Chester Zoo has transformed the historic family home of its founders into an incredible new gastropub for its visitors.

Oakfield Manor, once home to the zoo's founder George Mottershead and his family, has undergone a £3m restoration and refurbishment to convert The Oakfield pub and restaurant, which will trade during zoo hours.

Retaining the grade II listed building's original features, zoo visitors will be able to relax in the Mottershead’s former library which boasts carefully restored fireplaces and wood panelled walls, and enjoy a meal in the rooms surrounded by family photographs and early zoo memories.

The 19th century building has also been expanded to create a stunning new Garden Room - adjoined to the original house by glass- which opens the building out onto the expansive Oakfield lawn.

The pub offers seasonal, locally sourced food prepared by executive head chef Ben Finchett where diners can choose from light bites to three course meals, including beer battered fish and chips. Parmesan crusted chicken escalope and Malaysian curry.

Inside The Oakfield pub at Chester Zoo

Simon Lockhart, Chester Zoo’s food and beverage general manager, said: "The Oakfield is in keeping with the successful freehouses 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.”

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.

It is hoped the additional revenue generated from 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.

Inside The Oakfield pub at Chester Zoo

Jamie Roberts, senior food and beverage manager, added: " 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!

The Oakfield pub at Chester Zoo

"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 with our guests. We hope to see you there soon!”

The Oakfield pub is open from today (Monday, July 23). Usual zoo admission fees apply but members can visit the pub as often as they wish.