With a UNESCO heritage site on its doorstep, Edwardian estates, sprawling parks and a picturesque abbey all within touching distance, there’s an appealing array of Telford tourist attractions to keep you occupied during your visit.
This quaint and diminutive village five miles from Telford hardly seems the likely place to hold the mantle of the birthplace of the industrial revolution but don’t let looks deceive you. Home to the world’s first cast-iron bridge – the town’s namesake – as well as a host of museums telling the story of the area’s ambitious industrial heyday, Ironbridge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with history, independent boutiques, artisanal cafés and wonderful views of the River Severn and the Ironbridge Gorge.
We have a page dedicated to the Iron Bridge and Tollhouse if you want to read more about their fascinating history.
Once you’ve taken in the bridge, you can visit the family home of the brains behind the masterpiece – Abraham Darby III. Included in the Ironbridge Gorge Museums attractions and the excellent value passport ticket, the Darby Houses are the former homes of the first family of the industrial revolution where you can get a glimpse into how the other half lived in the 19th century.
Consisting of two Grade II-listed buildings – Rosehill House and Dale House – they’re a wonderfully preserved monument brought to life through informational displays, roaming volunteers and a dressing room filled with period pieces you can try on and, of course, take photographic evidence. You can buy tickets through the Ironbridge Gorge Museums website.
Grander still is Sunnycroft, an Edwardian villa on the outskirts of nearby Wellington. Retracing the history of a local industrialist family, the small but perfectly formed Sunnycroft transports you back to the idyllic, pre-WWI country-house lifestyle. The house is now a National Trust property, offering guided tours around the charmingly preserved time capsule, and the five acres of grounds, glass houses, lawns and gardens are open for visitors to explore at their leisure, and even enjoy a game of croquet.
On a cold day, the Edwardian tea room is the perfect place to warm up with a hot chocolate and when the weather is a little kinder, you can take your tea and cake on the veranda. Parking is free on-site or at the nearby Wrekin Road car park.
Even older is Buildwas Abbey. Located on the banks of the River Severn, the abbey was founded in 1135 and is now considered to be one of the best-preserved Cistercian abbeys in Britain. While it’s missing its roof, much of the abbey remains intact – particularly the chapter house, which has retained its tiled floor and decorative stonework. Visitors are free to roam the English Heritage site and there a number of walks nearby if you want to explore the Shropshire countryside. In the summer, pack a picnic and bag one of the picnic benches around the abbey or just pitch up on the grass with an ice cream from the on-site kiosk.
A recent addition to the town centre is Telford Town Park. Thanks to a major lottery grant and an effort to make the park an inclusive, community environment for all, the park was voted the UK’s Best Park in 2015. Just a 10-minute walk from Telford’s bus station, the sprawling 450-acre park has some fantastic facilities that can be enjoyed by all ages, including five play areas with giant climbing frames and slides, an aerial ropes course, a toddlers’ sandpit, cycle paths, a mini-golf course and a water play area to cool off in during the summer months.
If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing, you’ll also find nature trails weaving through the park, floral gardens, ponds and a nature reserve, making it the perfect haven to escape the crowds and enjoy a bit of calm. When nature calls or hunger strikes, the Visitor Centre also is close by.
If you want to get closer to nature, Granville Park is an unspoilt area of woodland that will help you do just that. Give yourself a good few hours to properly explore the park; while the walk isn’t particularly taxing, the trail does have an ‘off piste’ feel, so bring your wellies if you’re coming after a rain shower. Along the seven-mile track, you’ll discover carved wooden sculptures and the odd abandoned building ruin here and there, as well as the ‘top of the world’ viewpoint which offers walkers beautiful views across the countryside and Telford itself.
For a countryside jaunt with a whole lot more pomp and circumstance, don’t miss Weston Park. This stunning stately home is a favourite location for weddings and special events, and it’s easy to see why. Away from the 17th-century house – which oozes elegant yet homely splendour and can be explored either on your own or with a tour guide – the surrounding parkland is really the main attraction.
Crafted by the renowned landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the grounds give weight to Brown’s legacy as ‘England’s greatest gardener’. Temple Wood is the jewel in the ground’s crown; a natural paradise brimming with wildflowers and century-old trees, a lily pond, waterfall and an abundance of wildlife, while the Walled Garden is home to a hedge maze labyrinth, a meadow and a myriad of apple trees. The Woodland Adventure Playground will keep the little ones entertained as much as the rest of the grounds, where they can explore the trails, hunt for secrets hidden in the woodlands on scavenger hunts, become the king of the swingers on the rotating nest swing and whizz through the air on one of the longest double zip wires in the country.
While Telford hasn’t attracted big-name chart toppers just yet, the International Centre is the town’s major event space, hosting a busy roster of events. Its eclectic lineup features everything from business conferences to events for the general public, such as Shropshire Kids Fest, the Classic Dirtbike Show, the British Cheer Championships and even the British Alpaca Society National Show! You can learn more about the Telford International Centre on our dedicated page.
Home to League 6 A.F.C. Telford United, New Bucks Head Stadium is the place to spend a Saturday on the terraces. To really feel the passion of the crowd, the David Hutchinson Stand is the stand of choice for the more die-hard supporters and, with capacity for 1,100 spectators, it’s where you’ll notice the spike on the decibel scale.
The stadium is just 20 minutes away from Telford Central Station, with trains leaving around every 10 minutes. If you fancy a quick pre- or post-match pint, The Cock Hotel and The Swan Hotel are both a five-minute walk away from the stadium and are a favourite with the football crowd. The Cock is a regular in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, with eight hand pumps serving up real ales and ciders.
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