Set either side of the River Severn in the stunning Ironbridge Gorge, the ten fascinating Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Telford, offer a great day out for all ages that is fun as well as educational.
The most popular museum for families is Blists Hill Victorian Town, where life over a hundred years ago is demonstrated by costumed townsfolk. Visitors often start their day by exchanging modern money in the town's bank for Victorian token coins to spend on treats in the historic shops such as traditional Fish and Chips, sweets or ribbons. The next stop might be one of the cottages or workshops.
Families always enjoy taking a ride on the Town's funfair, seeing the animals and chatting to the costumed townsfolk. Visitors love to hear about the Victorian medicines and pills that were prepared in the Pharmacy, and the gruesome tales surrounding the Dentist's chair and Doctor's surgery!
Once they have walked around the town, visitors are welcome to enjoy some refreshments in the pub and join in a sing-along with Victorian performers.
At the Museum of the Gorge visitors can watch a fascinating video that helps them understand why the area is a World Heritage Site and details the remarkable events that happened in the Gorge. Families will also be able to take a look at a giant model that shows what the Gorge looked like in 1796.
Families can begin their day out at Enginuity, created to inspire everyone through the power of imagination and design, whatever their age. Here, visitors can play with huge interactive exhibits, test their reactions against the speed of a robot, or pull a 10 ton locomotive by hand.
At Jackfield Tile Museum visitors can see magnificent decorative tiles in the original Victorian Factory. At the drop-in workshops held at the museum on many days during the school holidays, children can decorate a tile using traditional techniques and glazes with their own design. Similarly, at Coalport China Museum, children have the opportunity to create their own ceramics in regularly held hands-on workshops.
Only a short walk away from Coalport China Museum is the Tar Tunnel. Adventurous visitors can put on a hard hat and go underground to see the tar oozing from the side of the Gorge.
Next on families' lists might be the Museum of Iron, where they can learn about the beginning of the iron industry, and how it rapidly changed during the Industrial Revolution. Another grand model of the Gorge will offer an insight into how different the landscape was during the Industrial Revolution and the vital role that waterpower played.
A lovely finale of a trip to the Gorge would be a stroll along the nearby banks of the River Severn and across the famous Iron Bridge.
A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children (16 years or under), £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply); Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 5% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum. Activities will vary from day-to-day and some additional costs will apply. Individual museum entry tickets are also available. For further information Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.