A NEW pop-up tourist attraction in Chester is set to launch this weekend.

Last week we reported that Chester Race Company had agreed to donate 22 Bridge Street, formerly the Pro-cook shop, which is being transformed into 'The Nest' – showcasing some of the county’s best artists, storytellers and entertainers.

Destination Chester, a network of the city’s tourism partners, is working with Storyhouse and Wild Rumpus to create a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction.

It is part of the new six-month long 'Chester Designed By Nature' campaign, the brainchild of the Destination Chester partnership.

The Nest will be open for five weeks from Saturday, October 23 and will host a range of creative and reflective events and activities, starting this half-term, for people of all ages to take part in and enjoy.

Some will be free, while others will be ticketed and described as "inexpensive".

Storyhouse and Cheshire-based outdoor arts specialists Wild Rumpus, masterminds of the Just So festival and The Lanterns at Chester Zoo have collaborated to bring the programme of events and installations to life, with Wild Rumpus designer Rachel Shore creating the magical ‘Nest’ environment.

Chester and District Standard:

The Nest design by Rachel Shore.

Visitors will be greeted by an avenue of trees which will guide them through an atmospheric dark forest with glimpses of nesting woodland animals and treasures among the trunks.

The autumnal-hued wonderland includes a performance space, while a willow arch leads to a craft area. And beyond that is The Nest itself – a cosy, warm and inviting dome filled with floor cushions and tree stump stools where you can slow down, relax and reflect.

A host of organised activities and creative sessions for young people and their families are planned to take place at The Nest during half-term.

Here's what's going on:

  • The packed programme begins on Saturday, October 23 with the chance to Choose Your Own AdvenTUNE! Join award-winning singer-songwriter and children’s author Ashley Fayth on an hour-long energetic, interactive and super-silly singalong adventure. The day then continues with two brilliant audio plays – Minibeasts and Imagination Games – written by Simon James and starring Chester schoolchildren.
  • Three Guided Meditation for Children sessions take place at The Nest on Sunday, October 24. Chester-based meditation teacher Chloë, from Girl Meditates, will gently guide participants through a 30-minute meditation to decompress the body and help relax the mind and soul.
  • The Worry Wizard visits The Nest on Monday, October 25 to share its short animation Together Not Alone and invite people to explore a creative toolkit which can help adults navigate conversations about grief and loss with their child.
  • Little ones can enjoy some Diddi Drama on Tuesday, October 26. The 40-minute sessions are aimed at youngsters aged 18 months to five-years-old and combine role-play, movement and music to fire the imagination. Meet Henry the Hedgehog and Bernie the Bear as they prepare to hibernate for winter.
  • Then on Wednesday, October 27, the irrepressible Gav Cross takes over The Nest for a series of storytelling sessions From Deeper in the Forest. Youngsters aged six and up can accompany him on a journey where old classics are given a new twist.
  • Chester Zoo comes to The Nest on Thursday, October 28, inviting people to come and learn about animals and their habitats – and create an animal home or nest to take away with them.
  • Artist Clare Owens will inspire with a free, drop-in Autumn Arts Workshop on Friday, October 29 for the opportunity to create art inspired by the changing colours of autumn leaves. The session runs from 11am to 2pm. Alternatively, young people aged 14 to 25 are invited to take a walk with Chester photographer Sam Ryley followed by a Photography Workshop where they can learn about autumn light and embracing the changing seasons.
  • Then on Saturday, October 30, Build a Nest at The Nest. Children aged seven and over can get creative making their own mini nest houses under the expert eye of artist Neuza Morais.
  • And on Sunday, October 31, artist Ffion Pritchard will lead a Shadow Puppet workshop where youngsters can design their own autumnal shadow puppet and learn how to operate and film it inspired by the theme of hibernation.

Some events have restricted numbers of places available. For more details and to book visit www.storyhouse.com/half-term.

Jen McAndrew, project manager at Destination Chester, said: "We’re hugely excited to be able to present Designed by Nature, which has been made possible by a grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

"This is a project of collaboration; we’re working with a fantastic range of city centre partners, artists and creatives to bring something very special to Chester, and The Nest, designed by Rachel Shore, is the first part of that project.

"It’s a special space where all generations can come together, enjoy connecting with nature and creativity, and consider the role we have to play in the wider world around us."