Chester Zoo Voted Best Zoo in the UK

Chester ZooIn an announcement that will surprise no-one who’s had the pleasure of spending a day out there, Chester Zoo has been voted the best zoo throughout the whole country, beating out the likes of London Zoo!

11000 animals from all over the world call Chester Zoo home and a very good home at that, according to the report from TripAdvisor. After it was announced as the most popular zoo throughout Britain, this Cheshire zoo continues to go from strength to strength.

The 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards have been a massive success for the zoo and was voted 2nd throughout Europe and 6th worldwide.

Jamie Christon, managing director of Chester Zoo said: “We’re absolutely delighted.

“Our sincere thanks go to every single person who has come here because, as a registered charity, their visits help us to carry out all of our vital conservation work – saving species from extinction both here in the UK and overseas.”

Marketing officer Julie Griffin also added:“This is the first time we’ve won this award and we’re very, very pleased indeed – particularly as it’s voted for by those working in the travel industry who have been to the zoo, experienced what we have to offer and cast their vote on the back of their visit.

“The zoo is constantly evolving and offering visitors something different to see and experience.”

The passionate zoologists have also been doing their bit overseas to help animals who may find themselves at risk of extinction in the sadly not too distant future. The Ecuador Amazon parrot was in jeopardy of disappearing altogether but now that the 10 representatives from the zoo personally identified the bird in South America, its status as endangered means it can now be properly monitored.

Also in 2014, the zoo have started the islands project; set to give visitors the chance to sample the ecosystems of the Philippines and Indonesia. The £30m venture will bring in a reported £.3m for the local economy, meaning that it will start turning a profit in just under 10 years.

With more announcements and advancements seemingly being made by the day at Chester Zoo, let’s hope that they keep the excellent momentum going.

Get to The Gathering in Chester this Weekend

ChesterBelieve it or not, summer is finally approaching and there’s one event that signifies this more than any other here in Chester and it is set for another fantastic year.

We are of course talking about the amazing ‘The Gathering’ on the 4th of May and it is all set to be as big a celebration of music and the arts that it has been for the past 6 years. This micro-festival has been making a bit of a richly-deserved name for itself with Chester city centre providing the perfect location for some (hopefully) sunny fun.

Situated in Rufus Court, The Gathering in 2014 can boast live bands, DJs as well as all the stalls and activities you could want to keep the children busy. Possibly the biggest name on the bill is Slim Boy Fat , a tribute act to Fat Boy Slim with sets from the likes of Blue Bottle Veins, Burning Out, Jed is Dead, Perseus, Veil, The Jigsaws, Washington Reed, Indigo Sky, Dead Pixels, Gary Edward Band, and Luke Cusato.

There will also be ever more events for kids than there were at 2013’s edition with them now catering to both youngsters and teenagers. Those with an eye for the creative may enjoy taking part in one of the great master classes and workshops that are going on throughout the day.

If your child has a passion for drama, dance, art, music and more then you are in luck as their will be many workshops across the occasion that will be available for free as it’s been provided by the Chester Council as a way of getting more young people involved in the community.

Minerva Arts representative Steph Brocken said: “The activities are really wide ranging – from visual arts to music to theatre and historical re-enactments. I think it is set to be a unique event; one of the most unusual packages of activity overall in the North West in 2014.”

So whichever art form is your favourite, you’re sure to find something you love at ‘The Gathering’ 2014 and perhaps a new passion for the kids to get involved with this May 4th.

“Chester bench” by


Cheshire Falconry

Cheshire FalconryLove birds? Then you need to get yourself to the wonderful Cheshire Falconry and have a great day out with our feathered friends.

Animal preservation is important as birds’ habitats continue to be endangered so it’s great to see that the experts at Cheshire Falconry are fully devoted to housing and caring for over 60 birds of prey. It’s often believed that these large birds are scary and dangerous but after spending a session with these majestic birds, you’ll find them to be the exact opposite.

The falconry is open 7 days a week and is one of the most popular destinations for families, particularly during the school holidays. What you can get up to during your visit is up to you and you can stay away from the birds and marvel at them from afar or you can get up close and personal with them!

So, what species can you see at the falconry? All of the best of Britain and of course some majestic eagles. You can be in the company of one of these magical animals for as little as half an hour or six hours if you really want to appreciate them.

