17 Best Things to do in Ironbridge (Shropshire, UK)

Are you wondering about the best things to do in Ironbridge, Shropshire, UK? I have been to Ironbridge, Shropshire a few times now and every time it didn’t fail to amaze me with how wonderful this place is because of its history and great significance to the modern world we have now. This charming English town has been the centre of the Industrial revolution and has become one of the best places to visit in the UK.

Ironbridge was a memorable town for me because this was where my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. So, I would like to share with you some of the attractions and best things to do in Ironbridge. 

Best Things to do in Ironbridge, Shropshire, UK

1. Iron bridge

The Iron Bridge is a historical landmark located in the county of Shropshire, England. It is a pioneering structure that was completed in 1781 and was the first bridge in the world to be made entirely of cast iron.

Iron bridge Unesco Heritage Site
Best Things to do in Ironbridge: Visit the famous Iron Bridge

The Iron Bridge spans the River Severn and connects the town of Ironbridge with the village of Coalbrookdale. It was designed by the English engineer Thomas Pritchard and was built by the ironmaster Abraham Darby III. The bridge consists of a single arch that spans 100 feet (30 meters) and is supported by iron ribs and pillars. The roadway of the bridge is 20 feet (6 meters) wide and is supported by iron beams.

The Iron Bridge is an important symbol of the Industrial Revolution and has been designated as one of the UK UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is a popular tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of people each year. The bridge and the surrounding area are also home to a number of museums and other cultural attractions that explore the history of the Industrial Revolution.

I wrote another article here about The Iron Bridge: The First Iron Bridge in the World, I encourage you to read it to know more about this historical landmark.

2. Ironbridge Toll House

Toll House in Iron Bridge
Best Things to Do in Ironbridge: Toll House in Iron Bridge

The Ironbridge Toll House is a historic building located in Ironbridge, Shropshire, England. It was built in 1779 as part of the Iron Bridge, which was the world’s first bridge made entirely of iron. The toll house was used to collect tolls from people crossing the bridge, and it continued to do so until the tolls were abolished in 1950.

Toll House fee in Ironbridge UK
Best Things to Do in Ironbridge: Toll House fee in Ironbridge UK

The Ironbridge Toll House is a Grade II listed building and is now open to the public as a museum. Visitors can explore the toll house and learn about its history, as well as the history of the Iron Bridge and the Industrial Revolution in the Ironbridge Gorge. The museum features exhibits on the history of the toll house and the Iron Bridge, as well as a range of artefacts from the period. 

3. Blists Hill Victorian Town 

A visit to Blists Hill Victorian Town will transport you back to Victorian times. It is an open-air live Victorian village that enables the visitors to experience first-hand what it was like to live in the Industrial village.  A visit to the Blists Hill Victorian Town is one of the perfect things to do in Ironbridge for families with kids. 

Blists Hill Victorian Village
Best Things to do in Ironbridge: Visit the Blists Hill Victorian Town
Blists Hill Victorian Village | GeorgeIronbridge, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Blists Hill Victorian Town was originally an iron-making, mining and brickmaking site. The site was turned into a museum to protect the history and heritage of the area for future generations. Inside the Blists Hill Victorian Town, you can find various Victorian trades like pharmacies, traditional pubs and mines. You even have to swap your modern Stirling Pounds for Shillings and Pence (the English old money!) Check out this map to see the attractions inside Blists Hill Victorian Town.

4. Enginuity

The Enginuity Museum is a hands-on science and engineering museum for kids. The museum aims to teach the kids the great works of engineering to inspire future young engineers. The Enginuity museum lets the kids explore and play around on their own accord to discover and learn new things within the museum. 

The various interactive and engaging displays will surely keep the children busy.  They can also learn about the very first electric car that was made at Coalbrookdale. 

5. Coalport China Museum

The Coalport China Works was built and operational in 1796 next to the Shropshire canal for accessibility and transportation of goods. It became The factory was shut in 1926 and after 50 years it was turned into a museum. 

You can find fantastic and skilful craftsmanship inside the ceramic creations by the resident artisans. There are various ceramic-making demonstrations and you can even try to paint your own china and other family fun creative activities. 

