History on the Waterways

The National Waterways Museum is located on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey in Ellesmere Port.

Regularly, cargo ships pass by the museum delivering goods to the UK and provide great photo opportunities.

The seven-acre site takes visitors back in time with Victorian buildings, docks, locks among many Grade II listed buildings.

Historic canal buildings at the museum line the Shropshire Union Canal which has double locks that take the boats through its centre. Several old barges and canal boats stand dormant for visitors to admire, including a concrete boat.

There is a large collection of canal boats that visitors can explore along with working engines in the Power Hall exhibit.

In the old days, the canal boats were pulled by horse along the canal.  On specific days one of the boats is towed along the canal by a horse.

Porters Row cottages allow visitors to see what life was like for the families who lived around the docks.After a bite to eat and a relaxing drink in the cafe, visitors can climb aboard a canal boat for a 30-minute journey down the canal for a small charge which includes a history talk by the staff.  Along the journey, there is artwork to see under one of the bridges while at the turnaround point there is a derelict bridge that was once a rail track that took carts back and forth from a place of work.
The museum is located near to Cheshire Oaks, which is off the M56 motorway.


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