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If you like the industrial past and visiting a lot of museums you could do no better than visit Ironbridge and its collection of museums under the umbrella of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums.
This consists of a group of museum centred around the town of Ironbridge, which stretch as far as Coalbrookdale to Coalport and Broseley.
These museums are:
Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron
Jackfield Tile Museum
Coalport China Museum
Museum of The Gorge
The Iron Bridge & Tollhouse
You will need three to five days to get round all these museums, a car or long legs, as the bus service between the sites only runs at weekends and bank holidays.
Starting at Coalbrookdale, you have the Darby Houses where the Quaker Ironmasters lived. Moving down the hill and under the gorgeous viaduct you come to the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, whuch as museums go is pretty straightforward, introducing us to some of the concepts of making Iron and the history of how the Darbys and others solved some of the problems surrounding the production of iron.
Adjacent to this site is Enginuity. If you have ever been to any of the Science centres like In-tch near Winchester, or the Science Centre on the banks of the Clyde, you will know what to expect. Once you have seen one science centre you have seen them all, however I was sorely disappointed by Engineuity. Some people might like the method they have of describing how things work (a laser pointer is used in tandem with a TV monitor), that did not do it for me.
The Jackfield Tile Museum and Coalport China Museum are a wonderful blast into the past. Here you will see some marvellous architecture and also how things were and still are made.
I didn't spend much time in Ironbridge itself. Once you have wondered at the bridge and the toll-house, there is not much to see or do there. There is a small museum with a diorama of the gorge and some exlpanation of how it operated back in the day.
The Tar Tunnel. Here you will visit an underground tunnel where natural tar was found to seep through the earth. This is a short trip in, and after you have walked the tunnel and back you are barely there five minutes. I didn't notice how much it cost at the time, (I had a 'passport' - more on that later) though the website currently states for an adult you pay £2.25. While I understand keeping heritage alive costs money, I feel entry to this site should be included as a freebie on all tickets.
I visited Brosely Pipeworks last on the tour, as it was slightly further away. It is difficult to find once you get to Brosely. This small museum is a bit plain, but still interesting and it has been left in timewarp mode. It is dusty and looks great. More on Broseley in a moment.
I have left Blists hill last in this review, although it was the first place I visited. This is a fantastic place to visit. Here you can relive what industrial Britain might have been like back in Victorian times. The museum 'guides' are in character - they act as the shopkeeper, banker, doctor, chemist, candlemaker, schoolteacher etc etc. There is a row of working shops, where you can buy 'genuine' stuff from the Victorian era. There is a fish-fryers (the chippie to you and I) a bakers and a pub for example so you can get fed and watered as well as soaking up some history. We also get to see the industrys of the day. The scoolteachers also double up as actors and you might get treated to a special performance of Shakespeare in a comedic style, and in the manner of the generation game (people are plucked from the audience to 'fill in'). Expect to spend a whole day and a whole lot of money on trinkets and food.
Now a little about Brosely. There aren't many practical shops in Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge, so if you are staying self catering in the area you will need to find an out of town Tesco. However, the locals stayed very quiet about the existence of Brosely, which has many little shops, and more to the point, practical ones rather than the gift shops in Ironbridge - so don't forget that.
The passport. If you intend visiting all museums, get a 'passport' ticket. This is a 'catch all' ticket that gets you into all the museums and is valid for revisits for twelve months. You can still squeeze a little juice out of the passport after the twelve months - it is still valid after that time for any of the museums you haven't previously visited (your passport is punched at each museum). The adult passport at the time of writing is £19.95. If you buy tickets separately this works out for an adult at about £60!
Ironbridge is a little area of Telford Shropshire. Ironbridge is one of the most historic places in the UK as it contain the worlds first bridge of Iron which was created in 1779 by Abraham Darby.
There are many places to visit in Ironbridge to suit everyones needs. In the Coalport and Ironbridge area there is 11 museums including Blist Hill Victorian town(fantastic bakery and sweet shop!!!) and Enginuity(great place for kids, full of activities and you can't even tell your learning). Other than mseums the surrounding area is picturesque having the River Severn running through the middle and there is a park at the bottom of the the area which is often used for dog walking or even a great place for a picnic by the river.
For a leisurly day out there are many places to stay and eat with indian, thai and english restaurants placed up and down the area. For a quick bite i would recommned Eleys, think Greggs but with much better quality food and great history of supplying the people of Telford. There is an ice cream store with a vast array of flavours to choose from which is always one of my first choices if i go down for the day.
Ironbridge is also situated with a good surroundng area, only 5 miles from Telford Town Centre for all of you who love to shop, and less than half an hour from the historic town of Shrewsbury and the more modern Wolverhampton.
In my opinion Ironbridge is perfect for a simple day out and it wont cost a forture either as you can have a great time in the free museums and take a picnic for a credit crunch busting break.
For those that would like to spend longer in the area there are good hotels and B&B's n Ironbridge itself but if you are willing to travel then by the Town centre there is a holiday inn and travelodge and many more all around Telford.
Ironbridge is a lovely place to visit. A very pretty town built alongside the River Severn and which played a major role in the industrial revolution. It is because of this that it is also one of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites which aslo ensures that its history and the area will be protected for the future.
