I visited the Blist Hill Museum, a Victorian village as part of a three-day break in Ironbridge in June with my mum. We were travelling by public transport, there wasn’t a bus to take you to this museum as they only operate during the school summer holidays and we were told it was up quite a steep incline so was advised to get a taxi. We were staying in Ironbridge centre and the taxi only took about 5 minutes costing £4.20 so about the same price as a bus ticket anyway.
Go Carz recommended by tourist information centre were quick and reliable: 01952 501050
We visited on a Tuesday and was told it was a good day as not many school parties, the next day over 400 school children were expected so I think we were quite lucky as we had trouble getting in the sweetshop today so dread to think what it would be like with more kids around. It opens 10am-5pm took us about 3 hours to get all the way around.
Out of all the museums at Ironbridge Gorge this is the one I was looking forward to seeing the most. It is set up like a working Victorian town. As you may have gathered from my other posts I love dressing up and having my photo taken with random statues so I was quite excited.
Most of the grounds are flat and easy to get around. There was a bit of a steep brew to get down to the bottom bit of the village but I did see wheelchairs being pushed back up. There are benches along the hill so you can walk to one bench, have a sit down and then carry on to the next bench. The best bit about this brew for me is this is where the pigs are. I love pigs and I could have stayed there all day watching them rolling about in the mud. I’m sure one of them was speaking to me as everytime I said hello it grunted.
There were also two horses in the village, they were gorgeous although I’m a bit nervous around horses and when one of them suddenly moved it did give me a bit of a fright.
Here is a detailed access guide for more information about getting around the village.
The museum was very realistic and so much better than just looking at random photos and exhibition’s, I loved the interaction of actually walking around a village and going into all the shops, it was like a adults version of playing shop.
Bank – You can actually exchange your money for old fashioned coins to use in the other shops. This is a fun thing to do especially for the kids and if you don’t spend it you can change it back or keep it as a souvenir. We didn’t actually change any money and the shops did except modern coins.
Pharmacy – The pharmacy was interesting it was also the optician, dentist, and even vets. The shop assistant was really informative and was telling us about how it was ran back in those days and answered any questions.
Photographers – You actually go into the photography shop to have your photo taken in dress up. It was actually quite a reasonable price of £15 for up to 4 people and you could have 1 large print or options of smaller sizes. The lady taking the photographs was very friendly and got us in to the spirit of things by calling us ladies and saying how grand we looked. We had gone for the wealthy Victorian look as I guess the poorer people wouldn’t be able to afford to have their photos taken.
We were told to have stern faces as the Victorians didn’t smile in the photos, the next shot was to smile a little and then the next was to have big cheesy grins. It was lots of fun and we decided to purchase the stern faced as it was more authentic.
Bakery – In the bakery they were baking what looked like currant buns which could be purchased. There was a sign saying next batch ready at 11.30 but we got there at 12 and it was all gone and the next batch was ready at 12.30 unfortunately I wanted chips so we didn’t try the rolls but they smelt yummy.
Butchers – In the butchers you could purchase pies, pasties, scotch eggs and pork scratchings.
School, Fairground and village hall- In the school we saw school groups dressing up and having a lesson. Also they could go on the fairground rides there was a carousel and a swing set looked like lots of fun the children were having a blast. The village hall is actually a café so you can have a cup of tea and a rest here before having to walk up the hill again.
Cottages – There were two cottages one was slightly grander than the other. It was so interesting to see how people lived back then. There are women sat in the cottages making rag rugs and can answer any questions you may have. We kept bumping into the postman who was walking round my mum asked him where his bike was and he said it had a puncture.
Fish and Chips – After walking around the town for a couple of hours I was starting to get hungry and also needed watering so what better place to go to than the fish and chip shop followed by a nice cold ale in the local pub.
There was an old fashioned fish and chip shop and I got excited when it said they actually served real food 11.30 until 3. I love a good chip. They were apparently cooked in beef dripping so not suitable for vegetarians but they were absolutely delicious. It was very popular and there was a big queue. We sat on a wall eating from the paper cone in the sunshine only problem was I put lots of salt on so we got thirsty and then had to go in the pub for an ale. (what a shame!!!)
Pub – The pub was quite basic compared to our pubs nowadays. There was a piano in one lounge and they had a sing song. I had ½ a mild and my mum had ½ an ale, we had to have a traditional drink since we were in an old fashioned pub and after the salty chips and the walk around the village I downed mine pretty quickly as it was so refreshing.
There were so many other shops including the candle maker but I had to escape quickly as I didn’t like the smell, Grocers, Bike shop, doctors house, estate house, printers, gardens with allotments. Visitors were allowed to take their dogs and they could go in all the shops apart from the ones that sold food. It really was a good day out I would highly recommend.