Anderton Boat Lift

Anderton Boat Lift

Lift Lane, Anderton, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6FW.

What is the Anderton Boat Lift?

The astonishing Anderton Boat Lift is one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways. One of only two working boat lifts in the UK, it moved boats between the Trent & Mersey Canal and the River Weaver Navigation about 14 metres (50 ft) below. It was built in 1875, to shorten journeys by cutting out the old route via the Bridgewater Canal. Boats were lifted up, two at a time, in giant tanks of water. Genius!

A trip to Anderton Boat Lift provides a unique, cross-curricular learning experience focusing on river studies, history and STEM. Each trip includes a boat trip and choice of free workshop plus a guided tour or self-led trail.


KS2 River Studies

Explore the River Weaver from its source to its mouth, incorporating geography and history through hands on activities.

KS2 Local History

Investigate how and why the canal and lift was built, and discover the national importance of Northwich. Pupils will be set the challenge of proving or disproving the statement ‘Northwich was the centre of the industrial world’ by the end of the day.

KS1 & KS2 Art: Is the Anderton Boat Lift a Work of Art?

This workshop examines the boat lift as a work of art, through colour, line and texture. Children look at the work of other artists who have been inspired by it, to help them produce their own interpretation in different media to take home.

KS3 Hydraulics

Students can learn about hydraulic systems and how they are used to power the Anderton Boat Lift. This includes a practical investigation on hydraulic pressure and experimenting with a hydraulic crane.

Boat Lift Tour

What is a boat lift? How does it work? Join us for a tour of the site to answer these questions and more. Visit the pump room to see the hydraulic rams, step into the river gate control house for a look at how the boat lift was once powered by electricity and go behind the scenes to the control room where all the technology happens.

KS1 & KS2 Self Guided Trails: The Boat Lift Inspector’s Trail

This trail puts children in role as the lift inspector and asks them to complete their duties. It takes them round the grounds of the Anderton Boat Lift and nearby Northwich Woodlands.

Boat Trips

April to October inclusive. 

Boat Lift and River Trip 1hr

This trip enables children to experience the Anderton Boat Lift in action. The glass-roofed boat provides the opportunity to see the workings of the lift safely, while enjoying a guided commentary on the history, working and construction of the lift. Travel along the River Weaver Navigation on a round trip to Northwich Town Swing Bridge with a guided commentary focusing on local history and wildlife. 


Anderton Boat Lift is fully accessible including the trip boat.

  • Dedicated classroom space with an amazing view of the Anderton Boat Lift
  • Outdoor picnic benches and indoor lunch space
  • Coffee shop
  • Gift shop
  • Coach parking
  • Free preliminary visits and website resources


Lift and river trip with workshop: £8.50 per child (5 - 15yrs)

Adults within 1:8 adult:child ratio: Free

Learning Resources

Use the following resources to support learning on your trip and back in the classroom:

Anderton Boat Lift Fact File

Anderton Boat Lift Inspector's Trail

All About Canals

All About Rivers

Find out more about Anderton Boat Lift.