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“A perfect traditional museum”

National Waterways Museum
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Enjoy a day out by the canal in Cheshire, where time slows down and history comes to life. Designed by the great civil engineer Thomas Telford, the docks at Ellesmere Port were still in use as late as the 1950s. They were a marvellously self-contained world and when you visit the museum today you can still walk around its locks, docks and warehouses and visit its forge, stables and workers cottages. There's so much to explore from the handsome Victorian buildings, which house the museum's fascinating displays, to the locks and moorings, home to colourful historic and visiting narrow boats. With world-class attractions and a year-round events calendar featuring everything from beer festivals to historic boat rallies, there's always a reason to visit.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A perfect traditional museum”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

The museum is an excellent day out for all the family. The fact that the museum is set out in a very traditional way adds to the enjoyment and helps to understand how life was on the canals. I would recommend this to anyone as a good value day out, especially for anyone interested in British History or The Industrial revolution. The engine room was fascinating.

Visited June 2014
Thank Rob C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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336 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Chester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Christmas fun”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

Each year they run the 'Santa Special' barge trips. The grotto and barge are very well presented, and Father Christmas takes time out of his busy schedule

Visited December 2013
Thank gentlemanthug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grove City, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
91 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“An ethusiasts museum in need of a professional polish”
Reviewed 3 June 2014

We went to this museum as part of a course on engineering technology before heading on a canal boat for three subsequent days. It was an interesting museum although I think there is much that could be improved. An earlier reviewer noted something was "missing" - and I think that's a needed overhaul/professional touch on the museum.

You can tell that this museum, dependent on donations, is filled with people who love the canals of England and the ethos of being a part of the waterways. That comes through in spades throughout the museum, from the number of boats they have reconditioned (depending on volunteers) to the scores of boats they have waiting to recondition once they have the funds. The problem, from a visitor's standpoint, is that the museums are not well laid out. There is a lot of information here but it is scattered throughout and really doesn't have a good coherence to the exhibits and the path a visitor is supposed to take. For example, I ended up tracing the deconstruction of a ship, rather than its construction, since I went in at the end of this exhibit and went backwards through it. At another point I was reading about the beginning surveying of the canals and then wandered to a video about the Manchester Canal in the 1970s. It felt a bit like an Applebee's restaurant with all sort of "stuff" scattered about the walls.

There is a great story to be told here in terms of the waterways of Britain, their history, and the great deal of love that still remains for them. The problem is this museum is a bit of a stream-of-consciousness novel in need of an editor. Someone in charge needs to harness what they have in the museum to make better use of it and better establish a vision for what the story is they want to tell about the Ellesmere canal. Once they do that I think a lot of the issues that leads to a disjointed experience would be solved.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank RobC614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
40 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“great day out”
Reviewed 9 May 2014

Went with my son and 4yr old granddaughter. We enjoyed it immensely, the biggest problem was getting the little one away from the attractions, she wanted to play house in the barges, and just loved doing everything.

Staff were all very friendly and helpful, and the prices were very reasonable in the cafe.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank cheshiresuzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
59 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great day out”
Reviewed 15 April 2014

A really good day out for young & old. Lots of interesting things to look at, working boats & volunteers with a wealth of knowledge they're happy to share. A good fair priced cafe too. If you go away from the museum you look over the Mersey & you can sometimes see working ships traveling up the canal (Manchester ship canal?)

Visited August 2013
1 Thank LolOC74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Ellesmere Port, Cheshire

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