One of my favourite places for a Summer day out is Ironbridge. The historic Shropshire town is the home of one of the world’s most famous bridges, the glorious structure that gives Ironbridge its name and spans the spectacular Ironbridge Gorge. Ironbridge is often called the ‘Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution’ and the area is home to many museums that tell the story of its importance to the Industrial age, including the Victorian Village at Blists Hill, but even if Industrial history is not your thing, the town itself is picturesque setting for a picnic, or for great fish and chips, a perfect place to walk your dog and enjoy Summer sunshine.
The bridge was built by Abraham Darby the 3rd and opened in 1781. It was the first bridge to be fabricated from cast iron, and is one of few that still survive, it is also now reopened after a period of closure for maintenance. There is a toll museum at the end of the bridge and a walk across it is a must, if only for the stunning views across the gorge. You can also take the steps to go underneath the bridge, worth doing to examine the stunning metalwork.
The town is perfect for those who like their shopping to be of the independent, quirky variety. There is an all year around Christmas shop selling beautiful and unusual decorations and certainly perfect for an Instagram opportunity posing by the giant Nutcracker. The Ironbridge bookshop is my favourite bookshop, a treasure trove of Penguin classics including an enormous Agatha Christie collection (£2 each or three for £5 which is an absolute bargain.) It’s another place that is Insta friendly, look at the amazing staircase! There are other shops that sell local produce, jewellery and trinkets, and a really great antiques centre which has a tea room on the riverside.
There are also a great selection of pubs and restaurant for a pitstop drink or a leisurely long lunch. We stopped at the White Hart on a warm and sunny day for a crisp G&T and sat in their outside courtyard enjoying the view, although of course you can now sit inside too.
Ironbridge is one of those wonderful English towns where you can just sit and watch the world go by, glorying in the stunning scenery and the pleasant friendly atmosphere. It’s a place I love to visit, and will certainly be returning to over and over again.