Even if it doesn’t sound quite like your thing, you can always buy a gift voucher for a loved one so they can spend some time at Cheshire Falconry. The lucky recipient then has the chance to book a session of their choice and could be the perfect birthday present.

The Cheshire Falconry also offers great open days to schools and can often even be found at local events and shows with the option to hire the guys out available to you and your business. Probably the most impressive thing that these birds have done is to be the ringbearer for a couple of weddings at the falconry in the past.

So, if you’re visiting Nantwich in the near future and want to get in touch with nature, there’s no better place to do it than at Cheshire Falconry.

Please visit: for full details and information.

“DSC_0156” by, License:

Visit the Blue Planet Aquarium

Blue Planet AquariumIf you’re visiting Cheshire with the kids and don’t know what the historic city can offer, taking a walk around the Blue Planet Aquarium will easily be one of your highlights.

Visitors from North Wales will no doubt have had some great fun in the Seaquarium in Anglesey but for sheer variety and things to see, Blue Planet absolutely comes out on top especially when you consider that it’s open all year long, making it perfect for a rainy day out.

This superb aquarium is home to over 700 fish with them ranging from the adorable to the menacing! As soon as you see Blue Planet’s variety of sharks that is the largest in Europe, you’ll understand exactly what was meant by that. The 10ft long sand tigers and lemon sharks are just a couple of the attractions with the fearless staff sometimes jumping in with these hunters of the sea. Visitors with diving qualifications can also enjoy an experience with these hunters of the sea – if they’re up to it!

You can enjoy sights like these from the comfort of behind the amazing amphitheatre glass – a fully panoramic view of some of the exhibits of which there are 50! It’s surely an intercontinental experience at Blue Planet as the fish housed within the 3.8 million litres home come from places all over the planet.

Anyone fearful of creepy crawlies would do well to steer clear of VENOM which is a display area filled with dangerous creatures. Don’t get out the health and safety manual just yet; you’ll be fully protected by reinforced screens meaning that you can enjoy watching tarantulas and jellyfish in their surroundings.

Also not to be missed, a chance to get up and personal with the stingrays and eels with the sharks also making a guest appearance in the underwater tunnel. This 70 metre long stretch plays host to black and white sharks and also the zebra variety, again showing why the venue is famed for its collection of sharks!

If the kids are tired of looking and want to start running around (as they always do), the Pirate Playground is the perfect place for them to release some energy. Expect to see one or two otters outside too!

With the opportunity to have massive reductions on diving experiences throughout January, there could be no better time to dive in to the fun at Blue Planet Aquarium.

“shark and boat” by


Gigs in Chester in January

As a place of rich culture and excitement, there are always acts taking to the stage from the music world in the historic town of Chester. From the indie to the electro, there’s always an event for any music lover out there.

Here are some of the highlights to look out for over the course of January.

Empire Divide – Telfords Warehouse – 11/01/2014

An alternative rock influenced act hailing from London, this energetic but at sometimes sombre 5-piece are looking to impress in Chester after a great 2013 in which they released their debut music video in November.

Strains of Radiohead are evident in the bands releases with their being some leans towards other artists such as Coldplay and Muse. Catch them before they get big.

Laura J Martin – Telfords Warehouse – 14/01/2014

As eclectic as they come in influences, this young musician from Liverpool is carving a bit of a name for herself in the music world.

Although still tentatively young, Martin has been on the scene for a few years now with her LP Dazzle Days being her most recent release. If you’re after something a little soulful then this be could the gig just for you.

Ian Skelly & The Serpent Power – Telfords Warehouse – 24/01/2014

On the back of plenty of hype, Ian Skelly is looking to distance himself from his early music career as the drummer for The Coral with this venture.

One for those who enjoy the more experimental side of music, this artist bring plenty of psychedelic intrigue to his recordings with his Cut From a Star album having plenty of fanfare on release. Check out Ian Skelly on the 24th of January.

Chemistry Lane – Telfords Warehouse – 30/01/2014

An engaging and unique group, Chemistry Lane live by their name as the sheer level of detail which goes into their compositions is almost scientific.

Avant-garde is one word to describe this home-grown band and after a support slot with post-rock giants 65daysofstatic on the 14th, they will be headlining their own show at Telfords on the 30th of the month.

The Maydays – Telfords Warehouse – 31/01/2014

Coming from nearby Wrexham, this five piece oozes Northern energy and is a brilliant throwback to when rock was simple fun.

