Summer Family Fun at Ironbridge Gorge Museums
There’s always family fun at Ironbridge, Ann Evans tells us what’s lined up for August
Discover Victorian steam powered machines in all their full working splendour next weekend, 17th and 18th August at Blists Hill Victorian Town, near Ironbridge, Shropshire when an eclectic collection of these wonderful old machines will be ‘in steam’.
This is your opportunity to discover how the Victorians harnessed steam to power their engines and see the town’s replica of Trevithick’s 1802 Coalbrookdale locomotive; the original is believed to be the world’s first steam locomotive.
Other museum engines in steam will include ‘Billy’, a fantastic 1903 Wallis & Steevens road roller as well as a variety of special guest machines including rare ploughing engines. Plus of course, you can enjoy all the other wonderful Victorian attractions that Blists Hill has to offer.
Also on the 18th you can watch and join in traditional Morris Gang dancing. The Morris Gang will be entertaining families near the Ironworks in the lower part of the Town at 11.15am, 2pm and 3pm. If the sun is shining, they will also be roaming the Town chatting to residents and visitors alike, while over lunchtime the musicians might be found performing in the New Inn Public House.
Lots of other activities will also be taking place across the Town. Try candle-dipping in the Goods Shed, then walk through the historic streets down to The Green where the Victorian fairground will be in full swing. There will also be horse and cart rides, while the bravest visitors can take part in a lesson in the Victorian schoolhouse at 12noon.
The Victorian Town is open all year round, but especially for the Bank Holiday weekend from 23rd – 26th August, there’s some extra special family events that you won’t want to miss.
Here, as you step back in time you will discover what life was like over 100 years ago.
You can change your decimal money into pounds, shillings and pence at the Bank to spend in the shops and treat yourself to some traditional fish and chips from the Fryers or take home some freshly made bread from the bakers.
Try your hand at candle-dipping in the Goods Shed, then walk through the historic streets down to The Green where the Victorian fairground will be in full swing. The Green is also a great place to enjoy family picnics and fun games.
Get crafty at nearby Coalport China Museum where you can try sculpting with clay and decorating ceramic pieces, while at Jackfield Tile Museum you can take inspiration from some of the classic designs on display and join a workshop (Monday – Friday) to create your own ceramic masterpiece to take home.
Let your imagination go wild as you play with the huge interactive exhibits at Enginuity, while unusual attractions include the 900-metre Tar Tunnel, where you can see the tar seeping from the rock. Visit the Darby Houses, once home to the old ironmasters, and see Abraham Darby’s original furnace where the Industrial Revolution began. The Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron celebrates the early iron industry while the Museum of The Gorge explains the area’s importance.
The new Furnace Kitchen is now open at Coalbrookdale providing a great place to eat and relax when visiting Enginuity or the Museum of Iron. Overseen by celebrity chef, Marcus Bean, it offers fantastic fresh and locally sourced food for brunch, lunch, coffee and tea, cakes and main meals. The menu features an exciting mix of modern British cuisine and European classics, all hand-made in the state-of-the-art kitchen by a hand-picked team of chefs. Its located within the former Long Warehouse of the historic Coalbrookdale Company, where railway wagons would have once been loaded with their products.
Finally, cross the world’s first Iron Bridge and imagine what life was like around 300 years ago when industrial development began.
For full details of admission prices and annual passport tickets, visit: www.ironbridge.org.uk Book your tickets on line to make great savings. Or call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424.