“Erm yes, Rich?”
“When we go to the Victorian museum, will they send me up a chimney?”
“No idea, babe. Probably!”
“I’m wearing my best hoody though!”
As if that’s Richard's main concern! 🤣
To celebrate the easing of COVID restrictions we are delighted to re-launch our days out content with our very first ever trip to one of the UK's most celebrated attractions and World Heritage Site - Ironbridge Gorge Museums in Shropshire.
Located just a couple of hours from nearly all the UK's big cities, it's an enormous visitor attraction with ten museums and experiences, including one of the country's largest Victorian living museums. A family ticket grants access to all ten attractions for a year - great value.
During our first of two visits (there's too much to cram in to one day) we explored three Ironbridge attractions: Blists Hill Victorian Town, Enginuity (science museum) and the Museum of Iron.
Blists Hill Victorian Town
Blists Hill Victorian Town transports its visitors back to the 1800s. A replica Victorian town, it features genuine, nineteenth century shops, pubs, industrial units and transport, all rescued from demolition, relocated to Blists Hill and lovingly restored. It's stunning.
The Blists Hill cast, all dressed in authentic Victorian outfits, with their local accents and gory anecdotes of Victorian life make the experience very special. Each house, shop, factory or steam engine is manned by a friendly cast-member who welcomed us into their little Victorian world. The boys were particularly obsessed with the wrought iron works - what a dreadful place to work; at Lyall's age he'd already be helping out in there, 150 years ago. I won't give away the dangers that faced the poor workers but needless-to-say, they were forced to retire very early after working tirelessly in appalling conditions.
As you probably know if you're an avid Daddy & Dad reader, we LOVE food. Food outlets at Blists Hill Victorian Town are authentic and tasty, with a lovely tea rooms café, serving roast beef sarnies, locally sourced savoury produce and cakes, and a local chippy with proper, crispy chippy chips fried in beef dripping. There's also a Victorian sweet shop and a pretty coffee shop overlooking the entrance plaza with a sun terrace.
Enginuity & Museum of Iron
Based a couple of miles from Blists Hill, on the other side of beautiful Ironbridge town, Enginuity is a hands-on, interactive science exhibition housed within an authentic brick-built warehouse.
We've visited several interactive science museums including the UK's most revered - the London Science Museum, the National Space Centre and Magna Science Adventure Centre. Enginuity can't compete in size, but its exhibits are genuinely surprising, unique and very clever.
Highlights include: volcano maker - realistic, adaptable landscape is projected onto a sandpit, projecting water into troughs and volcanic mountains onto piles of sand... a volcano actually erupts if you make a crater in the sand (with plenty of "Oooos" and "Ahhhhs" from Daddy).
There's an exhibit with a huge bright touchscreen floor that challenges the kids to jump on Iron ore to break it up and create molten metal. But the lads' fave exhibit is a large, splashy water feature that allows the kids to control the flow of water between various reservoirs by switching dams on and off.
It's impressive and easily consumes a couple of hours. It's all indoors, too; a great option if the weather fails us!
The Museum of Iron, adjacent to Enginuity offers a more conventional but no less engaging experience. It's a big, three storey museum taking its visitors through the history of iron manufacture, with some really lovely pieces of furniture and exhibits to admire.
Families visiting the Museum of Iron are provided with a treasure hunt-style activity bag, complete with magnifying glasses and colour filters to explore the exhibits with a new perspective. The Museum of Iron is super-chilled and a lovely way to finish the busy day.
Ticket and booking information
Individual tickets for each of the ten attractions are available, but for best value we recommend an annual passport for all ten attractions which allows you to revisit Ironbridge Gorge Museums as often as you like for a year. An annual passport for a single-parent family with up to 4 children is £47, and for a family with two adults it's £76.
Address: Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Coach Rd, Coalbrookdale, Telford, TF8 7DQ
Phone: 01952 433 424