Visitor Centre at Anderton Boat Lift

For a fantastic family day out, visit Anderton Boat Lift and our visitor centre. Find out how this amazing lift works and why it was so important.

Anderton interactive exhibition Anderton interactive exhibition

Like all great things, the concept of Anderton's lift is simple: two huge water tanks called 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

Yes, 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 we have a cinematic centrepiece.

You can even see the lift control centre where 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. Each caisson lifts and lowers the tank 50 feet in the air - that's a lot of weight!

Anderton Boat Lift

Last date edited: 17 February 2022