Definitely one for those who like their rock upbeat, The Maydays will be rounding off a great month in Chester for music gigs and are one of the highlights.

10 Facts About Chester

Chester Roman Ruins

Everyone who’s ever stepped foot in Chester will undoubtedly have been blown away by its sheer beauty and fantastic sights. It should come as no surprise then that it made 5th place on a list of Europe’s best-looking cities.

To commemorate this achievement, here are some facts about Chester that you may not have known about.

  1. Chester used to be known as ‘Deva’ back when the Romans had a settlement back in 79 AD. It was used as a fortress and was once of the largest throughout Britain.
  2. It’s lasted the years and is claimed to be the best preserved walled city throughout Britain as there are little lapses in the quality throughout the town walls.
  3. St Werburgh is the patron saint Chester. He had a massive impact on convent reform for the whole of England.
  4. Although welcoming to all cultures in this day and age, the Chester of 1403 was a no-go for any people from Wales. Henry V ordered that they all be banished from its grounds or suffer execution.
  5. The magnificent Chester Cathedral is the most popular tourist attraction all throughout the North West region and is a place of respected worship.
  6. A stroll will undoubtedly allow you to come across the Roman amphitheatre: a major attraction which used to seat 7000 spectators. It is the largest of its ilk in the country.
  7. A hard to miss venue is the Chester Racecourse which is also the oldest of its kind and also a sporting venue in general. 1539 saw the first race taking placing there with many more years of competition to follow.
  8. Chester’s Rows are unique in that they are present in all four of the city’s main streets and cannot be found elsewhere in the world; a definite walking opportunity if ever there was one.
  9. As of 2011, 118,200 people resided in Chester with them being varied across all kinds of background but with the majority claiming Christianity as their religious belief.
  10. King Arthur is reputed to have taken part in a bloody battle within the city.

Things to Do in Chester

Things To Do in ChesterThere are so many attractions in Chester that you’d be amazed at the variety of things to do and see. From animal parks to cathedrals, take a look at some of the top places to be from the list compiled below.

Chester Zoo

One of the biggest and best zoos all over the country, Chester Zoo draws the crowds and it’s little surprise when you consider how much fascination fun you can get up to.

As the UK’s largest charity based zoo, this enclosure has a wide array of exotic and regional animals for your amazement. The cheeky chimps are always a great draw which is apparent when you consider at least 1.4 million people visit each year!

The only times when this much-loved zoo isn’t open is on Christmas and Boxing Day and with such wonder to be found, make sure you take a walk on the wild side as soon as you can.

Chester Racecourse

A favourite amongst the rich and famous, Chester Racecourse has plenty of thrills but hopefully no spills to take your interest.

The grand stage couldn’t be a more perfect place to hold horse racing and it’s obvious as soona s you walk through the entrance to this famed course. Adjacent to the historic Roman walls, jockeys do battle over the superb green and there are events held there regularly.

With superb facilities to boot, those in the gambling mood should give Chester Racecourse a punt very soon.

Chester Roman Gardens

As a region, Chester has always had it fair share of historians traipsing its mythos and this is all down to the variety of monuments to its previous inhabitants: the mighty Romans of old.

The Chester Roman Gardens offer not only a picturesque setting but one that will endear the inner Tony Robinson in all of us down to the fascinating and charming information points dotted all over this historic landmark.

These locations are just a sample of what the great area has to offer. To unearth all of its hidden gems, nooks and crannies, the only thing to do is to explore Chester!

“Chester Zoo” by


Olympian to Light Up Christmas

Christmas TreeOne of Chester’s all-time famous daughters is set to return to the city for some local festivities this year when Beth Tweddle gets the Christmas party started.

As well as being a medal-winning Olympian, Ms. Tweddle had a stint on Dancing On Ice and wowed the judges with her moves as she dazzled on the rink in front of a packed audience every Saturday night.

Now, she will be making a return to the historic city of Chester to be a part of the lights being turned on at the 24ft Christmas tree as well as having the privilege of officially opening the ice rink. With this and so much more to look forward to, the Christmas Parade of Light will be a rea cracker.

Spectacular sights abound as the parade makes its way through the sure to be packed town market all the way to the Winter Wonderland at Chester Racecourse. With the inspiration behind the parade being fairy tales, the Queen of Light will be guiding her troupe throughout the city as they all regale and get you in the Christmas spirit.

