This family-friendly museum, housed in a restored nineteenth century warehouse at the junction of three canals, is the perfect place to have fun whilst exploring local history. Tameside was once a centre for the cotton industry, coal mining and transport, as well as farming, and there isn’t a better place to experience it all under one roof.
We took a group of children aged from four to ten and they all found something that engaged them. There are many interactive exhibits throughout the museum from butter churning to taking a look inside the 1920s canal boat. Our children loved getting dressed up in glamorous film star costumes and trying on all the different styles of hats. There were some interesting smells to try and identify too, most of which resulted in giggles and shrieking. For the under fives there is a ‘Nuts and Bolts’ educational play area, and there was a drop-in craft activity session on the day we went.
The highlight for our children was stepping back in time in the 1920s street; complete with church, schoolroom, doctor’s surgery, shops and a pub. We couldn’t drag them away from the schoolroom as they re-enacted a 1920s school day, all taking turns to be a very strict teacher!
Outside there are moorings for canal boats. If it’s sunny, you could take a lovely walk along the canal, or even a boat trip. Keep a close eye on young children near the deep water though. We ate at the Bridgeview Café in the museum. It was good value and had a large selection of hot and cold meals for children and adults alike. The coffee was great too!
There is a big free car park directly outside. Signposting to the Portland Basin Museum isn’t brilliant so, if you’re not familiar with the area, work out your route before you set off. Definitely worth a visit!
Oct-June Tues-Sun 10am-4pm, July-Sept 10am-5pm,
closed Mon except Bank Hols. Admission free.
Portland Basin Museum, Portland Place,
Ashton-under-Lyne OL7 0QA
Tel: 0161 343 2878 tameside.gov.uk