Family Friendly Manifesto


At the Heart of What we do

Children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – the whole family can enjoy a fun a day out with us here at Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust.

As part of this commitment we’re signed up to the Kids in Museums Manifesto, which outlines six areas of family-friendly focus. If you’d like to read more about this national initiative to be awesome for all, you can do so here on their website.

The manifesto is a set of simple guidelines created with children, young people and families. It sets out what they feel makes a great place to visit. Read on to see how we’re making sure the manifesto is at the heart of what we do.

We’re also signed up to the Family Arts Campaign’s Family Arts Standards.

Be Welcoming

Everywhere on site you’ll find spaces to explore, have fun and learn together. Visit our exhibition galleries on both floors and have a go at legging, build a tunnel arch, meet a mammoth and lots more!

Make it Easy and Comfortable

We’re constantly adding little touches to make your family’s day out the best it can be. You’ll find seating around our site perfect for anyone to take a rest, in our exhibition galleries and on our towpath. When it comes to lunchtime you’re welcome to enjoy your own picnic at our picnic tables beside the canal or near the car park, or if you head to our Gongoozler restaurant you’ll find a dedicated children’s menu, bottle warming facilities, high chairs, plastic cutlery and crockery and more.

Baby changing facilities are available, and new for 2019 we’ve installed family-friendly toilet seats with a special smaller fold-down seat for young children to use in the toilets beside our activity room. You’ll also find toilets big enough to accommodate a pram on both floors of our building and we’ll help you find a safe space to leave pushchairs whilst you’re on our boat trips.

Remember Families Come in all Shapes and Sizes

As well as offering two different family tickets (for a family of four and a family of five) our events have been designed to offer fun-filled experiences for different age groups. For our youngest visitors we offer weekly Tunnel Tots trips that are aimed at the under 5s with a short tunnel trip that’s accompanied by stories and songs on board. You’ll also learn a Makaton sign and get stuck into some colouring in our cafe after the trip.

If you want to stay a little longer, come along to our Tunnel Teds events, which have a full day of teddy-themed fun with crafts, games, stories and boat trips! Older children will enjoy our school holiday Little Skippers sessions, where a 45 minute boat trip is followed by an hour of creative things to make and do. We’ve also created early evening events which run on Friday nights where families can discover dinosaurs, pirates and mermaids!

These were designed specifically in response to feedback from families where parents or carers worked at weekends and saw a lack of family experiences in weekday evenings. At many of our events you’ll find accompanying adults go free, allowing grandparents, family friends and more to come and join in the fun without breaking the bank.

Be Accessible to all

Access for all is at the heart of what we do. We’ve created an access guide to help visitors who might have additional needs enjoy their day. From orientation guides to information on lighting levels around the building, the guide contains a wide range of helpful information.

We’re constantly reviewing and improving what we can offer to ensure everyone can enjoy their visit to us. We know that in our local area family finances can be challenging for some, so we offer some of our experiences at a very low cost, such as our Tunnel Tots boats, and others completely for free, such as our Festival of Light. Families can join our Cavern Explorers family membership programme for free too, and enjoy a range of exclusive opportunities and extra free activities on site throughout the year.

Communicate Well

There’s no point having a fabulous offer if no-one hears about it, so we work hard to spread the word about who we are and what we do. Through the year you’ll find us out and about at local park play days, in shopping centres and boating festivals.

You’ll also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter sharing loads of fresh, unique content including live videos and exclusive behind-the-scenes moments. We also work with local children’s centres and schools to get the message out about our events and activities. Our Cavern Explorers get regular updates about our events and activities through our email directory too.

Work Together

We believe that the best content is developed working with our visitors, which is why we’re constantly evaluating and improving everything we do. When you visit you’ll find comment cards, sheets, activities and more asking for your feedback and our staff are always asking visitors for their thoughts on their visit. These get fed back into our design process to improve what we do for our visitors.

Evening events, our site maps and our cafe’s plastic crockery are all examples of new ideas we’ve rolled out in response to visitor feedback! We also like to offer our visitors the chance to be a part of our programming wherever possible. A great recent examples of this last year was when families made poppies for our World War One centenary art installation, which was seen by over 80,000 people online! This year we’ve already invited people via our Cavern Explorers directory to come and give their thoughts on our new family play space, ahead of initial meetings with playground designers.

We’re also looking forward to our family visitors being a part of our summer exhibition “The Black Country at Play” in our Tunnel Treasures space, when they’ll be invited to contribute items, photos and memories to be on display during the summer holidays.