Wednesday, 28 October 2009

World Heritage

OK, not strictly Guiding, but we had such a good family day out yesterday I need to pass it on!

We visited a World Heritage site. Though there are 890 of those across the world, and much as I would like to see the Great Barrier Reef or the Great Wall of China, we stayed local and went to Ironbridge Gorge.

Potted history: The world's first cast iron bridge was built over the River Severn at Coalbrookdale in 1779. The designation of the Ironbridge Gorge as a World Heritage Site recognised the area’s unique contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the impact of which was felt across the world.

Ironbridge has 10 museums, if you want to see the lot you really need 3 days, though most people would probably find about 2 days worth of interest and skip a few. You can buy admission to each museum, but if you go to more than two, a passport is better value. Why am I bothering to tell you that?

Three reasons:
  1. to save you money if you are thinking of going
  2. because we were so impressed - the passport lasts 12 months and you can go back to any of the 10 museums as often as you like in those 12 months
  3. because I am a crafty crafty woman and even though the passports are great value for money I managed to save us even more money by finding a "Buy an Adult Passport, get a Child passport free" voucher for each of the kids on the Heart of England website. If you visit the West Midlands or live in the area, you really should check that site out before going anywhere, pretty much everywhere we visit has some kind of voucher on there.
On this trip we went to:
  • Enginuity - a kind of science museum (reminded me quite a lot of Snibston) where as well as Son pushing a steam train just by turning a wheel and Daughter trying a range of blades on a wind turbine to see which was most effective, they also got to make boats from scraps of plastic bottles, binbags, straws etc then sail them in a test tank. This was Son and Husband's highlight of the day.
  • The adjacent Museum of Iron - ok, I confess we didn't actually go round this museum, just went into the cafe and had some lunch.
Then we got in the car (the museums are scattered over 6 miles) and drove down through Ironbridge to:
  • Jackfield Tile Museum - This place is still working and produces tiles for many London tube stations, and also had very interesting displays and videos about producing tiles (yes, the kids were interested too, it was that good!). The highlight here for Daughter and me was decorating our own tile - not just a ceramic tile with ceramic pens, this was way better. You were given a blank clay tile, having just seen them being made in the factory. You selected a design (or drew your own) then traced it onto the tile. Then you got a bag of piping clay and piped that on to the design, then pots of coloured liquid clay to fill in the colour of the tile. Son did a dog (heavily helped by his dad), Daughter did an owl and I did an Art Nouveau style. You have to leave them to be fired, then they are mailed out, so I will add pics when we have them.
A quick drink from the cafe there and we headed off to the actual Iron Bridge and a visit to the Tollhouse.

An excellent day out, 80 mins from home. Next time it will be so much cheaper, as we will already have our passports so admission won't be a cost, plus we plan to take a packed lunch and extra drinks with us.

Next time, probably around Easter, we plan to visit:
Oh, and steering everything back to Guiding, there are two Youth Hostels in the Gorge, plus a shuttle bus around the gorge...I'm thinking a Brownie weekend in Ironbridge maybe this time next year?


Kelloggsville said...

brilliant - I like Blitz Hill as much as the Black Country Museum. It's a whole day out in itself. This was a really cool post, I fancy the Tile museum.

Working Mum said...

I went to Blists Hill a long time ago and we were going to go and stay in the area in August last year and take daughter, but we couldn't get accommodation. If we try again next year I'll certainly take your advice and get the passports!

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