This coming weekend (June 4 and 5) there will be lots of free events for all the family to celebrate the first anniversary of the six-times award-winning Lion Salt Works Museum near Northwich.

The interactive museum run by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) is based on the site of the 1894 salt works which only closed in 1986 having served markets around the world.

And the surrounding landscape, shaped by the presence of salt and the dumping of lime waste by the chemical industry, has also formed a unique environment in which unusual plant and wildlife thrives making it ideal for people to explore and relax.

Related story: Watch: Going underground at Cheshire salt mine

So the first anniversary is not only a celebration of the £10m restoration of the museum thanks to a £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is a celebration of how the extraction of salt back to prehistoric times, a substance once known as ‘white gold’, is now the basis of environmental, cultural and heritage activities at a 'salt hub' that is enhancing lives.

Visitors enjoying the salt cycle display at Cheshire's Lion Salt Works Museum near Northwich

Coinciding with the Cheshire-wide ‘Amazed by Science’ festival, the museum's first birthday weekend will feature lots of free family fun, including an imaginative Science Ceilidh on Saturday afternoon (1.30pm – 3.30pm).

Admission charges to the museum will still apply over the weekend but all activities will be free of charge and will not require entry to the attraction to be enjoyed.

Events include:

■ A chance to explore ‘Saturn’, an historic narrowboat moored adjoining the museum

■ Guided walks with Northwich Woodlands through the salt landscape and by the canal (10.30am/1.30pm)

■ Bug hunt and other activities with butterfly conservation in the museum’s butterfly garden

■ Salt-making demonstrations by the Lion Salt Works trustees

■ Craft activities run by museum staff running throughout the day

■ Badge-making and nature-related activities with among others Saltscape and Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Children looking at the model of a salt pan.

Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for culture, leisure and wellbeing at CWaC, said: “Six awards in less than a year is a really magnificent achievement and something to really celebrate at this fantastic first anniversary event. Key to the museum’s success has been engagement with local and regional audiences, though an imaginative and varied programme of events.

Related story: Lion Salt Works Museum scoops top conservation award

“From WWI and WWII oral history programmes to talks, educational programmes, touring plays and steam traction and historic boat events, the museum’s energetic staff have drawn a wide variety of groups and ‘non-Museum’ audiences to the site.”

“On a wider scale, I am delighted to see the emergence of a Northwich tourist ‘salt hub’ comprising the Lion Salt Works, the well-established and historic Anderton Boat Lift and the 1000-acre Northwich Woodland, which is also the location of the town’s first salt mine.

An aerial view of the Lion Salt Works Museum near Northwich.

“Featuring ‘flashes’, unique salt-loving plants, picnic spots, footpaths and cycle trails, this saltscape is a wonderful area for visitors to relax and unwind. Added to this mix, are the attractions of Northwich’s independent shops, artisan markets, attractive river location and its soon-to-be opened Barons Quay project. I believe that what we have is a winning tourist ‘salt hub’ that will delight visitors.”

One of the world’s last open-pan salt-making sites, the museum is an Ancient Scheduled Monument, with the same protection listing as Stonehenge.

In March this year, the museum won the UK’s top conservation award from the Civic Trust. Later the same month it won the national Heritage and Museum Award for Excellence for conservation and restoration.

The museum tells the story of salt through fun and interactive displays, including a light and sound show that imitates the large steaming salt pans. The venue hosts an exciting year-long programme of activities and more details can be found at