Bank holiday sun brings tourists to Ironbridge

The bank holiday’s glorious weather brought visitors from all over the country to see the sights of Shropshire.

And one place which really saw the benefits was Ironbridge, the county’s World Heritage site.

People came out in droves to walk along the banks of the River Severn and take in stunning views of the Gorge.

Laura Hart, 27, from Randlay, was visiting Ironbridge with her fiance Mark Morgan, 27, and two children William, two, and Jacob, who is 16 weeks old.

She said: “It’s just a lovely day. We come here all the time.

“We used to live here and on our days off it’s just nice to come here with a picnic and a football.

“It’s just such a beautiful place, there’s all the scenery and there’s always something to do.”

John Smart, 34, was visiting Ironbridge from Dawley with partner Carrie Mullinder, 28, and children Libby and Dylan, who was flying his model plane.

“It’s just lovely,” said Mr Smart. “There’s the big open park to run around in it and we can go for walks.

“Plus the kids get to have a play.”

It is not just the tourists who are enjoying the sunny weather, many local businesses are also feeling the benefit.

Mike Robinson, manager of the central Ironbridge Museum of the Gorge, said: “It has been fabulous, the weather brings them out in hoards.

“This weekend has been quite good for us, but it’s comparable to all bank holiday weekends because they’re all quite busy.

“I think Ironbridge is the whole package, there’s the museum, the bridge, the shopping experience and cafes. It is a very attractive area for people to come and visit, and for people across the board, and I would encourage them to come.”

Carey Gough, who runs Cafe Eighty-Six’d, said: “It has been great. It brings a lot of people from the surrounding areas so you get different types of people coming in.

“I think even though it is busy, there’s always a really relaxed atmosphere on a bank holiday.

“It is quite an unusual layout with the river in the centre so you have people walking up and down, there’s lots of walks in Ironbridge, you don’t have to go into the outskirts to enjoy them.

“We get lots of runners, cyclists, people with horses, you see mopeds and groups bring motorcycles or classic cars so it turns into a real spectacle.”

Anna Brennand, chief executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, said: “We are delighted that our visitor numbers have been good over the summer period. Visitors have been enjoying the varied events programme particularly at Blists Hill Victorian Town where numbers have been particularly strong.”

And Ironbridge isn’t the only place to benefit from the weather.

Tourist attractions all over the county have seen a boost in visitor numbers.

Caroline Wellon, park manager at Hawkstone Park near Wem, said: “We are up on gate figures. I would say about 30 per cent up on last year, which is great.

“We have had a couple of good bank holidays and the weather has certainly helped.”

The Cambrian Heritage Railway in Oswestry had a quiet bank holiday Monday, but Jenny Pickstock, volunteer trustee, said the rest of the weekend, and the summer in general, had been very busy.

“We did extremely well especially on Saturday. We picked up a lot of holiday trade and coach parties over the weekend, and we sold a lot of joint tickets for our other station at Llynclys as well,” she said.

“Over the summer it’s been quite busy. We had some visitors from America and New Zealand last weekend, and they all wanted to pick up souvenirs to take back home with them.”

Fiona Holman, events and marketing assistant at Attingham Park, said: “Every visitor that comes through our doors helps us to protect the mansion and these beautiful grounds for future visitors to enjoy, so it’s fantastic to have seen the sunshine bring in thousands of visitors, particularly over the bank holiday weekend.

“It’s been lovely to see so many families having a great day out here.”

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