I is for Ironbridge #AtoZChallenge
I’m doing the A to Z Challenge in April, using the theme of the UK & Ireland. Today I want to talk about Ironbridge, a site that I very much want to visit in England, but may never make it to because I’m not driving on the left.
The town of Ironbridge takes its name from the Iron Bridge. When it was opened in 1781, the Iron Bridge was the first major bridge in the world to be built with cast iron and it became a symbol and inspiration for what could be accomplished in the Industrial Age.
The Iron Bridge along with the surrounding area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, honoring its importance to the history of industrialization in the UK and around the world.
The Ironbridge Gorge Museums tell the story through ten sites on and around the bridge. I’m most interested in the history museums — the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron and the Museum of the Gorge. The Blists Hill Victorian Town looks like it’s meant to appeal to families, but the blast furnaces are there, so it would likely be worth a visit, too.
The problem is that the closest train station is six miles away in Telford. That seemed like an insurmountable problem when we visited in 2014. I actually looked into hiring a car and driver for the day in Birmingham to get us there and back, but the cost was outrageous.
Now, though, I’m thinking that we’d just get a taxi in Telford and ask any employee to call us a taxi from the last site we visit. We’d probably want to go on the weekend to take advantage of a bus service between the ten sites of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. This all seems much less intimidating to me now than it did in 2014. This would be a terrific day trip from Birmingham, so I’m putting it back on the wish list!
You’d maybe be better asking local people/shop keepers about reliable taxi firms locally and try to find one with a text messaging service that keeps you informed including when your cab arrives the colour, make and registration number of your ride. Not sure how widespread they are- especially in rural areas – but our city has a very good one that uses that system for all mobile phone customers and offers an app too. Or if you need a hackney carriage for disability assistance/wheelchair users although they tend to be more expensive. If you see a parked taxiyou musn’t hire one from the street but can seek info), or any parked at a taxi rank where hire from the street is permitted, ask drivers for their firm’s card and an estimate of prices too- even if they’re only making a rough guess on the spot. Sometimes asking the venue is helpful but might not be the quickest, safest or most cost effective option.
It does look a fascinating area to visit, steeped with history, but there are so many more places also worthy to visit and most of us English don’t get to the majority of them of course. Trains are a fantastic way to travel as you see places along the way that are invisible by road and inaccessible otherwise. If you can plan your journey even a couple of days ahead, depending on ticket demand, advance tickets can save a lot of money on the fares. Sometimes there are coach firms offering day trips too, maybe that’s alike the weekend buses you describe. buy a local newspaper or try local community websites for ads detailing any available around relevant time of visit. Most public transport options have more frequent service during weekdays and websites can help plan what seem like otherwise difficult and complex journeys, but walking distances from main route bus stops can be prohibitive sometimes. And if staying in a city with cycle hire, some trains allow passengers with a cycle, you have to check to be sure.
I know this is a virtual journey and you’re ‘wishlisting’ but here’s hoping you fulfill all your dream travel experiences.
Thanks! That’s helpful information.
Driving on the left is no more difficult than driving on the right, Joy 🙂 Go on – give it a go! There’s a car park next to the Iron Bridge and Blists Hill is great fun – both are featured on A Bit About Britain. Incidentally, it’s perfectly legal to hire a licensed hackney cab by hailing it on the street – it’s the private taxi firms who aren’t supposed to stop. The coach trip is a good suggestion, but getting a cab from Telford should be easy.
Thanks, Mike! Driving on the left is probably something I can summon up some courage to do.