This river setting makes it very pleasant for riverside walks and there are plenty of lovely pubs, bars and teashops for food and drinks. The Bird In The Hand pub overlooks the river and is very popular in the summer. The Malthouse is lovely though, overlooking the river again but on the main street, known as The Whafage, food is delicious and the atmosphere is great, we have had lunches and dinners here in the past and all excellent. Truffles is a nice coffee shop just further down the road and we have been here for breakfast and coffees in the past.
The town is obviously famous for its 'Ironbridge' and this makes a gorgeous backdrop for photos aside from the feat of engineering it boasts. You can almost hear the horses plodding down the streets and feel the rich heritage as you stroll around the town as there are so many things still evident today such as the old furnaces and waterways used for channelling water to power huge waterwheels which gave the iron foundaries their energy.
Ironbridge Gorge Museums are fab. There are different types of museums so everyone is catered for, 10 infact!. You can buy individual tickets for any of the museums or combined passes which are valid for a year. These are great value for money especially as there are so many museums covered by them and you cannot possibly do them all in a day. We bought annual passes when there last time but as we need to renew for our next visit we are going to use Tesco vouchers saved up to make them even cheaper to buy.
The Victorian Village is by far our favourite of the museums but we also enjoy Enginuity, Tile Museum and the Tar Tunnel!
Ironbridge also has a good range of places to stay from self catering cottages, bed and breakfast to larger hotels. We usually stay in the Telford area as opposed to staying actually in Ironbridge however and my reviews of those places are listed seperately.
THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY POSTED ON QYPE BY MYSELF UNDER THE NAME SUNLINESAM
Ironbridge is a small historical town, set within Telford Shropshire, and plays host to the world first ever 'Bridge made from iron' hence it's name. The bridge was named the Ironbridge and from there the town surrounding it took its name from that. The bridge was built by Thomas Telford back in 1779 and stands at 100ft high. Underneath the bridge the runs the famous river seven.
Shropshire is sometimes known as being the birth place of heavy industry, and the Ironbridge is to thank for this, because since it was built many famous people like Abraham Derby and Thomas Telford have used Ironbridge and Shropshire as their pallet for new ideas. With things like church's, bridges, stunning houses, and railways lines, making Shropshire famous for it's ironworks.
A trip to Ironbridge is thoroughly recommended if it's your type of scene. I have visited numerous times now and find the spectrum of the whole place amazing. Within this small town, it boasts so much history and knowledge, and it gives you a real insight into what working life was like in Victorian times.
I remember my first ever visit was with school, I was about 10 years old, and we spent the whole day there, exploring different museums, shops, working farms, studying the Ironbridge etc. Since then I have been back to explore its beauty even further.
==Attractions and places to visit==
Blists hill Victorian museum-
Blists hill is known as an open air museum, and was first opened back in 1979. It's main focus it to highlight how people lived back in the Victorian times. There are many different buildings to explore and artefacts to see, that showed what life was like. They have people dress up in clothing that would have been worn back then, and rein act daily life- simple things like school, shopping, washing clothes etc. It also consists of coal, iron and clay mines which today are still there. This museum seems to be popular with school children, as it gives them chance to experience what life was like, they also have chance to take part in the daily activities and have chance to see what schooling was like.
This is more of a recent museum that was built a few years back; it was built to give people a more modern insight the history of Ironbridge. Inside the museum there are many different activities that are hands on and give people chance to get involved with the different things to do.
Coalport China Museum-
Is a chance to see the national collection of coalport and Caughley china, in the famous old coalport works. Wander round and see magnificent pieces of china that hold so much history. Visitors will also have chance to see demonstrations of how the ceramics are made and will also have chance to decorate their own pieces to take home with them.
In all Ironbridge is made up of ten different museums all holding different pieces of history relating to the town. Christmas time within Ironbridge also proves to be very popular because they hold Victorian the villagers entertain visitors with seasonal music, festive food, and Victorian markets.
To look at Ironbridge is a very beautiful and peaceful place; there are many guest houses, pubs, and gift shops which makes this such a special place to visit, as there's something for everyone. I really enjoy going here to capture a little piece of history now and again and would recommend it to anybody.
I just visited Ironbridge yesterday. Visit to Ironbridge was a memorable occasion, not only because of the beautiful scenery but there are so many captivating buildings and things to explore at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and most of the local merchants seem like my cronies. The bridge is a technical marvel for the time and the roads approaching the village were fun to drive. This is the valley that changed our world and visitors have been marvelling at its suprises for hundreds of years. In Ironbridge, what can you find ? For instance, Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, Museum of THE GORGE (The gorge is worthy of its World Heritage classification. That did however impose the need for a certain standard of care which in one place was sadly lacking. ), The Iron Bridge & Tollhouse, Blists Hill Victorian Town, Coalport China Museum, Tar Tunnel and blah blah... However, there is one deficiency -- the facilities at Blists Hill were frankly inadequate. Especially, the toilets at the entrance to the site were filthy. In the Gents, one urinal was blocked and stinking. No matter how, it was an enjoyable day.