A guide to canalside museums

28th December 2023

With many scenic canalside towns and cities across the UK, some are home to artistic and historical museums and galleries just a short distance away from the waterways. From industrial pasts to movie sets and everything in between – there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Take a look at our top canalside museum picks in this helpful guide!

Top canalside museums

The Black Country Living Museum

Step back in time and experience the delights of the Black Country through rebuilt and replicated houses, shops, workshops and experiences. With plenty of things to do and see, from mine tours, a 1920s cinema or taking a ride on one of the many heritage vehicles on offer – the magic of this historical museum is brought to life by the many costumed characters demonstrating how life was truly lived in that period. We highly recommend popping into the infamous confectionary store for those with a sweet tooth and enjoy a bag of 1930s traditional recipe chips, whilst strolling through various Peaky Blinders filming locations.

Route: The Black Country Ring (anticlockwise) from Gailey Marina

The National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port

This seven-acre site is home to a collection of history via the waterways. Perfect for the whole family, there is a whole host of thing to see and do. Why not take an audio trail tour to learn more about the history and lives of the canal people, go wildlife spotting or take in the views of the many Grade II listed buildings.

Route: Chester or Ellesmere and return from Anderton Marina

The Leeds Industrial Museum

Take a look at the steep history that helped shaped what Leeds is today, from the many changing exhibitions that are inspired by a theme from the Leeds Industrial Museum’s vast collection of events that run throughout the year. Explore recreated Victorian homes, a whole host of steam engines, a 1920’s cinema and blossoming gardens. A great day out for the whole family.

Route: Cheshire Boating Holidays from Anderton Marina

The Hepworth Wakefield Museum

Named after the famous British sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, this extraordinary modern gallery features various exhibitions from other artists. After exploring the art on show and taking a stroll around the gardens, stop off for a tea or coffee at the Hepworth Wakefield café and get a souvenir to remember your visit at the gift shop.

Route: The Pennine Ring from Anderton Marina

Featured Route

Stoke Bruerne & Return from Springwood Haven

On this rural cruise, you can explore a range of different museums on your travels. This route features the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum, the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery as well as the Canal Museum in Stoke Bruerne – for plenty to see and do!

Find out more about our canal routes, narrowboat or more today. Get in touch with our friendly team to book your next canal boat holiday with us.

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