The Iron Bridge: The First Iron Bridge in the World

Are you wondering what is the first iron bridge in the world? My husband and I went for a day trip to The Iron Bridge in Telford, Shropshire which is less than an hour away from Birmingham. It is recognised as one of the World Heritage Sites in the UK in 1986. This is the second time we’ve seen the architectural grandeur of the Iron Bridge.

Located in the charming and quintessential British countryside of Shropshire is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution that changed the world forever.  The Iron Bridge is known as the first and oldest cast-iron bridge in the world.

Let me share with you our personal experience when my husband and I visited this historical landmark that started the industrial revolution.

Read More: The Best Day Trips from Birmingham, UK

Why Is The Iron Bridge a World Heritage? 

The Iron Bridge is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the UK.  Known for its grandeur beauty and cultural impact on British history and for the rest of the world.  The famous bridge has later become the name of the town where it is located now.

Iron bridge Unesco Heritage Site
The Iron Bridge

Who built the Iron bridge in Telford?

Built and erected in 1779 with the lead effort of the ironmaster Abraham Darby III and the architect Thomas Farnoll Pritchard. The Iron Bridge has inscribed words ” This bridge was cast at Coalbrook=Dale and erected in the year 1779.”

The Iron Bridge inscribed words on the bridge
The Iron Bridge inscribed words on the bridge

Do you have to pay to walk over the Iron Bridge?

It is FREE of charge to walk over the Iron Bridge. You can access the Iron bridge from High street or Ladywood street near the Iron Bridge Toll House Museum.

Walking on top of the Iron Bridge
Walking on top of the Iron Bridge

Brief History of the Iron Bridge:

The bridge was built in response to the increasing trading demands within the area of Coalbrookdale. Wherein vessels were used to transport goods back and forth the banks. Making it difficult for the traders, especially during the winter months and bad weather conditions.  

The first of its kind, the proposed iron bridge was the beginning of the Industrial age and revolutionised the world of engineering and architecture forever.  

The Iron Bridge 1779
View from The Iron Bridge metal marking engraved 1779

The planning of the bridge began in 1775 and the work began in 1779. The Ironbridge is made from 384 tonnes of iron, 100 feet span and 3 months of non-stop working to build. The bridge cost around £6,000 to build in the 18th century, but the current value would be around £1.5 million.

How old is The Iron Bridge?

The Ironbridge is around 240 years old since the year it was erected in 1779. 

Planning your visit to the Iron Bridge:

Where is The Iron Bridge located?

How to use this Google Map:

Click on the left SQUARE icon next to the title to see the various things to do and point of interest in this itinerary. You can see more information about the different attractions when you click the icons, as well as show and hide each day of the itinerary and the driving routes. You can also import this itinerary map to your own Google Maps account by clicking the STAR icon next to the title. Then go to your own Google maps app, head over to the SAVED tab and scroll down and press the MAPS icon.

Address: Hodge Bower, Ironbridge, Telford TF8 7JP

Nearest Car parks:

  • Ladywood, Ironbridge, Telford TF8 7JP
  • 5 Ladywood, Ironbridge, Telford TF8 7JR
Seating area near the Iron Bridge in Telford
Seating area near the Iron Bridge in Telford

I highly suggest going and heading towards the High Street, and accessing the Iron Bridge from there to give you an outstanding picturesque view of the bridge. There are seating areas available just at the foot of the War Memorial.

How to get to The Iron Bridge:

From Birmingham or London via train:

  • Take the train from Birmingham New Street or London to Telford Central. 
  • Walk to the Telford Central bus station – Stand A (Towards Madeley)
  • Get off at Wyvern 
  • 15 mins walk to the Ironbridge

If you are driving from anywhere in the UK, you can follow the Google Map here that will take you directly to the Iron bridge landmark. Alternatively, you can save the map I have provided in this blog post.

In terms of parking in Ironbridge, there are ample pay and display parking spaces nearby the Iron bridge high street which is in front of the bridge itself. You can park for an hour for free in the designated car park just a few metres away from the bridge. I listed down the address of the nearest car parks as well pinned it on the map.

What is there to do in Ironbridge?

In the 1950s the campaign for the preservation of the Ironbridge was built by the locals that aspired to pass on the phenomenal landmark to future generations to see. The Ironbridge is a significant historical and cultural treasure of the UK and is hailed as part of the National Trust and English Heritage treasures. 

Want to explore more cultural gems in the UK? 
Sign up to National Trust and English Heritage Memberships

The Ironbridge Gorge is also a family and dog-friendly place to visit. Various museums can be visited during the day to learn more about the history and significance of the area and the bridge. 

The museums nearby the Ironbridge are Blists Hill Victorian Town, the Iron Gorge museum and Coalbrookdale museum to name a few. You can also visit the little museum at the Toll house on the bridge. 

If you fancy a little walk around the area, you can follow the suggested walk by the National Trust around Benthall Hall.  You can see the route here around the area.

More posts about the United Kingdom

If you are looking for a travel itinerary read more Best UK Travel Itinerary for 2 Weeks and Best Places to Visit in the UK Recommended by Travel Bloggers

The Iron Bridge the first iron bridge in the world pin
The Iron Bridge: The First Iron Bridge in the World

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio

Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Daily Mail UK, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her in travelling around the UK and beyond with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and share travel guides, travel tips, foodies, history and culture.

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