Dancers and lantern holders from local schools will relish the opportunity to be alongside Santa Claus on his sleigh as he delights the audience with his merry wishes. The real show begins when the group finally arrives at the Winter Wonderland though.

Visitors will be treated to so much fine entertainment with ice skaters, choirs and a sample of the brilliant Snow Queen: a definite must for any theatre-goer in the area. Local celebrities Indigo City will be bringing their girl band glamour to the stage too in what will be another step on the ladder for the promising young act.

With free admission for all, there’s no better way to get in the Christmas spirit this November than in Chester this 21st of November.

“christmas tree in midtown” by


Chester Philharmonic Orchestra

Chester Philharmonic OrchestraOne of the most beloved music forms comes to life in the grand town of Chester this November and it’s guaranteed to be a truly remarkable evening of entertainment.

The very of definition of ‘philharmonic ‘ is a “devotion to or appreciation of music” which is precisely the kind of spirit each and every member of the Chester Philharmonic Orchestra will be channelling when they take to the stage at Chester Cathedral on the 16th of November.

The unenviable task of curating an eclectic range of orchestras from all kinds of backgrounds falls to David Chatwin, a respected figure in the classical community who has found a name for himself as the principal bassoonist with the BBC Philharmonic. Mr. Chatwin will be overseeing and delighting in the performances which are all due to be something spectacular.

The opener is surely going to set the precedent as it’s one that can truly rouse and captivate any audience. Victor Hugo’s seminal Mendehllson Concert Overture Roy Blas, the conductor incidentally hated the play which his piece was used in but the audience at Chester Cathedral are undoubtedly going to lap it up.

Working up the crows even further will be Holst’s Egdon Heath, which is massive inspired by the genius of Thomas Hardy, this almost 100 year old arrangement will serve as a fine introduction into Richard Srauss’s Horn Concerto No.1.

This piece is deserving of special attention down to it being played by the Andrew Budden Acting Principal Horn with the BBC Philharmonic. Budden himself is a relative newcomer on the scene after gaining massive exposure in 2006 when he joined the BBC Philharmonic at the tender age of 21. After playing with some of the most-revered orchestras across the country, he is set to make a real mark in Chester.

Wrapping up superb proceedings will be a performance of Brahms’ Symphony No.2 which is often remarked as a very difficult piece but a challenge that the performers will surely relish.

For the low price of £15, make your way to Chester Cathedral for an unforgettable evening of refined music on the 16th at 7.30pm.

Halloween Events in Chester 2013

With broomsticks and costumes at the ready, Chester is preparing itself for another Halloween Events in Chesterspooktacular 31st of October. Halloween events in Chester and its surrounding areas are always ghoulishly good affairs and there are plenty of scares to be had for the whole family.

Hallowe’en Masquerade and Murder Mystery Spooktacular

The National Waterways Museum plays host to some seriously spooky goings on on the 30th and 31st of October. If you think of the intensity of Cluedo on a live scale, you wouldn’t even be close as the murder mystery is much scarier! Trawl every dark crevice, interview suspects and reap the rewards along the way to uncover who the killer is. Fun for the whole family, this event is £5 for adults and kids under 16 can enjoy it for as little as £2 in Ellesmere Port.

The Whitby Wander

Not really a horror filled night out along Whitby Park but with All Hallow’s Eve being held on the same day, you could be in for one or two surprise scares! Meet outside Whitby Hall in Ellesmere Port on the 31st for a great walk around the historic town.

Grosvenor Museum Lecture Theatre

Come and join respected name Nick Fry as he discusses the significance of medieval craft with relation to Chester Cathedral in partnership with the Chester Society of Natural Science Literature and Art on the 31st of October.

Halloween Spooktacular at Chester Zoo

As terrifying as some people may find snakes, spiders and other more chilling animals at Chester Zoo, it’s the creepy crawlies that are the main focus of the screams at this event being held until the 3rd of November! The faint-hearted should keep well away from the 33-ft wide animatronic tarantula during this amazing event.

Bass Culture vs Mode-Mode Halloween Party

One strictly for the grown-ups, The Compass nightclub is holding a terrifyingly excellent party for Halloween with great name like Spooky and Pete Cannon ready to get the boils and ghouls on the dance floor shuffling. The evening kicks off at 8 p.m. and there‘s plenty of fun to be had up until closing time.

Wherever you end up this Halloween, it’s sure to be a horrifyingly fun occasion!