National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 4FW.

The museum occupies part of a 200-year-old historic dock, originally designed by Thomas Telford. It was a major transhipment point for cargoes travelling between the port of Liverpool and the inland waterway network. It was also the industrial heart of the Ellesmere Port community. This is one of the largest and most complete dock complexes in the UK, and is well placed to tell the story of the growth of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. The museum collection further enhances our ability to tell this story through boats, buildings, objects and our archive.

KS1 Workshops

Homes from the Past

Pupils become characters from the past, dressing up, learning about dock life and visiting the homes they would have lived in. (2 hrs)

Narrow Boat Art

Pupils learn about the origins of canal art. They visit a traditional narrowboat, design and make a range of arts & crafts, and use these to decorate a life-sized narrowboat cabin. (1 hr 30 mins).

Maps Workshop

A hands-on activity that helps children understand how the inland waterway network connects us to the Irish Sea and the wider world. (1hr)

KS2 Workshops

Maps Workshop

This focusses on Local History and Geography. Pupils use geographic observation, visit our archive, explore historic maps and aerial photographs AND create their own giant map, showing why Ellesmere Port is a window on the world. (1 hr 30 mins)

Canal Maintenance Workshop

This STEM focussed activity includes a lock demonstration and investigates erosion and water quality. 1hr 20mins

Tours and Demonstrations

Walking Tour

Enjoy a guided walk around the museum, themed to a topic of your choice. (45 mins-1 hr)

Boat Trip

Hop aboard our 12 seater trip boat for a voyage through the locks. (Can be combined with a lock demonstration).

Blacksmith Demonstration

Watch our blacksmith at work and take a memento back to school. (20-30 mins)

Lock Demonstration

See how locks work and learn about their purpose. (20-30 mins)

Self-led visits

A self-led visit to the museum is good value and allows you to plan your own itinerary. It is still important that you book your visit and let us know about any equipment you would like to use, as well as any particular needs your group has.

Self-Led Activity for EYFS

Porthole Trail

Book up to 15 trails incorporating EYFS-linked activities. The trail focusses on people and jobs within the docks. (1 hr)

Self-Led Activity for KS1

Explorers backpacks: Book up to 15 backpacks for your group and use the resources within to explore the wide variety of exhibits, objects and buildings across the site. A teacher's pack will be sent out to you prior to your visit, containing all the information you need to use these effectively with your group. (2 hrs)

Self-Led Activity for KS2

Interactive NWMuseum app: Download this before you arrive, or on the day of your visit from Google Play or Apple store. The app helps pupils explore the historic slipway, meet characters who would have lived and worked in the docks and learn about the importance of Ellesmere Port to the rest of the world. We have four iPad minis (with the app pre-loaded) available to book if needed. (1 hr)


Indoor and outdoor picnic area, toilets (including disabled toilets), café, shop and coach parking.

All the main exhibitions, activities and buildings are wheelchair accessible (the boat trip is not fully wheelchair accessible).


Admission: £5 per pupil

Admission (local rate)*: £2.50 per pupil; Volunteer-led activities £1 per pupil; Tours and Demonstrations £1 per pupil.

Self-led activities: free of charge.

Boat trips: £1 per person (pupils, teachers/assistants).

* If your school is within the CH64, CH65 or CH66 postcodes, you qualify as a local school and can access our discounted local rate.