Well 2018 was certainly fast paced for us here at Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust and we have had to hit the ground running straight into 2019.

We have a great year to look forward to – our historic boats will be out and about at various boat shows as well as being open here at the Portal so our visitors can see how life used to live and work on them and the canals.

We are reviewing and adding to all our family friendly offers and facilities because we know we have so much to offer everyone who wants a great day out. We are also looking forward to continuing to be part of the Forging a Future for all initiative and working with all the other local attractions. You can read more about Dudley’s plans for the future at their website: www.dudleyboroughvision2030.org.uk

Our boat trips into the tunnel and caverns and out on the open water continue to be really popular so we are looking to expand these along with our special events and dining cruises.

We could not deliver all we do without the help of our award-winning volunteers. Whether they are story telling on our Tunnel Tots boats, helping visitors on the towpath, clearing the canal or organising 50 years of records and making them available for the public in our Archives Department – they are a key part of our operations.

As with many others – most of us in the office made New Year resolutions to go on diets which is very difficult when we are situated next to our Gongoozler Restaurant with its tempting breakfasts, cakes and extensive lunch menu. We hope to start opening in the evenings for meals and a show and we will also be introducing a seasonal menu offer.

A personal favourite is the everchanging art exhibitions we get to enjoy with the various artists who exhibit here in our galleries. We are working with some of them to develop unique products for our Gift Shop so watch this space.

During our season the 45-minute boat trips run every day and if you Gift Aid your ticket you get a year of free trips into our amazing tunnels and caverns – there is always something new to see in this unique environment.