News: The Zoo Opens Doors to Founders Historic Home

The historic home of Chester Zoo founder George Mottershead has been renovated, restored and expanded to convert The Oakfield into a pub and restaurant.   The major development has been primarily designed to enable more visitors than ever before to discover the inspirational grade II listed family home of Chester Zoo founder George Mottershead and […]

The historic home of Chester Zoo founder George Mottershead has been renovated, restored and expanded to convert The Oakfield into a pub and restaurant.

 

The major development has been primarily designed to enable more visitors than ever before to discover the inspirational grade II listed family home of Chester Zoo founder George Mottershead and his family.

Visitors are invited to relax in the Mottershead’s former library, with carefully restored fireplace and wood panelled walls, or enjoy a meal in the rooms which were once both a family home and the functioning centre of the zoo.

The creation of a stunning new Garden Room has been sensitively designed to complement the nineteenth-century building. The Garden Room opens the building out onto the expansive Oakfield lawn.

Identified by Historic England as a ‘particularly important building of more than special interest’, The Oakfield was first built as a Victorian country house in approximately 1884.

During the First World War, it was used as a hospital for Belgian refugees, before George Mottershead, who had himself served in The Battle of The Somme during the First World War, bought the house in 1930 with a view to opening the first “zoo without bars” with animal welfare at its heart.

The family’s vision for the zoo has helped it to become the UK’s most visited zoo and the third best in the world according to Trip Advisor rankings.

The latest iteration of The Oakfield building continues the “always building” philosophy of the pioneering Mottershead family.

The additional revenue generated by The Oakfield will help fund even more conservation projects to protect endangered species from extinction, in line with the Mottershead family vision for the house.

Simon Lockhart, Chester Zoo’s Food and Beverage General Manager, explained:

The Oakfield is in keeping with the successful free houses that Cheshire has to offer. We have sought to combine the best of them all to create a satisfyingly good pub with a really good menu.

The pub is as much a testament to the past as it is a vision for the future of the zoo. We have been careful to retain the original qualities of the house so it has a real home from home feeling, and the building remains a centre-piece of the zoo in its own right.

Jamie Roberts, Senior Food and Beverage Manager said:

We have really considered what our guests may want from The Oakfield, with both the design of the building and of the menus.

On a cold winter’s day, you may just wander in for a coffee and a chat with one of the team, while you warm up in front of the fire – there are five of those to choose from after all! Whereas, on a lovely, bright day you may choose instead to sit out on the terrace with a satisfying glass of wine, or head to the new garden room, where you can enjoy an appetizing lunch as you look out across the beautiful grounds.

We are busy now getting everything ready, but the really exciting part comes when we welcome people through the door. We are all very proud and passionate about The Oakfield. We want to share our love of fantastic, fresh food and great service to our guests. We hope to see you there soon!

 

Visit the Chester Zoo website for more information.

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