Mixing Salt & Art Along the Mid Cheshire Line

18 August 2017

Guest blogger and seasoned traveller Neil Garlick explores the Iconic Artwork exhibition at the Lion Salt Works in Cheshire.

By Neil Garlick

We joined our Northern train at Manchester Piccadilly that would take us along the Mid Cheshire Line to Lostock Gralam, the gateway station to the Lion Salt Works.

I brought a book to read to pass the time whilst on the train but I didn't pick it up once. I was captivated by the picturesque scenery we were travelling through. We passed Knutsford, a quaint Cheshire town that I've previously had the pleasure of visiting. You can just see a part of its bustling high street full of unique independent shops, from the train.

Lostock Gralam Railway Station Gateway to The Lion Salt Works Welcome Sign
Lostock Gralam Station - Gateway to The Lion Salt Works

Just a short 50 minutes after leaving Manchester we arrived at Lostock Gralam Station. We had heard (through the Mid Cheshire Line website) there was a walking trail from the station that would take us along the Trent and Mersey Canal direct to the Lion Salt Works so, as it was a warm sunny day, we decided to give it a go.

It was great to stretch our legs after sitting on the train especially with the sun shining, it almost felt like summer! As we approached the Lion Salt Works you could see the narrow boats parked up – what an exciting way to get to an attraction, by boat!

After our 45-minute walk we treated ourselves to a coffee and a well-deserved slice of cake from the Lion Salt Works Café. We were excited to get exploring after seeing the interesting photographs on the wall so after finishing our drinks and a quick look around the gift shop we bought our tickets and made our way into the museum.

As soon as we entered the first stove house we were transported back in time to discover the origins of traditional salt making.

We made our way through the old converted stove houses and soon came across Pan House 3.

This impressive display helped us to imagine and experience what the working conditions would have been like inside the salt works in its heyday.

We continued exploring and learnt more fascinating facts about the salt making process.

Pan House 3 Display
Pan House 3 Display
Some of the impressive artwork on display
Some of the impressive artwork on display

Then we came across the Iconic Artwork exhibition that we had heard so much about.

These 1930's inspired posters, commission by the Mid Cheshire Line and designed by artist Nicky Thompson, really evoke the Golden Age of British travel. It was amazing to see the artwork in such a captivating location.

It was sadly now time to leave but before we headed off home we stopped off at the gift shop to purchase some Iconic Artwork postcards and posters for ourselves (the hardest thing was deciding which poster design was our favourite!). And of course, we just had to buy a tub of souvenir salt!

A steady stroll back to Lostock Gralam in the sunshine and we were soon on the train our way back to Manchester after an exciting day out.

Our train back to Manchester Piccadilly
Our train back to Manchester Piccadilly

There was still so much left to see: Weaver Hall Museum, Tatton Park, Stockport Hat Museum, the Anderton Boat Lift and Grosvenor Museum were just a small selection of places we had on our Mid Cheshire Line bucket list!

Click here to discover more about the Mid Cheshire Line...

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