We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Schools and groups

What was it like in the heyday of the docks at Gloucester? And how busy was it as a major hub for narrowboats travelling through the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal? With real objects, real stories and real historic boats, the National Waterways Museum brings history to life.

National Waterways Museum Gloucester

We love dressing up here at the National Waterways Museum. Why not get your class to dress as traditional boaters on their visit? But why stop there? We’ve lots for your class or group to get stuck into on their visit.

Everyone will find an authentic and lively experience of waterways heritage as we really bring history to life.

Yes you can touch!

National Waterways Museum GloucesterWhen we refurbished the museum we had children in mind. There’s so loads for them to get their hands on, listen to and discover:

  • explore two floors of new galleries and interactive displays
  • children will be treated to fun facts along the way. With all sorts of artefacts and models telling the story of the growth, decline and regeneration of Britian's waterways – fab for studying transport, Victorians and the Industrial Revolution, as well as tourism and leisure topics
  • Cylgate, a historic boat, now offers an activity space, where children can imagine what it was like to load cargo onto a boat and listen to memories from waterway characters in the cabin 
  • children can also get stuck into our interactive dock system and experience life working in the docks with toy wagons, narrow boats and more and transport it across the dock
  • investigate different wildlife habitats as one of our brilliant team will take you on a fun wildlife trail, which runs through the museum
  • get techy with our new and exciting programme of science and engineering projects for primary school children (in conjunction with STEMworks)
  • free arts and crafts activities on the learning tables positioned around the museum and plenty of dressing up opportunities

National Waterways Museum Gloucester

Boat trip with or without our historical guide

Queen Boadicea II boat trip GloucesterYou can book boat trips with commentaries about the history of the docks, the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, and the River Severn. And for a bit of extra history - our tour boat, Queen Boadicea II, was one of the ‘little ships’ of Dunkirk and in May 1940 helped evacuate troops from the beaches of Dunkirk.

From quiz teams to coach tours

And it's not just the children who get to have all the fun. Gloucester Waterways Museum is a complete day out. You'll find lots of courios and enjoyable things to keep you and your group talking about it for years. Ask us about designing a tour to suit you, but a typical tour might include:

  • museum tour and half hour archive film about the ship canal
  • boat trip King Arthur along the Gloucester & Sharpness Ship Canal (including morning coffee and afternoon tea options or full sit down or buffet lunches and evening meals - perfect for parties)
  • time to explore Gloucester Docks and the new designer outlet shopping centre

Discounts for groups of 10 or more - go to our planning your visit pages for prices and booking details.

Last date edited: 19 April 2017