National Waterways Museum, in Gloucester, reopens

Lifting of lockdown restrictions means that one of Gloucester’s landmark historic buildings will once more be welcoming visitors this week.

Children enjoying interactive displays at the National Waterways Museum Gloucester Interactive displays at the National Waterways Museum Gloucester

The National Waterways Museum, Gloucester, will reopen from 10am on Tuesday 18 May.

Preparing for reopening

The museum has been closed since November. While the exhibition galleries have been quiet, the team has been busy. Museum volunteers have been delving into the archives to prepare an exhibition of photos and videos showcasing Gloucester Docks and the museum through the decades. The exhibition will be housed in the museum’s floating gallery – the barge Sabrina 5.

Museum volunteers have also been working hard getting the site ready for 18 May. And the Trust is keen to get more volunteers involved in museum activities from welcoming visitors on guided tours to working with school visits. All the volunteering opportunities can be found on the Trust website.

On the museum’s quayside, two new eco-friendly exhibits are planned – a totem pole and bench that, by turning a handle, visitors can listen to fascinating facts about the museum, local history and wildlife.

Any museum visit is not complete without a refreshment break and a new kitchen, installed over winter, is ready to offer sandwiches, hot food, and afternoon teas.  

It is hoped that the museum’s own Dunkirk Little Ship, Queen Boadicea II, will back in action later in July. The historic boat has had a major make-over, with new seating and bar area ready for visitors to enjoy refreshments while listening to the brand new commentary on this leisurely 45 minute trip along the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal.

Opening times and entry

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

Tickets give unlimited return visits for 12 months and cost: Adult (16+) £8.50; Child (6-15) £5.00; Child (5 and under) Free; Family £20.00; Concession £7.50.

More than pleased to be back

Anna Finn, our interim destination & attractions manager, said “It’s been frustrating for the museum to be closed, so we’re more than pleased to be back.

“The Canal & River Trust team has been busily working to get ready for the reopening and to ensure our visitors enjoy a warm and safe welcome. Our wonderful building is helping us  - we’re in a historic warehouse with masses of space and we’ve moved things around to maximise the room for social distancing.

“Arrows guide you around the fascinating displays that tell the story of the Gloucester Docks, the Severn and the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. Outside our new seating area is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the view across the square. There are takeaway refreshments from our café and visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics if they are buying a drink from us. And I’m especially looking forward to the cream teas!

“Things may look a little bit different but we promise you a warm welcome and a fascinating visit.”