The charity making life better by water

Ellesmere Port reopens to visitors on Thursday 20 May

Our National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port reopens to visitors on Thursday 20 May with a host of new attractions, after more than a year of closure due to the coronavirus lockdown.

National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, with the canal in the foreground

An amazing new floating garden, audio trail and extra outdoor café seating have been added to the fantastic boating displays on offer at the seven acre, former docklands site, on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal and the Shropshire Union Canal. On Saturday 29 May, they will also be joined by an extensive new children's play area.

Canal Town

Initially the museum will be open four days a week, Thursday – Sunday. And on most Sundays throughout the summer, starting on 27 June, the museum will be transformed into a living heritage ‘Canal Town'. This will give visitors the extra special experience of being transported back in time to the global port heydays of the late 19th century.

Old ship warehouses, Victorian toll houses, worker cottages, locks, docks and stables will be brought alive by special set-dressing and volunteers offering free guided tours, storytelling, street games, family history, dressing-up and children's activities.

Our activities

Throughout the summer months, the museum will also host a series of activity programmes, including Let's Fish! free angling taster sessions, Let's Walk! guided tours, Let's Stretch! family yoga sessions and Let's Paddle! canoeing activities.

Stunning visual waterway images by our first photographer-in-residence Jonathan Goldberg will also be on display and a range of fascinating boating artefacts from the museum's extensive collection will provide a window on a lost maritime world.

Creating a new biodiverse habitat

“We are particularly excited to watch the development of our new floating garden, in the shape of a narrowboat, funded by the support of players of the People's Postcode Lottery. This will create a new biodiverse habitat for dozens of different species of flora and fauna, including dragonflies, pollinators and water insects.

“All our museum buildings and staff will adopt the current government covid-19 guidance to provide visitors with an uplifting, enjoyable and safe experience. Let's hope that we now have a permanent pathway out of lockdown and we won't have to take the terrible decision to shut our doors to the public again. Please come and give us your support – we would love to see you!”

Our National Waterways museum, grounds, café and shop will be open Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm, from 20 May. For more information about visiting, ‘Canal Town' dates, special events and activities, visit our National Waterways Muesum page. Adult tickets cost £9.75, children £6 and families £25.

Our sister visitor attraction in Cheshire, the Anderton Boat Lift, is currently open on Saturdays and Sunday only, 10am-4pm, for access to the grounds and takeaway refreshments. The visitor centre is expected to open later in May and boat trips restart in mid-summer.

For the latest visitor information go to our Anderton Boat Lift vistor centre page.


We'd love to tell you more

Our newsletter is packed full of exciting updates and stories of how our charity keeps canals alive.

Last Edited: 14 May 2021

photo of a location on the canals
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