In a Nutshell
Set in the steep sided Severn Valley, Ironbridge is a small town that is a living museum of England's industrial past. The small town centre is surrounded by a multitude of museums, attractions and countryside walks. Expect to hop in and out of the car to get the best from the area as you visit the different local attractions.
Parking and Pooping
Ironbridge lies south of Telford, just off the A442 and is easily accessible from the M54. Dropping down the steep valley side towards the town centre, we find it best to turn away from the town and follow the road across the bridge to park in the Station car park on the other side of the famous Iron Bridge. This is a long stay car park, so reasonably priced and has more spaces than the short stay car park in the square and the advantage of being on the Severn Valley Way, so plenty of grass for pup. Public toilets are across the bridge in the town square.
At the car park you'll see signs with a map of the area, detailing the local museums and walks. For an easy walk cross the bridge towards the town and turn left to walk down towards Dale End, where you’ll find the Museum of the Gorge, an antiques centre and riverside park just beyond. On the car park side of the bridge the Severn Valley Way follows the route of the old railway tracks and there is a circular walk from the car park along the river and then up the hillside to loop round back to the car. Once you leave the railway track the route up/down the valley side is very steep but with good wooden steps, so be prepared to be puffed!
You can stroll across the historic bridge to enter the small town centre taking in the views along the river. The road through the town can be quite busy and the pavements in parts narrow, especially as you walk out of the centre, so keep pup on a short lead. Around the bridge, there are benches and don't miss the paths that take you down along the river for a quieter and easier walk.
Keeping the Humans Amused
Ironbridge and the surrounding area is steeped in industrial history and offers fascinating attractions against the backdrop of the lovely Severn Valley. The town itself has a small number of gift and antique shops, many of which allow dogs inside, such as the Ironbridge Gift Emporium. A short drive east down the river, the Maws Craft Centre is worth a visit and from here you can park and walk across the footbridge and along the canal to the Coalport China Museum, where you can also see the Tar Tunnel and the lower section of the impressive Hays Incline.
The Ironbridge Museums are made up of a number of different sites and you can buy a ticket that covers all of them for a whole year, or pay individually. Blists Hill Victorian Town is the largest of the attractions just a few minutes up the valley side from the town and dogs are allowed on the lead to walk through the streets and outdoor exhibits but not inside the shops and cafes. It's an expensive entry fee, but worth it if you can make the time to explore fully or can can make use of the unlimited return visits in the year.
Buildwas Abbey lies just a couple miles to the west - a Cistercian abbey ruin now operated by English Heritage, which is dog friendly.
The small centre has a couple of cafes with outdoor seating, with a tea room in the square, a pie and pasty shop with some pavement seating. Further down the Wharfage there are a couple of pubs that advertise as dog friendly but we haven’t tried them yet and things may have changed post Covid. If you can find a spare bench by the bridge, grab a pasty or an ice cream and sit back and soak up the views.
A short walk down the wharfage towards Dale End and you have the Merrythought Village complex with the antique centre where dogs are permitted in the small cafe area. We also enjoy the Dale End Cafe just a short walk across the road, which has an undercover dog friendly area and does a lovely breakfast.
Bridgnorth, 9 miles
Buildwas Abbey, 2.3 miles
Last visit August 2021