Visitor Centre at Anderton Boat Lift

How do you connect a river that's 50 feet below a canal that's up a steep embankment? Come to that - why would you want to connect them? Find out on your visit to our visitor centre.

Anderton interactive exhibition Anderton interactive exhibition

Like all great things, the concept is simple: two huge water tanks (caissons), each with watertight sealable doors, carry boats up and down. The original counter-balanced system was replaced in 1908 by electric operation, but the lift now works hydraulically again.

Free entrance to our visitor centre

free to get into StandedgeYes, it's completely free to visit us. Our lower level houses the exhibition, looking at the lift’s history and the people who worked on and around it. There's lots of interactive, hands on elements and our cinematic centrepiece.

You can even see the lift control centre! You can watch all the busy goings on during its daily schedule.

You’ll be able to explore the history of the local area and learn about the origins of the saying ‘any man worth his salt’, as well as uncover some of the fascinating artifacts from our designated ‘museum collection’.

Designated museum collection

Designated museum collection logoDesignated of national importance by Arts Council England, most of our ‘museum collection’ is housed within the National Waterway Museum at Ellesmere Port and Gloucester. However, you can also find important, treasured items on loan here at Anderton as well as Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre and at the Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne. Together it forms the most comprehensive collection that tells the story of Britain’s canals and navigable rivers over the last 300 hundred years. The collection consists of over 12,000 objects – including 68 historic boats and the national waterways archive.

Our boat trips are back

See our boat trip pages and walking the lift tour pages for more details on these.

Just one of the two caissons on the Boat Lift weighs 252 tonnes - that's the equivalent of two and a half empty Boeing 757 planes (before fuelling, passengers and cargo). Each caisson lifts and lowers the tank 50 feet in the air - that's a lot of weight!

Anderton Boat Lift

Get involved and volunteer here

Love history? Tick. Love going up in the world? Tick. Have a big smile? Tick.

We already have a frankly magnificent team of over 50 volunteers and Canal & River Trust colleagues who work tirelessly together to support and develop this unique peice of Victorian and industrial heritage. Not just for the local community but for the whole country.

However, as a charity, we can only stretch so far. So if you want to get involved - no matter how much time you think you can give - go to our volunteering page now.

Last date edited: 8 August 2021