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Visitor Centre at Anderton Boat Lift

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

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 50 feet (over 15 metres) between the River Weaver navigation and the Trent and Mersey Canal.

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.

The original counter-balanced system was replaced in 1908 by electric operation, but the lift now works hydraulically again.

Free entrance

The lower level of our visitor centre houses an exhibition, looking at the lift’s history and the people who worked on and around it. There are 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 artefacts from our designated museum collection.

Within our visitor centre is our coffee and gift shop and you can book tickets for a boat trip or Walking the Lift Tour here too, although we do recommend booking online.

Playground and picnic

The grounds outside the visitor centre are free to access and there is a children’s boat lift themed playground and it is from here that the Nature and Discovery Trail starts. There are also picnic areas where you can enjoy your own food or food bought at our coffee shop.

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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

Designated museum collection

Designated 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.

Last Edited: 16 April 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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