TO CELEBRATE a record year of Santa boat trips, with over 8500 people enjoying a visit to Santa’s underground grotto in the limestone mines, Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust is discounting its January 45-minute boat trip tickets to just £3 for everyone, saving up to £3.95 per ticket.
The discounted January trips will start on January 16, 2017, when the boats return from their annual service, and discounts will continue through February and March, with all tickets in February costing just £4.50 and all tickets in March £5.50.
Visitors who are able to gift aid their purchase will receive a return ticket valid throughout 2017. Children under three go free but need a ticket.
During the 45-minute trip into Dudley Tunnel & Limestone Mines, this wonder of 18th century engineering with a history dating back 428 million years, is brought to life with on-board commentary, a music and light show in the Singing Cavern, a video show in Little Tess Cavern explaining how limestone was formed, and mannequin displays in Hurst Cavern depicting miners working during the 18th century.
At the Museum’s new £3 million visitor centre The Portal, as well as embarking on their boat trip, visitors can enjoy an interactive exhibition in the Biffa Award Gallery, the Trust’s gift shop and waterside dining in The Gongoozler restaurant.
Major funding partners for the project to create The Portal include: the European Regional Development Fund £997,000; Heritage Lottery Fund £989,000; Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership £755,000; and Biffa Award £500,000. Other charitable donors include: The Garfield Weston Foundation; J P Getty Jr Charitable Trust; Headley Trust; The Wolfson Foundation; Dudley Canal Trust; Dudley Canal Trust (Trips); and £30,000 raised by a public appeal.
Sarah Fellows, Heritage Activities Officer for Dudley Canal & Trust, explains: “We are delighted that so many families visited our grotto this year, and we hope these specially discounted tickets will encourage many new people to visit the tunnels to marvel at these incredible limestone caverns carved by man, and enjoy the exhibition and restaurant at our stunning new award-winning Portal visitor centre.”
From April 2017 the 45-minute boat trip tickets will be £6.95 for adults, £6.35 for senior citizens, £5.70 for children aged 3-16. Children under three go free but need a ticket. Family tickets for two adults and two children are £21.25, and £26 for two adults and three children.
2017 Halloween trips will be £8.50 per person, Santa boat trips £11.50 and tickets for ‘Carols in the Caverns’ and other musical events will be £11.50.
Sarah adds: “For the third year running, our trips to see Santa underground sold out in mid-December, so we encourage people to book early for 2017 when tickets will go on sale in mid-2017.
“For our 45-minute boat trips, which run regularly throughout the day from 10.30am to 3.00pm, there’s no need to book advance. Just turn up on the day and we will accommodate you on the first available boat.”
Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust also offers a variety of longer trips, including a two-hour trip through the full 2,888-metre length of Dudley Tunnel, for which tickets are £13.50 for adults, £12.50 for senior citizens and children, and a six-hour Voyage through the heart of the Black Country, taking in both the Dudley and Netherton Tunnels, for which tickets are £18.00 for adults, £17.00 for senior citizens and children.
The Portal Visitor Centre is open 10am till 10pm, mid-January to December. For more information visit www.dudleycanaltrust.org.uk or call 0121 557 6265.