Also displayed inside the Coalport China Museum are various china made for British Royalties like Queen Victoria and other European monarchs and Tsars.  You can also find here the extraordinary collection of Northumberland Vase that was made in Coalport. 

6. Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron is the heart of Iron making and the place where the industrial revolution all began. The long history of ironmaking began in Coalbrookdale way back in 1545, because the area was rich in various natural resources for ironmaking. In addition, Coalbrookdale is conveniently located and has easy access to the Severn river and canal system for ease in transporting goods in all parts of Great Britain and its major ports for export across the British empire. 

Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron in Ironbridge
Best Things to Do in Ironbridge: Visit the Coalbrookdale Museum
GeorgeIronbridge, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1709, Coalbrookdale was the place where Abraham Darby I have famously known for pioneering the use of Coke (Roasted Coal) rather than charcoal in smelting iron revolutionised the ironmaking process and started the Industrial revolution. Then the Ironbridge came to fruition to mark this momentous era. 

Inside the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, you can find the original furnace that Abraham Darby I used in 1709.  You can also find various collections and artefacts that tell the story of how ironmaking in Coalbrookdale evolved over the years. 

7. Museum of Gorge

The Museum of the Gorge was a warehouse of the Coalbrookdale Company’s Severn Warehouse.  This converted Gothic-style building was used as a storage facility for all the metal goods made in the foundry. Due to its close proximity to the Severn River, the factory workers managed to load goods onto the barges for delivery to the different parts of Great Britain and abroad. 

Displayed inside the Museum of Gorge are detailed accounts throughout its history and how it became the centre of the Industrial revolution. At the moment, the Museum of Gorge is currently undergoing a major renovation, hence it is closed for public visit.

8. Darby Houses

The Darby Houses were built in the 18th century by the Darby family, who were prominent industrialists and philanthropists in the region.

Dale House in Ironbridge Shropshire UK
Best Things to do in Ironbridge: Visit the Darby Houses – The Dale House
The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are several Darby Houses in Ironbridge, including the original Dale House, which was built in 1717. Then the Rosehill house which has been restored to reflect the life during the 1840s features the Quaker lifestyle of the early Darby family.

Rosehill House in Ironbridge Shropshire UK
Best Things to Do in Ironbridge: Visit the Darby Houses – The Rosehill
The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Darby family played a significant role in the development of the Industrial Revolution, and their homes and businesses are an important part of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. It was in Dale House when Abraham Darby III planned the construction of the world-famous Iron Bridge.

The Darby Houses are open to the public and are a popular tourist attraction in Ironbridge. They offer a glimpse into the lives of the Darby family, Quaker traditions and the history of the Industrial Revolution. Visitors can explore the historic buildings and learn about the contributions of the Darby family to the region.

9. Tar Tunnel 

The Tar Tunnel is a historic underground passage located in Ironbridge, Shropshire, England. The tunnel was built in 1786 as part of the Iron Bridge Gorge Museum Trust. The Tar Tunnel was a mining site for Bitumen and was used to transport coal and iron ore to the furnace at Coalbrookdale. It is approximately 914 meters long and is located beneath the River Severn.

The Tar Tunnel is a popular tourist attraction in Ironbridge and is open to the public for guided tours. Visitors can explore the tunnel and learn about its history and the role it played in the Industrial Revolution.

10. River Severn rafting (Shropshire Raft Tours)

Shropshire Raft Tours is a company that offers rafting trips on the River Severn in Shropshire, England. The company provides guided tours for individuals and groups of all ages and experience levels.

During a rafting trip with Shropshire Raft Tours, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the beautiful landscape of the River Severn while paddling downstream on a raft. The trips typically last for around 2-3 hours and include a briefing on rafting techniques and safety before you set off.

The company offers a range of rafting trips to suit different interests and abilities. There are more challenging trips for experienced rafters, as well as more leisurely options for those who are looking for a more relaxed experience.

If you’re interested in going rafting with Shropshire Raft Tours, it’s a good idea to check their website for more information and to book your trip in advance.

