Anderton Boat Lift
- Dating back to 1875, the Anderton Boat Lift is a vast iron structure in Northwich, Chesire which connects the River Weaver with the Trent and Mersey Canal via a vertical 50-foot boat lift.
- Living up to its nickname of Cathedral of the Canals, this impressive feat of engineering is not only awe-inspiring in scale and technology but also provides a fantastic day out for the whole family.
- The Anderton Boat Lift features a free Visitor Centre full of museum artefacts, interactive exhibits and cinematic experiences as well as a delightful coffee shop on-site offering panoramic views of the waterways.
Don’t miss the wonderful array of events taking place at the Anderton Marina throughout the year, including firework displays and family canal boat trips.
Named as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’, the Anderton Boat Lift is an epic and innovative engineering structure sitting on the banks of the River Weaver. Constructed in 1875 by Edwin Clark and revamped in 1908 with new electrical operations, this canal boat lift was designed to connect the River Weaver with the waterways lying 50 feet below, at the Trent and Mersey Canal. To carry boats up this connecting steep embankment, the Anderton Boat Lift was constructed using two 90-tonne caissons - sealable water tanks - to lift the boats up and down between the two working waterways. This 60-foot high, spider-like iron structure has now become an institution of Northwich and one of the best places to visit in Cheshire for a fascinating family day out.
The ingenious engineering and almighty architecture of the Anderton Boat Lift are not just things to be admired from afar. Their wonderful Visitor Centre lets you learn all about the history of the boat lift, the people who helped construct it and how and why it was built in the first place. This free museum collection features hands-on interactive activities as well as a video centrepiece to watch the history unfold on. You can even take a visit to the lift control centre to see all the busy daily action of the waterway for yourself, on which the Anderton Boat Lift still operates on today.
Outside of the exhibition, kids will love Anderton’s Let’s Play! area, a wonderful outdoor playground themed all around the waterways, the boat lift and the local River Weaver environment. Designed as a similar, miniature version of the Anderton Boat Lift itself, the Let’s Play! area features a brickwork bridge, mooring red canal boat and immersive control area all atop a watery blue surface to help the little ones’ imaginations run wild. This charming playground is also the starting point of the canal lift’s discovery nature trail, a picturesque woodland walk that leads visitors into the neighbouring Anderton Nature Park. Be sure to make time for the Anderton Boat Lift Coffee Shop during your visit too, which serves delicious lunches, cakes and coffees in both indoor and outdoor seating areas and offers superb views of the canals on its balcony viewing platform and through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The adjoining Gift Shop also sells historic heritage souvenirs and tons of children’s favourites from books and games to canal toys and local sweets.
Much more than just a work of engineering, there is so much on offer at the Anderton Boat Lift throughout the year. Parents and teens over 16 can dare the dizzy heights of the Walking The Lift Tour, and families can take a ride on the canal lift before cruising down the River Weaver with Anderton’s various boat trip tickets. If you’re visiting with young kids, make sure you download the free canal activity guides on offer for a whole package of family exercises and water wildlife projects.
The Anderton Boat Lift has become one of the most beloved places to go in Cheshire for families and sits amongst a network of other great Northwich Museums, including the National Waterway Museum, the Canal Museum and the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre.
What to know before you go
- The Anderton Boat Lift Coffee Shop on site offers light lunches, soups, panini's, cakes and drinks as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options with spectacular views of the River Weaver. Nearby you can also find The Moorings Restaurant and Bar which serves Sunday lunches, afternoon teas and a varied dinner menu. There are also multiple picnic spots dotted around the Anderton Boat Lift garden with benches dotted around the lift.
- The Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre is fully accessible with level access at the entrance and reception area, coffee shop, gift shop and toilets. There is a lift facilitating the lower level exhibition area. Wheelchairs can be hired for free but require a £10 deposit which is refunded upon return.
- The exhibition area features interpretation boards, induction loops for the Audio Video and displays at accessible wheelchair height.
- The Let’s Play! area is also accessible for buggies and wheelchair users.
- Assistance dogs are welcome throughout the centre, but other pets are only permitted on the viewing area at the top basin of the Boat Lift.
- Toilets can be found in the Visitor Centre as well as accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities.
- The Anderton Boat Lift is found on the River Weaver between the areas of Winnington and Marbury.
- There is a car park on site managed by Cheshire & West Chester Council which is just £3 for the whole day and has Blue Badge parking spots.
- The nearest train station to the venue is Northwich Station, which is a 15-minute car or taxi ride away.
- Regular buses run to and from Northwich, and the closest stops to the Anderton are at the Post Office on Marbury Road, which serves the 9A route.
- The Anderton Boat Lift can also be accessed via the Heritage Cycle Trail.