Providing fun for all the family and nestled in the eastern side of Grosvenor Park, the Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway offers fun train rides around the beautiful parkland and is only a few minutes’ walk from the city centre.
The 7¼” gauge railway is located just off of Dee Lane, making it not far from Chester’s historic city centre, with some of the most ancient architecture all nearby at the other end of the park. The ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre, Roman Gardens, Parish Church, Hermitage and Old Palace are all within easy reach of the Miniature Railway, as well as the banks of the River Dee and the Royal Chester Rowing Club.
Built in 1996 to commemorate the Duke of Westminster’s railway at nearby Eaton Hall, the Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway is popular with both the young and old of Chester and is often included in lists of the city’s top tourist attractions.
The railway operates both steam and diesel trains, around the ¼ mile circuit that circles Grosvenor Park’s small lake. On the route is a wooden viaduct and pond can be seen that is usually full of ducks, moorhens and large white geese. The small station has a selection of souvenirs, memorabilia and Thomas the Tank gifts.
One of the railway’s newer additions is an electric Thomas himself, and the exciting Drive Your Own Trevor Tram, which is a great way for kids to get behind the wheel themselves.
The delightful open-air attraction is open throughout the year but is obviously reliant on good weather. It isn’t really fair to ask the small team of volunteers to drive outdoor trains when it is absolutely hammering down with rain.
The small fleet of small locomotives include the main GP40, which runs most days throughout the year, as well as a No 1 Class 47 Diesel engine, a Romulus-type steam engine and an Electric Tram.
A play area is adjacent to the track that is also open to the public, providing an alternative for kids that don’t want to hop aboard. The Lodge Café is also located at the entrance to the 20-acre park and provides a selection of refreshments to enjoy – either in the summer or winter!
The wider Grosvenor Park area provides plenty to do for all ages. The pond area has been re-landscaped with accessible pathways providing better routes for disabled visitors, and the railway’s route has three small level crossings that intersect with the paths. The Park also features a refurbished visitor centre with toilets, café, activity hut and good size play area.
The Park dates from 1867 when it was gifted to the people of Chester by the Grosvenor family after being in private ownership for many years. Overlooking The Groves on the southern edge of the park is Chester Hermitage, otherwise known as the Anchorite’s Cell, a small religious retreat dating from the 14th century that was restored in the 19th century and converted into a cottage.