Victorian ChristmasSteam engines, choirs and brass bands, will be part of the noisy and warm welcome to visitors to the Lion Salt Works Museum’s first Victorian Christmas weekend on 5 – 6 December. The Museum’s magical festive weekend, staged at its atmospheric and newly-restored site, is full of exciting events aimed to appeal to the whole family. Almost all the events are free of charge, including meeting the most important visitor of all – Father Christmas.

Open from 10.30-4pm on Saturday and Sunday, free activities include:

• A visit to Father Christmas in his Winter Wonderland Grotto in the Museum’s Butterfly Garden. Children just need to follow the fairy lights and bring any letters they want to share with him.

• Family Craft Activities will be available in the spectacular, historic setting of the Thompson suite where children will be able to make a wide range of traditional items, such as Christmas cards and paper chain decorations as well as writing letters to Father Christmas. Courtesy of Saltscape, Santa Christmas decorations can also be made.

• Three historic steam engines, courtesy of Clive Hearsey and local steam enthusiasts. The machines will be in full steam during the day and their owners on hand to talk about their engines. The engines on display will be tow Burrell double clutch compound speed locos, “Lady Louise’ and “Alexander” as well as ‘Bessie’ a scale model tractor engine.

• Visitors will also have the chance to find out about traditional crafts such as bodging (wood-turning), weaving, spinning. felt-making and crocheting.

• As the Lion Salt Works is the last open-pan salt-making site in the country and one of only four in the world, nowhere else in the UK can visitors enjoy learning how to make salt over an open pan in its original, historic location.

• Christmas shoppers can enjoy browsing in the Museum’s well-stocked shop which features gifts such as the new contemporary butterfly jewellery collection, bags, books and some special items made from rock salt.

• The Museum’s café offers light refreshments, including its Christmas speciality Emma’s Winter Gingerbread latte. The cafe is ideally located overlooking the imaginatively-themed play area, giving adults a chance to have a coffee while the youngsters play.
In addition to these activities, on Saturday 5 December, visitors will have the chance to see:
• In full voice, local carol singers from the Rivendell Choir, will be getting everyone into the Christmas spirit by singing traditional carols.

• The evocative sound of the Cheshire Brass Band playing seasonal music will take place between 11.30 – 2pm.

On Sunday 6 December, visitors have the opportunity of paying to see an enchanting production of “Letters Through Your Door’” at 2.30pm. Created by award-winning song writer, David Gibb, this hour-long performance is a fun and exciting show. It is packed full of catchy and toe-tapping songs as well as drawing on children’s traditional songs from across the world.

The show is suitable for 4-11 year-olds and costs £6 for adults and £4 for under 16 year-olds. Family tickets** are also available. Show tickets will also be able to get 25% off entry to the Lion Salt Works Museum on the day.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The Lion Salt Works is a unique set of buildings and is a simply magical setting for a Victorian Christmas. It is hard to convey just how atmospheric the site is without going along. I hope everyone takes this opportunity of making it along to the Museum for this special festive event.”

To book tickets call the Lion Salt Works on 01606 275040.