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What's on in Cheshire this autumn

A grand market hall and the world premiere of a musical are among the attractions opening in Cheshire this autumn.

Buy buy buy at Chester Market  

Chester Market moves to a new multimillion-pound venue in the heart of Northgate in late autumn. As well as shopping, locals and visitors will be able to meet and eat, listen to live music, go to the cinema, and view heritage exhibitions. Chester has had a market since it was granted a charter in 1159 and the new trading place stands on a spot once occupied by the Roman barracks and stores. The history of the site through the centuries and the stories of Cestrians who worked here will be told at the new market hall, including in murals by artist Graham Boyd that decorate the staircases in the multi-storey car park. A zero-waste refill store, vintage clothes shop, and an optician are just a few of the diverse vendors who will be selling their wares alongside food and drink producers and providers and a global variety of street food. Go to:


See a world premiere at Storyhouse 

The world premiere of the musical of The Time Traveller’s Wife will take place at Chester's arts hub Storyhouse this autumn. Lauren Gunderson’s bestselling novel, also a hit film, has been brought to the stage with music and lyrics by global superstar Joss Stone and multi-Grammy winner Dave Stewart. Starring Joanna Woodward and David Hunter as Clare and Henry, the show runs from 30 September-15 October before transferring to London's West End. Go to: 


Go glamping at Blakemere  

New luxurious glamping accommodation opens at Blakemere Village this autumn. The family friendly attraction near Northwich, which features shops, activities and dining, is opening 12 new pods in a secluded meadow in the adjacent Holiday Park. Nine of the rural cabins sleep four, while three larger hideaways sleep five, and they will be open year-round. All have en-suite bathrooms and private outdoor hot tubs, comfy king-sized beds, Smart TVs, and top-quality bed linen. From £495 for a two-night midweek stay and £570 for a two-night weekend break, based on four sharing. Go to: 


Tie the knot at The Manor 

Nelson Hotels & Inns is opening a luxury wedding barn at its new development The Manor at Greasby on Wirral. The impressive timber-framed structure, illuminated by beaded chandeliers, will host between 80 and 100 guests and is offered with a selection of packages that can be tailored to suit all tastes. The Barn at the Manor will be available to book from 1 December. Go to: 


You're never too young or old at Storyhouse  

New festival Storyhouse Elders, 10-22 October, will prove it’s never too late to try something new, return to a creative passion, or experience and celebrate the work of older artists. Special inter-generational events with children will include theatre, discos, art sessions and more. Meanwhile, young imaginations will be fired up at the WayWord Festival, 24-30 October. Poet in residence Benjamin Zephaniah (above left) will be joined by former children’s laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson and others for events at Storyhouse and libraries across Cheshire West and Chester. Chester Literature Festival also returns, 10-25 November, with special guests including Graham Norton, David Harewood, and Kit de Waal. Go to: 


Lights fantastic at Magical Woodland  

Magical Woodland (top left), near Northwich, returns this autumn, with a Halloween theme – and a few roaming dinosaurs. Garlands of twinkling lights, dancing tunnels of borealis-style lasers, and flying lanterns will light the way through the trees, 7-31 October. Plus, new interactive features will allow everyone to take part in creating the spectacle. Go to: 


All the clues are at Chester Zoo  

A lost spell using powerful natural poisons provides the perfect excuse for an adventure around some of the indoor habitats at Chester Zoo, 1-31 October. The Halloween Trail will reveal interesting facts about six different species along the way, including spiders and reptiles, with a little help from augmented reality on phones or tablets. Go to: 


Pumpkin picking at Bolesworth  

Bolesworth Castle, near Tattenhall, will be getting in the Halloween spirit with a spookily themed Maize Maze. There’ll also be craft sessions to make wish-catchers and bubble wands and the possibility of picking pumpkins to eat or carve, too. Open on selected dates, 8-30 October. Go to:


Cat-like tread at Dunham Massey  

Mog the Forgetful Cat returns to Dunham Massey, near Altrincham, 24 September-16 November, leading the way through the grounds of this historic property to teach little ones about the creatures who live here. The favourite feline, created by the late Judith Kerr, will show cat-like ways for youngsters to keep a keen eye on the fallow deer and ears alert to music in the gardens. Go to: 


By the river at Quarry Bank  

The relationship between Quarry Bank and the River Bollin, which prompted Samuel Greg to build his cotton mill at this spot near Styal in the late 18th Century, is investigated by artist Jen Southern. Her specially commissioned artwork, ‘Gathering Downstream’, on display from 19 September, takes the form of five films embedded in a river-style installation. It explores historic relationships between nature, industry and human life and poses questions about climate change. Go to: 


Wizard times at Tatton Park  

The ancient Old Hall at Tatton Park, near Knutsford, will be the assembly point for wizards on 27 October. They’ll be teaching young ones spells and giving lessons in how to ride a broomstick, as well as battling the evil sorcerer Dimitri. Go to: 


Glowing at BeWILDerwood   

The woodland at BeWILDerwood (top right), near Malpas, will glow with colour at twilight when lanterns mark a trail through the trees, 15-31 October. Visitors will be invited to make a Boggle Bindle Lantern to help light their way and encounter fantastical characters as they go, including a tiara-wearing Crocklebog, and Snagglefang the bat. Go to: 

Little monsters at Beeston Castle  

Beano tearaways Dennis and Gnasher will be solving creepy clues at Beeston Castle, near Tarporley, 22-30 October. Families can follow the spooky trail through the grounds and hear costumed performers tell tall tales about strange, supernatural and silly goings-on. Go to: 


Sacred secrets at Chester Cathedral  

The secrets of Chester’s medieval cathedral will be revealed at Heritage Discovery Day, 22 October. Behind-the-scenes sessions, the chance to view ancient treasures, and demonstrations of heritage skills will be among the family friendly activities. Go to:


Bringing in the harvest at Stretton Water Mill
The apple is king at Stretton Watermill, one of the country's best preserved water-powered corn mills, on 24-25 September. Visitors are invited to bring apples to press this harvest time and there'll be seasonal Victorian crafts and a display of vintage bicycles. Meanwhile, West Cheshire Museums is hosting an array of activities from 25-31 October, from making Halloween skeletons to a sustainability clothing swap, at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester and Weaver Hall Museum and Lion Salt Works in Northwich. Go to: 

Spellbound at Arley Hall  

When the sun goes down, the woods light up at Arley Hall, near Northwich, to play host to magical creatures and some awesome wizardry. Using sound, light and special effects, the world of Harry Potter will be brought to life on this nighttime trail, from 15 October, revealing scenes and characters, including the Centaurs and Hippogriff, from the famous films. Go to:


For more info and ideas go to:


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