Sunday, 19 May 2013

Summer Hot Spots - Take A Trip To Ironbridge

A bridge over troubled water is exactly what The Ironbridge isn't... 

In fact for a small little village (if that's what it is?) situated in a gorge in Shropshire, it's pretty idilic! Ironbridge is named after it's main feature 'THE IRONBRIDGE' which just so happens to be the first iron made bridge to be produced in the world *cool huh?* This wonderful little valley dwelling is just a ten minute drive from my house and it's the perfect place to go on a day trip and have a picnic, particularly on a super sunny day.

With lots to see and do (considering its small size) Ironbridge remains a tourist hotspot for many - with people travelling in from across the globe just to see it! As well as The Ironbridge itself, which you can walk over and take some gorgeous snaps of, there's also a beautiful park overlooking the River Severn (Dale End Park), a plethora of museums including the Victorian Blists Hill Museum and Enginuity, some gorgeous tea shops, lovely restaurants and pubs, an antiques and arts centre, gift shops and more! Honestly, there's A LOT to see and do there for such a small place. It's well worth a visit.

On a beautiful summer's day, Ironbridge is as picturesque as could be with the River Severn flowing through the valley and Dale End Park full of life and greenery! There's an awesome ice cream parlour right across the bridge itself called Vanilla Ice and even though it appears to be named after Mr ICE ICE BABY himself, the ice cream you can buy from there is out of this world. It's 'proper' ice cream - ya know, the stuff you get in cones - and it's fantastic! There's also a particularly diverse selection of flavours so there'll be something for everyone (even the fussiest of ice cream connoisseurs!)

Stroll down the hill away from the Ironbridge itself, past the handful of little gift shops and pubs, and come to Queenies Cupcakery on the right - a rather lovely tea shop offering gorgeous cakes and hot drinks in a vintage style setting. If you'll be travelling as a large party then I'd definitely suggest booking in for a vintage tea party.

Once you're thoroughly stocked up on cakes and tea, keep walking down the hill alongside the River until you come to a large car park on the left hand side of the road (opposite The Swan pub). Behind the car park is the Ironbridge Antiques, Arts & Craft Centre which is a treasure trove of vintage finds at very reasonable prices. They also have a little tea and cake shop which you can pop into - just in case you weren't full up from the previous sesh at Queenies! From the Antiques Centre, move on to Dale End park which is a gorgeous expanse of green grass, flowers and trees complete with a play area for children and picnic benches by the River Severn for those who are looking to stop and have a bite to eat. It's a very nice place to chill and have a lazy afternoon.

Near to Dale End Park (heading back towards the road) is the Merrythought Teddy Bear Shop and Museum, which is definitely worth popping into. Merrythought are actually the last remaining teddy bear manufacturers in the UK and each bear is lovingly made from the original factory that was used over 80 years ago! I've actually still got a Merrythought bear which I was given when I was a child, and considering it's 20 years old, you couldn't tell! Don't forget to have your picture taken next to the rather large Beefeater Bear either... *SAY CHEESE*

Spend the rest of the day walking alongside the river, eating ice cream, exploring the surrounding museums and if you're going to push the boat out (literally) then why not take a boat trip!? There are also opportunities for canoeing and if you're not really into the whole 'water sports' thing then there are some lovely walks to be had along both sides of the River Severn. Speaking of river walks, my boyfriend and I walked along the river on our first date and I managed to kick my shoe off into the river after attempting to kick a conker. What a wally. Thankfully my shoe was perched just on the edge of a rock, right on the river's edge, and Jack managed to rescue it for me. My hero. So yes if you do go for a little walk, try not to lose your shoe!

Summer evenings in Ironbridge are equally as enjoyable with plenty of pubs and restaurants to visit. Some of my favourite pubs include: The Malthouse - a rustic (over 21s) pub which offers fabulous food and a tranquil setting. On a sunny day you can sit outside with a nice cold beverage and watch people go about their daily business. You're also positioned about 50 yards away from the river. The White Hart, which is positioned nearer to The Ironbridge itself offers a place to chill out and there's plenty of comfortable outdoor seating to choose from - they also provide snack food which is a little cheaper than the Malthouse!

Restaurant-wise, I'd definitely recommend booking a table at any of the following:
So there we have it, Ironbridge in a nut shell! If you're ever in the Midlands I would definitely recommend a trip to this place - particularly on a sunny day, it's a must!

Final Note - I'm looking to start adding more travel-related bits and bobs to my blog, particularly as I'll be off to Croatia next month and would love to share the best places to go with you guys in case you ever go! Would you be interested in seeing more travel-related stuff every now and then? x

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This post was an entry for the Late Rooms travel blogging competition. If you enjoyed reading it then I would really appreciate if you could vote for me here :)


  1. Ironbridge looks stunning, I'd love to visit for the day! xxx

  2. Love Ironbridge, considering that I've got an annual pass I should be looking at another visit soon lol x

  3. As soon as I saw your post pop up on my dashboard I recognised Ironbridge! I only went last year but managed to miss the cupcake cafe noo, it looks so good too!

    louisejoyb x

  4. I remember visiting the Ironbridge when I was really young on a family day out but I haven't been since, I definitely think now I'm older I'll be able to appreciate it all a lot more. Definitely want to go and check out that teddy bear museum too!! I really enjoyed reading this post, there's so many wonderful little places like this around England that not that many people know about!


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