A photography trip to the Gorge showcases Ironbridge’s timeless Instagram appeal


Shropshire Star reporter Megan Howe in Ironbridge, Telford
Shropshire Star reporter Megan Howe in Ironbridge, Telford

Steeped in more than 200 years of history, it provides the perfect spot for a family day out, with country walks to rival some of the best in Shropshire.

Shropshire Star Reporter Megan Howe in Ironbridge, Telford

The town gets its name from the world-famous Iron Bridge, the first major structure in the world to be made from cast iron, which opened in 1781.

Since then the Ironbridge Gorge has attained Unesco World Heritage Site status, become home to more than 2,500 people and solidified its reputation as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Shropshire Star Reporter Megan Howe in Ironbridge, Telford

It had to take runners-up spot to London’s Tower Bridge, but it still beat the likes of The Tyne Bridge, Severn Bridge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Whether you plan your visit in winter, summer, spring or autumn, the town of Ironbridge looks just as photogenic in any season and it has something to offer people of all ages.

Ironbridge’s rich history can be uncovered at the 10 museum sites in the area, which are run by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.

Shropshire Star Reporter Megan Howe in Ironbridge, Telford

I remember spending many a happy hour as a child at Blists Hill Victorian Town, playing with the old toys, trying out the authentic sweets at the sweet shop and travelling the streets by horse and cart.

And Enginuity will always be a place I associate with school – my most exciting science trip was spent building and powering a rocket at the museum.

There are also plenty of pubs, cafes and independent shops for people to browse and take home a unique gift. Ironbridge even has a dedicated Christmas shop.

Iron Bridge

If you’re seeking a little bit of adventure, you can take a canoe, kayak – or even a coracle – down the River Severn to explore its hidden secrets.

The Ironbridge Coracle Regatta takes place in August each year and is a popular event in the village’s calendar, as families get the chance to paddle a traditional coracle.

Ironbridge, Telford

I recently took a trip into Ironbridge on a chilly day, with the aim of speaking to people about what they love about it and why it’s such a great place to visit and photograph.

Daniel Oldham has been a resident of Ironbridge for two and a half years after moving from London and often walks his dachshunds, Sid and Nancy, along the bridge and around the Ironbridge Gorge.

He said: “I like how quaint it is – it’s the exact opposite of London and we visited here previously. We love how there’s stuff going on but it’s still really quiet.”

Sid and Nancy have their very own Instagram profile page and have been pictured all over the place, from the Devon coastline to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. And, naturally, they have posed for a picture in their home town, right next to the famous bridge.

Tia Wilson is studying A-Level photography at Shrewsbury College and has chosen Ironbridge as the subject of one of her projects entitled ‘Place’.

She spoke to me about the reasons why it was important to her and even stopped to point me in the direction of some of the best ‘photo hotspots’.

Iron Bridge

The 16-year-old said: “It’s something very close to me; I have a lot of memories here like going to Dale End Park. It’s a great family day out, even when it’s raining.

“I want to go into the film industry, I want to be an actress, but I have always enjoyed photography and planning how to get good photos.”

Iron Bridge

Recent graduate, Megan Woodhouse, came to visit for the day. I caught up with her as she was taking a photograph from the bridge, which she said would be going on Instagram later that day.

Commenting on Ironbridge, the 22-year-old said: “I really like it, it’s really cute. We had a nice little walk on the river; there’s nice little shops to have a mooch around.”

Iron Bridge

Visit Telford, the official tourism organisation for the area, has recently launched a marketing campaign to take Telford national.

Its aim is to welcome new visitors from across the country and beyond, to discover, explore and enjoy the destinations’ great attractions.

Telford & Wrekin Council is working alongside 300 local businesses to promote and sustainably grow the area’s tourism offering.

Councillor Eileen Callear, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for visitor economy, employment and skills, said: “For the Iron Bridge to achieve such popularity among Instagrammers is just a real testament to its timeless appeal.

“Visiting the bridge is just the starting point for a visit to Ironbridge Gorge – a Unesco World Heritage site and known across the world as the Valley of Invention.

“Our visitors to the Gorge go on to explore the area’s famous heritage in its museums and attractions, to enjoy our river and waterway leisure, to shop in our artisan town, walk through magical woodlands, taste great food and drink and escape here for a short break to relax and re-charge.

“The whole area is a hive of activity and offers wonderful places to explore with the Iron Bridge at the heart of things.”

Iron Bridge

Nick Ralls, CEO of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said: “The picturesque setting of the Ironbridge Gorge, and in particular the Iron Bridge itself, has been a popular spot for photographers for over a century.

“This new research which has named the bridge as one of the most ‘Instagrammable’ bridges in Europe only serves to demonstrate that over two centuries later, this incredible feat of engineering is still capturing the imagination of the social media generation.

“At the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge lies the creativity of the great minds who lived here and the discoveries that took place here.

“To know that the Iron Bridge is still sparking creativity in visitors from across the globe truly is testament to that and we hope that the bridge, alongside our other sites across the Gorge, will continue to inspire the same spirit of invention for generations to come.”

Sonia Bird, owner of Puddle Duck Cottages in Ironbridge Gorge, said: “Our award-winning luxury cottages have been welcoming visitors to Ironbridge Gorge for the past eight years and we are delighted to see that the demand to escape for a country break in Telford and Shropshire continues to grow in popularity.

“Along with new bookings, we also have a high percentage of repeat bookings who stay with us year-on-year.

“Guests love the variety on offer when on a short break and there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy, from the abundance of scenic riverside and woodland walks, visiting the museums, shopping, hiking, water sports along the River Severn, to fine dining or enjoying the perfect pint or coffee at one of the many local pubs, restaurants and cafes close by.”

If you’re visiting Ironbridge, remember to upload your pictures to Instagram using the hashtag #ironbridge to share your memories:


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