Kids can learn where food comes from at a unique interpretation of a former slaughter house at Tatton Farm (01625 374400; www.tattonpark.org) near Knutsford. The new £1.3m Field to Fork attraction, which opened on 4 July, is the first of its kind to reveal this grimmer side of the farmyard tale and was created with a little help from local schoolchildren using an atmospheric audiovisual show. The mill has also been renovated and reopened to the public, with the restored original equipment now cranking back into action, and there are animals, including rare breeds, to see. Visitors can buy produce from the farm in the nearby store and taste it in the restaurant, too.
Amazing Women By Rail trail opens on Mid-Cheshire line
A new trail, Amazing Women By Rail, champions the inspiring women who lived in the towns and villages along the Mid-Cheshire line between Chester and Manchester. The trail, part of regional celebrations for the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, features famous faces such as the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell as well as lesser-known characters such as the 18th-century polymath Elizabeth Raffald. A free booklet detailing the trail is available at stations and tourist information centres or can be downloaded online, and a day rover ticket is just one of the ways to travel along the line.
First museum dedicated to Chester's city walls opens
The innovative team at Big Heritage has launched its latest museum to breathe life into Chester's history, Within These Walls (www.chesterwallsmuseum.org). The new attraction, set in a 13th-century water tower on the city walls, tells the story of the fortifications and the people who built them and lived within them from Roman times, through the medieval era to today, using a fun series of interactive exhibits.
Chester Zoo hosts first Wild Worlds festival
Chester Zoo (01244 380280; www.chesterzoo.org), recently named England's most popular visitor attraction outside London, has launched a special summer festival called Wild Worlds. This collaboration with artists, landscape designers and entertainers has created unique spaces within the zoo, featuring 14 interactive installations, pop-up performances, and experiments and workshops to take part in. For example, three oversized talking chairs, each set within mini-gardens, have been placed around the zoo to tell the story of nearby animals, including flamingos, lions and black rhinos. Until 30 September.
Chester Zoo expands free-to-enter Nature Reserve
Chester Zoo (as above) has also expanded its Nature Reserve. This precious natural habitat, which is free to enter, now covers 14 acres – a 600 per cent increase on the original space. Set next to the Chester Canal, it has wildflower and wet meadows, hedgerows and ponds and wildlife to spot includes kingfisher, harvest mouse, bats and bumblebees, reed bunting, skylark, and dragonflies. Cuckoo flower, meadowsweet and ragged robin are among the plants to see. The reserve features accessible paths, picnic spaces and a grass amphitheatre.