LOTTERY players will be able to claim free entry to the award-winning Lion Salt Works Museum as part of a 'thank you' initiative.

The Heritage Lottery Fund's 'Thanks to You' scheme offers free entry to adults who bring along a lottery ticket or scratch card bought in November.

The Salt Works is one of more than 400 sites nationwide taking part, between Tuesday, November 26 and Friday, November 29.

Every week the Heritage Lottery Fund distributes £30m to good causes nationwide, and in 2011 the Lion Salt Works Museum received a £5m grant.

Together with £5.2m from Cheshire West and Chester Council, it funded a four-year, £10m restoration of the site which has gone on to win nine awards.

Free entry coincides with the chance to see the recently restored ‘Nodding Donkey’, which used to pump brine from beneath the Cheshire Plain before being boiled in open-pans to leave salt crystals.

Visitors will also have the chance to see the ‘Cheese Intrigue’ exhibition – a fascinating exhibition exploring the development of the Cheshire dairy industry and how salt was a key ingredient in its success.

On loan from Aardman Animations in Bristol, the exhibition will also feature the original model of ‘The Cheese Tent’ from the celebrated film ‘Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit’.

Lisa Harris, director of place strategy at CWAC, said: “We remain enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its contribution to restoring the Lion Salt Works Museum.

"It helped save one of the world’s last remaining open-pan salt-making sites – a site of such significance that it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument with the same protection status as Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.

"I hope people across the county will take the opportunity of coming to the museum.”

In its heyday, salt from Cheshire was exported to countries around the world, including Canada, Russia and Africa.

The museum tells the interesting story of salt and explains its impact on the landscape, industry and people of the region, through interactive displays recreating the billowing steam of the salt pans and a ‘subsiding house’.