PLANNING A VISIT TO IRONBRIDGE GORGE – YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
What is Ironbridge Gorge?
Where is it? How do I get there?
Why is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
What is there to do when I get there?
What other essential information do I need before I visit?
Ironbridge Gorge in England is known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It is situated in the county of Shropshire 5 miles (8km) south of Telford Town Centre and 50 km north-west of Birmingham. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The gorge derives its name from the famous iron bridge which was the world’s first arch bridge made of cast iron – hence Ironbridge Gorge. The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986
According to the UNESCO World Heritage website, “Ironbridge is known throughout the world as the symbol of the Industrial Revolution. It contains all the elements of progress that contributed to the rapid development of this industrial region in the 18th century, from the mines themselves to the railway lines. Nearby, the blast furnace of Coalbrookdale, built in 1708, is a reminder of the discovery of coke. The bridge at Ironbridge, the world’s first bridge constructed of iron, had a considerable influence on developments in the fields of technology and architecture.”
If you are travelling to Ironbridge by car exit M54 junctions 4 or 6 and follow the brown and white tourism signs for the gorge.
If you plan to travel to Ironbridge by train, bus, bicycle, air or motorhome check out the Ironbridge Gorge Museums site for more information!
WHAT IS THERE TO DO AT IRONBRIDGE GORGE?
There are 10 attractions to visit so choose why you want to see and organise your day accordingly!
Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron is situated at the site of Abraham Derby’s old furnace. On the day we visited we were taken around the site by a volunteer who told us the origins of the iron works in the area so keep an eye out when you are there!
TIP – Parking cost £3 but that covers all of the museums except the Museum of the Gorge and Ironbridge Gorge itself where the car parks belong to the local authority.
2. DARBY HOUSES
A short walk up the hill from the museum of iron are the Darby Houses. These are the former homes of the Darby family and give you an idea of how wealthy people in the 18th and 19th centuries lived.
Experience life in Britain during Queen Victoria’s reign. This recreated Victorian town is a great place to visit for a family day out. Explore the pharmacy, shops and cottages and other authentic Victorian experiences in the town. Dogs are welcome too! There are some great places to eat – I recommend the fish and chips which are cooked in beef dripping!
Check out the former china factory buildings and discover how the china was made and decorated at this museum.
Here you can discover the skills, artistry and craft behind the tiles that helped to decorate Victorian Britain.
6. TAR TUNNEL
When miners were digging in the 18th century they came upon a bitumen spring. Although at present you can’t walk along the tunnel you can see the bitumen seeping through the tunnel’s brickwork.
According to the website in the pipeworks you “step into a time capsule – a former clay tobacco pipe factory exactly as it was when workers left in the 1950s.”
Well the main attraction has to be the bridge itself! It is a stunning structure which was built in 1779 and spans the River Severn.
Pop into the Museum of the Gorge which is open daily from 10am. Don’t miss the 12 metre model of the gorge in the museum!
NEED TO KNOW
- Parking can be a challenge in the gorge itself. Car parks belong to the local authority and the ticket you may have purchased for the museums is not valid here. Make sure you use the Pay and Display machines and note the time you have to explore the gorge and return before the ticket expires to avoid a fine!
- During the summer there is a park and ride scheme which links many of the museums. You can check it out HERE!
- You can buy annual passport tickets which give you access to all the attractions HERE!
- If you only want to visit one or two of the attractions check out where to buy those tickets HERE!
- Opening times vary summer and winter and occasionally all the museums shut for staff training. Check out that information HERE!
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PIN FOR LATER – A VISIT TO IRONBRIDGE GORGE