|“||THIS BRIDGE WAS CAST AT COALBROOK DALE AND ERECTED IN THE YEAR MDCCLXXIX||”|
Ironbridge Gorge is on the River Severn, 5 miles (8 km) south of Telford in Shropshire. Take junction 4 from the M54, and follow the brown and white traffic signs.
- Telford Travelink (+44 1952 200005)
The National Cycle Route follows the route of a former canal and railway, now called "The Silkin Way" from North Telford, through the town centre to Ironbridge, via Blists Hill Museum.
A regular shuttle bus service (+44 1952 200005) operates throughout the Gorge every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. This bus also has limited links to the Rail Station.
If you are visiting the museums and want to see the surrounding area, a car is essential as public transport links vary from limited to non-existent. Note, however, that there is no free parking in Ironbridge itself, though parking charges are normally reasonable.
Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
Most of Ironbridge is overseen by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. A year-long annual passport is available which allows entry to all the museums, and has traditionally been very good value for money if you intend to visit a number of them.
- 1 Iron Bridge and tollhouse. The world's first Iron Bridge, built in 1779 - there is a small visitor's centre on one side.
- 2 Museum of the Gorge, TF8 7NH, ☏ . 10:00am-5:00pm. A small museum, but containing a large diorama model of the gorge at the height of its industry. A visit here first helps to put all of the museums into context.
- 3 Blists Hill Museum, TF7 5UD, ☏ . 10:00am–5:00pm. A living history museum and reconstructed Victorian town.
- 4 Museum of Iron, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DQ, ☏ . 10:00am-5:00pm. Abraham Darby's original blast furnace and a large Victorian warehouse, now housing a museum of the Coalbrookdale company.
- 5 Enginuity, TF8 7DQ, ☏ . 10:00am-5:00pm. An interactive science & engineering museum aimed at children.
- 6 Jackfield Tile Museum, Salthouse Rd, Jackfield, TF8 7LJ, ☏ . 10:00am-5:00pm. A privately-owned museum documenting the history of ceramic tiles.
- 7 Coalport China Museum, High St, Telford, TF8 7HT, ☏ . 10:00am-5:00pm. The original home of Coalport china, now a museum.
- 8 Broseley Pipe Works, ☏ . One of the Ironbridge Museums. A Victorian clay tobacco pipe works.
- 9 Darby Houses Museum, 30 Darby Rd, Coalbrookdale,TF8 7EW. 11AM-3PM. Former houses belonging to Abraham Darby I, a Quaker and industrialist who developed a method of producing pig iron with a blast furnace using coke instead of charcoal which was vital to the Industrial Revolution. His work can be seen at the Museum of Iron.
- 10 Tar Tunnel. 11:00am-3:00pm (From March - October 2018). A long, dark tunnel used to extract bitumen (or tar). It was previously open to the public, but is now unsafe to enter. The entrance however can still be seen by visitors.
- 11 Buildwas Abbey, Nr Ironbridge, TF8 7BW, ☏ . An ancient abbey ruin owned by English Heritage just outside Ironbridge. It is advisable to use a car to get to as, while it is within walking distance, it is a walk of around a mile along a road with no pavement. adults £3.60, children £2.20, concessions £3.20.
- 12 The Green Wood Centre (formerly The Greenwood Trust), Station Rd, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DR, ☏ . A forest management and conversation centre.
- 13 Benthall Hall, Benthall, nr Broseley, TF12 5RX, ☏ . Tu-W and Sa-Su (from February-October). Manor house run by the National Trust.
There is a souvenir shop in the Ironbridge Gorge near the Iron Bridge itself and an online store for distance shopping.
There is also a bookshop nearby.
- 2 The Ironbridge Book Shop, 5 The Square, Ironbridge, TF8 7AQ, ☏ . 10AM-5PM. An independent bookshop known particularly for its inventory of near-antique Penguin Books.
Various expensive pubs and nondescript curry houses / Italian restaurants. Also a good Thai place next to the bridge.
- 1 Eighty-Six'd, 1a Waterloo St, TF8 7AA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Su: 10AM-6PM, M-Tu: Closed. Cafe and art gallery with a creative menu of soups, salads and sandwiches, as well as typical cafe drinks, snacks and desserts. Vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free-friendly.
- 2 Clays of Broseley, 67 High Street, Broseley, TF12 5EX, ☏ .
- 3 Restaurant Severn, 33 High St, Ironbridge, TF8 7AG, ☏ . M-Tu: Closed, W-Sa: noon-4:30PM then 6PM-11PM, Su: noon-6PM.
A near-exhaustive list of pubs in the area can be found on this site.
- 1 The Malt House, Wharfage, TF8 7NH, ☏ .
- 2 The Swan Taphouse, 21 Wharfage, TF8 7NH, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th: 11AM-11PM, F: 11AM-midnight, Sa: 9AM-midnight, Su: 9AM-10PM.
- 3 The White Hart, 10 Wharfage, TF8 7AW, ☏ . 11AM-10PM10 Wharfage, Ironbridge, Telford TF8 7AW.
There is a Youth Hostel at Coalport and Coalbrookdale, both campuses being part of the same hostel. The latter campus is very modern and popular, though is not ideal for self-catering visitors. No camp sites are available in Ironbridge itself, though there are more in South Shropshire and Shrewsbury directions.
- 1 Buckatree Hall Hotel, The Wrekin, Telford, TF6 5AL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 The Calcutts House, Calcutts Road, Jackfield, TF8 7LH, ☏ . Well-run 18th century home with kind hosts. It is located a little outside the main town (20 minute walk), very close to the tile museum. Six rooms. £40-70.
- 3 Mercure Telford Madeley Court Hotel, Castlefields Way, Madeley (From the M54 exit at Junction 4 and take the second exit at the roundabout and proceed along the A464 to Telford (not Shifnal). At the next roundabout take the second exit and follow to Randlay Interchange Roundabout. Take the First Exit - the slip road will lead you down onto the A442 dual carriageway. Continue on this road (do not turn off for Madeley / Kidderminster A442) until it narrows into a single lane (A4169). Follow this to the Castlefields Roundabout and take the very first exit - B4373 - the hotel drive is located about 200 metres on the left.), ☏ . The Mercure Telford Madeley Court Hotel is a 16th Century Manor House steeped in history offering both the facilities of a modern hotel and the ambience of a beautiful Manor House in countryside surroundings. From £41.30.
- 4 The Valley Hotel, Buildwas Road, TF8 7DW, ☏ . A period Best Western property to the west of Ironbridge, with pleasant views overlooking the park and a particularly well regarded restaurant.
You can head out by car:
- North to Telford
- South toward Much Wenlock, Bridgnorth and Church Stretton part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- West toward Shrewsbury and North Wales
It's worth exploring Wellington which, like Ironbridge, is part of the new-town of Telford, which has a nice town park which is worth a visit if you have children.
Telford Steam Railway is also a pleasant trip on a Sundays or Bank Holidays, as is a walk up the nearby Wrekin Hill.