Northwich may not be the first place you think of when considering days out in England, but this Cheshire market town has plenty to offer, if you’re looking for some gentle relaxation away from the city lights of Manchester. Enjoy a mix of stunning architecture, engrossing museums and unusual attractions, which combine to create a perfect weekend away.
Anderton Boat Lift
Take a stroll along the Trent and Mersey and you’ll encounter a 19th century engineering wonder. The lift was designed by Edwin Clark and opened in 1875 to help narrowboats bridge the 50-foot gap between the canal and the Weaver Navigation. Two huge water tanks carry boats up and down using a hydraulic counter-balance. The lift operated until 1983 when the structure started to deteriorate. Following restoration, it was reopened in 2002 with a visitor’s centre added in 2003, which includes a café and a free exhibition about the history of the structure.
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Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse
Discover the industrial history of Northwich at the Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse. The building plays an important role in the history of the local area as it was once the Northwich Union Workhouse and visitors can discover what life was like for those who were forced to live there. There are also other exhibits detailing the rich history of Northwich, from the salt mining of Roman times to the boat building of the 20th century, all brought to life with films, artefacts, models and reconstructions.
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Lion Salt Works
Romans established a settlement at Northwich due to the rich salt deposits in the area. At the Lion Salt Works, you can discover the story of salt and learn about the geology of the local area and find out how the mineral is extracted. The museum is split across the buildings of the original salt works, including various stove houses, pan houses and loading areas. Through interactive exhibits, you can explore the lives of the workers and the owners of the works, and find out more about the evolution of industry within Northwich.
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Arley Hall and Gardens
Arley Hall is a stunning stately home and the residence of Viscount Ashbrook, whose family have lived within the grounds for 550 years. Experience living history through the stained-glass windows, beautiful oak-panelled walls, elaborate ceilings, ornate fireplaces and the grand staircase. The building was constructed over 13 years from 1832 onwards, and is based on a design by George Latham. The gardens are among the finest in Europe and feature a mixture of modern and traditional design, beautifully maintained over eight acres. Families can enjoy a picnic in the designated area and younger children can play in the Adventure Play Zone.
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Vale Royal Falconry Centre
Visits to the Vale Royal Falconry Centre are by appointment only, and the owners provide a warm welcome as they impart their knowledge and allow guests to get up close to the magnificent birds. There’s a range of experiences available allowing you interact with hawks, owls and falcons. The centre also hosts a family of meerkats and visitors can feed them and even spend some time inside the enclosure.
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Stockley Farm Park
Stockley Farm is still working and provides both dairy and arable production. There are plenty of great activities for children with different attractions depending on the season. During the spring and summer months, there are feeding sessions and a chance to hone animal handling skills with the lambs, piglets, chicks and ducklings. During autumn, visitors can groom the animals to help them shed their winter coats, grind wheat, make scarecrows and meet more animals in pets’ corner. With planting and sheep racing on offer too, there’s a great range of activities to keep families entertained all day.
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