location’s very makeup.
The National Waterways Museum says that their museum, “brings together a unique fleet of historic boats with rich collections and archives to tell the story of Britain’s canals and waterways. The historic docks at Ellesmere Port provide the perfect setting.”
One of the museum’s prized assets is certainly its historic boat collection, which includes a 1,000-year-old log boat, a steam powered dredger, a collection of boats from Britain’s inland waterways, and numerous other gems. The museum itself opened in the 1970s and thanks to its collection of boats, traditional clothing, painted canal ware and tools, it has become a favourite local attraction. Admission is £6 for adults and £4 for children. Tickets for the boat trips on the canal are £1.50 for adults and £1 for children.
Which museums to visit in Cheshire
- Grosvenor Museum
- Warrington Museum and Art Gallery
- Cheshire Military Museum
- Norton Priory Museum & Gardens
- National Waterways Museum
As you can see, there are some wonderful museum options available in Cheshire, no matter what you are interested in, there will be something fun to explore. So, make sure you head out and visit some of the above after your relaxing Cheshire spa break.