Visitor centre at Standedge Tunnel

Today we know it as one of the must-see wonders of our waterways, much loved by boaters and canalside visitors alike. But the story behind this amazing feat of engineering is one of lack of money, egos, indecision and death.

Standedge visitor centre interior Standedge visitor centre interior

Opening times

 Everyday Closed During the Winter, except for special events
You will notice that we no longer have our soft play area in the museum gallery. After a health and safety review, we didn’t feel this was the right activity to be in the museum. You will however find outdoors, a play area that has been lovingly cared for by our volunteers, along with a sensory garden to explore.

We often have weddings on the weekend, please call ahead on 01484 242792 to double check that our visitor centre is open on the day you want to visit.

It's free to visit our visitor centre

free to get into StandedgeAt the Marsden end of the tunnel, our visitor centre tells the story of the tunnel, from its planning through 200+ year’s of history. Including the fascinating story of its rescue, restoration and reopening in 2001.

With a special selection items on loan from our designated museum collection and films showing the story of the local people, our centre brings the Standedge Tunnel to life and challenges you to think again about your waterways.

Designated museum collection

Designated museum collection logoDesignated of national importance by Arts Council England, most of our ‘museum collection’ is housed between the two National Waterways Museums in Ellesmere Port and Gloucester. However, you'll also find treasured items on loan at Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre, the Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne and here at Standedge.

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.

Meet the engineers

Come and meet the engineers and navvies that designed and built this impossible tunnel.

Benjamin Outram was the consulting engineer for the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. When he was asked to design a tunnel to travel beneath the great moors between Huddersfield and Oldham, near Manchester, he was confident that such an undertaking would not present any difficulties. After all, he was the architect for the great Marple Aqueduct on the Peak District Canal. But the building of any tunnel is inevitably plagued by setbacks and grave losses. Despite his many endeavors, it was not Benjamin who took the glory as builder of the world longest canal tunnel.

Discover full the story and why Standedge became the world’s most expensive canal tunnel at our visitor centre.

Want to get involved at Standedge Tunnel?

How do you fancy being part of the team at the longest, highest and deepest canal tunnel in the country? Go to our volunteer pages to find out all you need to know about the ins and outs of volunteering and how you can get involved now. For instance, right now, we’re on the lookout for:

  • Ticket seller
  • Museum assistant
  • Site ranger
  • Gardening assistant
  • Events volunteer
  • Visitor Centre guide and story teller

Please contact if you have any questions.

Find out more

Call: 01484 242792
Or go to our volunteering page below:

Last date edited: 28 March 2022