Blists Hill Victorian Town

21 Reviews

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Things to do


Date of travel

May, 2018

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TIME travel would be a fine thing but, if you don’t have a TARDIS to hand, a visit to Blists Hill is a good alternative.

Part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s collection of attractions, this recreated industrial town aims to show visitors what life was like at the turn of the 19th century. The 20-hectare site includes the original blast furnaces, part of the Shropshire Canal, and a brick and tile works, but the rest has been rescued from destruction and brought together to create a vibrant attraction with homes, stables, schools, shops and more.
But the best bit about the Town is the interaction with ‘Victorians’ in costume and character. Start your visit by calling in at the bank, where you can change money into pounds, shillings and pence (on my visit, £5 gave approximately 12 pence halfpenny to spend) then sally forth to spend.

There’s a lot to see, and the older visitor will probably get most out of seeing things they remember from their childhood – I was reminded of my grandmother’s back garden allotment, steam engines and cobbled streets, though fortunately not of the dentist’s chair and all the tools of the trade. Younger visitors, meanwhile, will find plenty to entertain them with regular events, theme activities and trails, and the Victorian funfair.
We went in May, out of school holiday time, so the place was relatively empty and it was lovely to stroll around on a sunny day and absorb the sights and sounds of yesteryear. The Town is well equipped with facilities, disabled access looks to be good, and there are plenty of places to buy food (pies, sweets and buns or their modern equivalents) and drink.

After eating our sandwiches, we opted for a cone of chips (price: 6 pence and one farthing) plus a bottle of ginger beer, but there were plenty of other choices and you could really get into the spirit of the times with a trip to the pub for a pint and a singsong around the piano.

Top tips are: to book a session in advance if you fancy having your picture taken in Victorian gear – the Photographer’s Studio gets booked up very quickly; and check the website for special events, as these range from Open-Air Cinema and photography workshops, to Ghostly Gaslight and Fireworks Night.

Annual passports are available online with 5% discount, or seniors over 60 can pay £20.50 on the door. A single ticket costs £12.70 but the passport gives you a year’s access to nine other attractions in the Ironbridge Gorge – we also visited the iconic Iron Bridge just up the road – and represents great value.

If you like history, this attraction really does bring the past alive. And if you simply want a day’s entertainment for the family, Blists Hill does a great job. We’ll be back.

Jane Leigh

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