Shropshire’s Essential Entertainment Guide
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One of ten award-winning museums that make up the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Blists Hill: Victorian Town offers visitors the chance to step back in time to the days of Queen Victoria. Set over fifty-two acres, the museum has plenty to offer and is very much an interactive experience.
There are general drapers, blacksmiths, a pharmacy (also home to a particularly gruesome dentist room) and the bank, where you can exchange your new money for old and try to manage with pounds, shillings and pence. Don’t worry, though - these Victorians can manage our modern monies, but unsurprisingly they don’t have any cash machines.
Wherever you shop or visit there are costumed demonstrators and town characters, all of whom are ready to take the time to chat and tell you their character’s story. If you’re curious about something in particular, just ask; the players are very knowledgable 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. And very often you’ll get to have a good laugh too - Victorians weren’t all stuffy!
Thankfully they also liked food and drink just as much as we do - so if you’re feeling peckish, pay a visit to the fried fish dealer and enjoy traditionally cooked fish and chips, or alternatively, pop into the New Inn - not only do they serve a fine ale, they also have a tearoom upstairs with some healthier eating options! And if you fancy something sweet, pop to the bakers - alongside the fresh baked bread there are tasty buns and biscuits to enjoy - or head to the sweet shop, where you can grab a bag of traditional favourites.
Give yourself plenty of time to stroll through Blists Hill as there’s so much to take your attention, including the shire horses (horse-and-cart rides), blast furnaces, the cottage gardens and the doctor’s room. Be sure to stop off and see the winding engine - an amazing example of Industrial Revolution ingenuity - and pay a visit to the photographer’s, where you can don Victorian clothes and have an old-style photo taken.
There’s also a funfair to enjoy - complete with carousel, chair-o-planes and game stalls - the funicular train and the clay mine ride.
Blists Hill is a great experience that makes for a fun day out for all ages. And with so much to do, including a full programme of daily events, you’ll more than likely find yourself wanting to go back for more. No two visits are the same, and you can even get a yearly pass which allows you not only to visit Blists Hill as often as you like but also to check out the other museums managed by the trust.
Blists Hill Victorian Town,
Telephone: 01952 433424