Portland Basin – Ashton-under-Lyne

Portland Basin – Ashton-under-Lyne

Sunday was wet and miserable – I don’t think the sun managed to peek through the clouds for even just a second. We were at a bit of a loss as to what to do. Both Damian and I have been feeling pretty run down of late and the prospect of trudging around a cold wet park wasn’t very appealing.

We decided to head to Portland Basin Museum in Ashton-under-Lyne. I’ve actually been a good few times with the children, but Damian has never been so we thought we might as well while away an hour or so there.

Portland Basin Museum

We got there and it was really quiet – surprisingly so. I thought given the weather that it would have been much busier.

The museum is split into two main areas, a social history area and an industrial heritage area. We headed first to the social history bit and had a good wander around.  This really is done well and has lots of scenes set up including an old school room, an old grocery store, church, pub and doctors. It also tells the social history of the Ashton and the wider Tameside area and puts it into a national context too.


Portland Basin Museum Grocery store

Portland Basin Museum pub

It’s nice to walk down the cobbled paths and take a look around how things might have once looked.

portland basin

portland basin chip shop

There are lots of signs about the area which give an insight into the era – lots of things about women and what they could do in their efforts to help in the war as well as signs about workers and signs like those below which were in the Doctor’s room.

Portland Basin Museum

We then headed down to the industrial heritage area – Mr D and Miss E enjoy this as there are animals models as well as a model area that shows how transport has changed from horses to cars (with canal boats and trains in between).

Portland Basin Museum model railway

We had a walk outside to take a look at the old water wheel and the canal boats. Had it been a nicer day we would have taken a stroll along the canal too, but it was pretty miserable and we didn’t have wellies or the such on. We headed back inside to get a coffee from the onsite cafe (which is very reasonably priced) before heading home.

Portland Basin Museum

Portland Basin Museum

There was a large display are advertising some of the many things that take place in the museum as well as the wider Tameside area. There is a toddler group that meets on Thursday morning (but sadly clashes with our footytotz sessions). There were also posters for a series of walks that are organised across the borough that really do sound very interesting and will be something that I think Damian and I will look at – the shorter ones though!


Portland Basin, Ashton is a great palce to visit. Lots of information about social history and of course a walk along the canal


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