The Jackfield Tile Museum is part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and is dedicated to the history of ceramic tile production in the area.

11. Jackfield Tile Museum

The museum is housed in the former Jackfield Tile Works, which was once one of the largest tile factories in the world. The factory produced tiles for use in a variety of settings, including churches, public buildings, and private homes.

At the Jackfield Tile Museum, visitors can learn about the history of tile making in the Ironbridge Gorge and see a range of tiles from different periods. The museum also features a working kiln, where visitors can watch demonstrations of tile production and see tiles being made.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum also offers a range of activities and events, including workshops and talks.

12. Broseley Pipeworks

Broseley Pipeworks is a historic site that was once a factory that produced clay pipes for the tobacco industry, and it is now a museum dedicated to the history of clay pipe making in the area.

The Broseley Pipeworks Museum is housed in the former factory buildings, which have been restored to their original appearance. Visitors can explore the museum and see a range of exhibits on the history of clay pipe making, including original equipment and tools used in the production process. The museum also features a working kiln, where visitors can watch demonstrations of clay pipe making and see the pipes being made.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum also offers a range of activities and events, including workshops and talks. If you’re interested in visiting the Broseley Pipeworks Museum, it’s a good idea to check the opening hours and book your tickets in advance. The museum is open to the public from July to September and tickets can be purchased on the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust website.

13. Bedlam Furnace

Bedlam Furnace is a historic blast furnace located in Ironbridge, Shropshire, England. It is part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and is open to the public as a museum.

The Bedlam Furnace was built around 1756  and was used to produce iron for over 300 years. It is a rare surviving example of a coke-fired blast furnace, and it is one of the oldest surviving blast furnaces in Europe. At the Bedlam Furnace, visitors can learn about the history of iron production in the Ironbridge Gorge and see the furnace up close.

14. Benthall Hall

About 10 minutes drive from the famous Ironbridge, You can find the historical manor of Benthall Hall. Benthall Hall is a Grade I listed building located in the village of Benthall, near Broseley in Shropshire, England. The Benthall Hall was recorded in the Doomsday book as part of Wenlock and belonged to the Wenlock Priory.

 It is a historic country house that has been the home of several generations of the Benthall family since the 11th century. It is constructed of sandstone exterior and the interior of the house contains a number of historical features, including a fine collection of oak panelling, a well-ornate staircase and a Jacobean fireplace.

The gardens at Benthall Hall are renowned for their beauty and are open to the public. Benthall Hall is owned and managed by the National Trust, you can visit their opening hours and buy a season pass National Trust ticket here

15. Visit Local and charity shops

Ironbridge High Street in Shropshire UK
Best Things to Do in Ironbridge: Go shop and roam around the Ironbridge High Street in Shropshire, UK

A visit to the Ironbridge won’t be complete without going around the local shops that offer different gift items, memorabilia and beautiful crafts from the local artisan of Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge.  

There are also a few charity shops along the high street, you can find different vintage clothes and items that are considered treasure finds! 

16. Try the fish and chips

Located along the high street near the Ironbridge, you can find a couple of local chippies that sell classic Fish and Chips! Every time my husband and I will visit the Ironbridge, we loved stopping by and eating the fish and chips at the seating area overlooking the gorgeous countryside scene of the Ironbridge.  

Fish and Chips from the local chip shop or chippy
Best Things to Do in Ironbridge: Try the Fish and Chips from the local chip shop or chippy

Just taking it all in while enjoying the delicious British food and the quintessentially British landscape.

17. Enjoy the English pub culture

After a busy day walking along the banks of River Severn and the Ironbridge, you can find charming English pubs and restaurants dotted along the main high street.  Enjoy different pub classic drinks and delicious food while enjoying the charming countryside of Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge. 

Maps of Things to Do in Ironbridge, Shropshire, UK

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.

I hope these suggested things to do in Ironbridge, Shropshire can help you plan your trip to this beautiful English countryside that is brimming with history and its impact is still something we enjoy up to this modern times.

Best Things to Do in Ironbridge UK pin
17 Best Things to Do in Ironbridge UK

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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