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Located within the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge Gorge is the recreated Victorian town of Blists Hill - just one of 10 tourist attractions belonging to the Ironbridge Gorge Trust.
Blists Hill reopened its doors to the public on 4 July after England’s national tourism organisation awarded the venue We’re Good To Go status - a seal of approval confirming that the attraction meets current Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Visitor confidence is key, and the Trust has put in place numerous measures to ensure the experiences offered at Blists Hill are just as good as they were pre-lockdown.
Set over 52 acres, the attraction has plenty to offer visitors and remains very much an interactive experience.
The museum includes a general drapers, a blacksmiths and a well-stocked pharmacy with an adjoining and rather gruesome dentist room. Here, you can learn about different potions and poisons and their use in curing (allegedly) a wide range of Victorian illnesses.
There’s also a bank, where - when not in the midst of a pandemic - visitors can exchange new money for old and try to manage with pounds, shillings and pence.
A trip to the nearby post office, meanwhile, reveals the daily workings of a service at the heart of a Victorian community.
Throughout your visit you will encounter costumed demonstrators and town characters, all of whom are ready to take the time to tell you their personal story.
All the players are very knowledgeable about their particular roles and the circumstances their characters lived in. You’ll always hear an interesting story or some gossip about another resident of the town
One character sure to pop up on numerous occasions during your visit is Blists Hill’s resident policeman. He will be roaming the town on his bike, keeping an eye out for anyone misbehaving.
The role of policeman is performed by Guy Rowland, who has taken on numerous guises at the museum over the past 15 years. Earlier this year, Guy came runner-up in VisitEngland’s annual Tourism Superstar competition. Not that you’ll hear him boasting about his accolade - he’s more concerned with sharing tales about the town’s most notorious criminals!
A trip to Blists Hill wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the local fried-fish dealer, where you can enjoy traditionally cooked fish & chips. Just follow the aroma that wafts around the town...
Alternatively, pop into the New Inn to enjoy a tipple and some good old-fashioned entertainment.
And if you fancy something sweet, head for the bakers. Alongside the fresh baked bread there are tasty buns and biscuits to enjoy. Or drop into the sweet shop to grab a bag of traditional favourites.
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to stroll through Blists Hill. There’s so much to grab your attention, including the shire horses (horse & cart rides), blast furnaces, workshops, cottage gardens, the school room and a doctor’s room with adjoining house.
Stop off and see the winding engine, too - an amazing example of Industrial Revolution ingenuity.
There’s also a funfair to enjoy - complete with Victorian carousel, chair-o-planes and game stalls where you can have a go at winning a coconut. The nearby Forest Glen Refreshment Pavilion offers a variety of hot and cold food & drink and has an extensive outdoor space where you can sit and rest your feet before heading off to explore some more.
Blists Hill is a great experience that makes for a fun day out for all ages. And with so much to do - and many events programmed throughout the day - you’ll more than likely find yourself wanting to go back for more.
On Saturday 8 August, the venue is hosting Dress Like A Victorian Day. Small prizes will be handed out to the best-dressed visitors. There will also be a host of costume-themed activities to enjoy.
Blists Hill is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm. All tickets must be pre-booked, even for annual pass holders. For further information, visit: ironbridge.org.uk
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