Just a 15-minute drive away from our Telford International Centre hotel, you’ll find the picturesque village of Ironbridge, namesake of the world’s first cast-iron bridge.
Whether or not ironmongery is of particular interest, the view itself is worth the trip. Charmingly tucked into the tree-covered hillside and overlooking the River Severn, Ironbridge feels a world away from its industrial roots. White-washed facades are sprinkled amongst the Dickensian brick buildings, with chimneys and the church spire peeping through the greenery.
Springtime sees the banks of the Severn peppered with the yellows and reds of wildflowers and pops of pink blossom – visit on a clear day to see the bridge perfectly reflected in the river below.
Of course, the main attraction is the Iron Bridge itself. It was constructed in 1779 to connect the two nearby industrial towns of Broseley and Madeley, which used the River Severn as a key trading route. Today, it stands as an icon of industrialisation and a monument of where the industrial revolution began – the first bridge of its kind to be constructed in the world.
Standing tall at 100 feet at its highest point, the bridge is not only a historical marvel but an architectural one too. Visitors can explore underneath and admire the intricate ironwork up close, as well as walking across the bridge itself.
Following a £1 million renovation injection from English Heritage, the bridge is currently undergoing repair work until mid-2019. While it isn’t looking its stately best, you can still walk across it into quaint Ironbridge, visit the Tollhouse Museum for free to learn more about the bridge and drop into one of the many local independent shops, cafés and bars in the village.
If you’re looking to learn more about the history of the area and the part it played in the industrial revolution, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum group is the best place to start. The collection of 10 museums offers a fascinating glimpse into a time when Ironbridge was an industrial powerhouse at the forefront of innovation, including a Blists Hill Victorian Town, science museum Enginuity, a tile museum uncovering the artistry behind the tiles that decorated Victorian Britain and the Museum of Iron, which charts how the world was changed forever with this new industrial juggernaut.
Annual tickets for the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums are available, with concession prices available for children under 16. They are a wise choice if you’re planning to visit more than one museum or return within 12 months.
Dale End Park in nearby Coalbrookdale is an ideal and inexpensive parking spot about half a mile upstream from the bridge, which affords you some magnificent photo opportunities of the gorge and Iron Bridge.
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