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The Manchester Ship Canal - A Canal Boat Holidays information article.

Marina(s) : Anderton Marina

Length: 36 miles
Total Locks: 5
Tunnels: 0
Aqueducts: 1

Linked to: Mersey Estuary, River Weaver, Shropshire Union Canal, Bridgewater Canal

HISTORY

The Manchester Ship Canal was opened in 1894 and was one of the last major canals to be constructed in Britain. It stretches for 36 miles from Eastham, on the southern shore of the Mersey estuary 6 miles from Liverpool, almost to the centre of Manchester. It allowed the newly created Port of Manchester to become England’s third busiest port despite it being 64km inland.

During construction the canal was subdivided into eight separate sections, with a civil engineer being made responsible for each stretch. The canal was open to navigation on 1st January 1894 and was officially opened by Queen Victoria on 21st May 1894. It took six years to complete, with an average workforce of 12,000 navvies.

Things of interest on route

National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port is situated on the banks of the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal and makes for a great family day out. The museum is home to the worlds largest collection of inland water way craft, explore the many traditional narrow boats and imagine your family living in the tiny spaces.

Designed by Thomas Telford under the direction of William Jessop, 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 round its locks, docks and warehouses and visit its forge, stables and workers cottages

The Barton Swing Aqueduct is a moveable navigable aqueduct in Barton upon Irwell in Greater Manchester. It carries the Bridgewater Canal across the Manchester Ship Canal. The swinging action allows large vessels using the Manchester Ship Canal to pass underneath and smaller canal boats to cross over the top. The Barton Swing Aqueduct is the first and only swing aqueduct in the world.

Trafford Park is an area of Greater Manchester located opposite Salford Quays and on the southern side of the Manchester Ship Canal. Trafford Park is almost entirely surrounded by water the Bridgewater Canal forms the southeastern and southwestern boundaries and the Manchester Ship Canal the northeastern and northwestern boundaries. Trafford Park has undergone major redevelopment and is now home to a huge range of retail, dining and leisure companies.

Irwell Sculpture Trail weaves it way from Bacup to Salford Quays and features over 70 works of art by local, national and international artists. The trail is the largest sculpture route in the UK and makes a great free day out for all the family.

Salford Quays is Greater Manchester's unique waterfront destination and is situated just 15 minutes by tram from Manchester city centre. Shopping, sport, art, drama and museums are all on offer at Salford Quays. The Lowry Centre is set in at a waterside location in the heart of the redeveloped Salford Quays. See the world famous works of the artist L S Lowry along with exhibitions of modern and contemporary artists.

Experience the atmosphere of one of the country's most famous clubs, Manchester City. Begin at the museum and learn about the club's 130 year history. Have a go at commentating on some of the glorious goals or relive the greatest moments on the video jukebox. Take a look behind the scenes when your tour guide will give you an insight into the day to day activities of the club or walk in the footsteps of your football hero's

Places to visit

Manchester, Runcorn, Warrington

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Canal boat holidays, the fastest way to slow down!

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