Side Street Style: Exploring Ironbridge with the YHA

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

31/07/2019

Exploring Ironbridge with the YHA

Crossing the Ironbridge

This post is part of a campaign with YHA

As you may already know I am passionate about sharing all the hidden gems and beautiful places the UK has on offer with my boys and we love a good weekend break to somewhere new that we have yet to explore. The thing is, like most families, we have a small budget so getting a good location with a family room and decent facilities that don't cost an arm and a leg can be hard. Saying that the YHA has a fantastic network right across the UK, including some really good glamping pods and bell tents for an extra special stay.

As a family we have used YHA before, in fact I wrote about our night at St Briavels Castle last year (which cost us a total of £50 for the night!) and before having kids I spent time travelling across Europe working in Youth Hostels, a time filled with happy and positive travel experiences. The YHA is the perfect option for families who want good facilities and great locations but at a budget-friendly price, making short trips doable any time of the year, including the summer peak.

So I was really excited to collaborate with YHA this summer and spend a few days in Ironbridge, Shropshire, discovering this heritage-rich town and  "birthplace of the industrial revolution" and home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We stayed at the YHA Ironbridge Coalport which is one of the original factory buildings of the Coalport China Works and wow what a beautiful and unique building

YHA Ironbridge Coalport

Family friendly YHA

Old canal Ironbridge


So as a quick rundown of the facilities we had on hand at YHA Ironbridge Coalport

1. The location - was perfect, right opposite the Coalport China Works and adjacent to a Bike Hire shop as there is plenty of cycle paths right on the doorstep of the YHA, you can also walk to Bliss Hill Victorian Village along the Silkin Way or a short stroll along the old canal to the Tar Tunnels. Ironbridge itself is only a short drive away.

2. Accommodation - there are plenty of options from single rooms to ones that have seven beds. We had a comfortable and spacious family room which consisted of two bunks and sink and while it wasn't en-suit it was literally about 6 footsteps away from the toilet and shower facilities. There is also fast Free Wifi in the common spaces and most bedrooms.

3. Hostel - The YHA has a large communal lounge with plenty of chairs and sofas as well as fast wifi and TV, next to the lounge was a games room which was very popular with my boys and other children and pre-teens staying at the hostel. The playroom had puzzles, toys and games as well as  Snooker table.

4. Food and Drink - YHA Coalport has a Cafe onsite which offers Breakfast, lunch and Supper clubs as well as a licensed bar with plenty of places to sit and relax inside and out, after a long day of exploring. We ate at the Cafe twice during our stay and the menu is simple but well balanced with salads, baked potatoes and stonebaked pizza as well as options for the kids, all at very reasonable prices. With regards to breakfast, if you book online you save 15% and offers up hot and cold options as well as pastries, coffee, cereals and fruit - a great way to start the day. If you would prefer to go self-catering, like many YHA's Coalport has a large and fully equipped self-catering kitchen and dining room.  There are also 3 quaint country pubs all within a few minutes walk of the YHA.


Ironbridge old canal

Baked potato


So why should Ironbridge be on your list of places to visit with kids? Here are 5 reasons why it's the perfect place for a weekend break but before I share that I would like to point out there are 10 award-winning attractions and museums that makeup part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and I would recommend getting a family passport so you can visit all of them - it is a bit pricey but lasts for a year and gives you access for all 10 attractions. 

1. The Ironbridge - first up on the list, of course, has to be a visit to the worlds first Ironbridge which stands in the centre of the town and is free to cross. First opened in 1781, this beautiful cast iron bridge is part of the UNESCO Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and really can't be missed. On the one side of the bridge is the Tollhouse Museum (additional charges) as well as a free picnic area in a woodland a short walk, which also joins up with the South Telford Heritage Trail. My boys loved crossing the bridge and taking in the beautiful views across the River Severn


Ironbridge Telford

Ironbridge River Severn


2. Blists Hill Victorian Village - part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (covered by a museum pass). We decided to walk the mile from our YHA to Blists Hill which follows a national cycle path and I would recommend as it was a nice peaceful way to start the day. Blists Hill is one of those places you could spend the best part of a day at and it's so interesting as well as educational. You step back into a fully recreated Victorian Town with sweet shop and working pub to boot. You get to explore authentic shops, cottages, workshops and factories. We loved seeing all the victorian remedies in the pharmacy and watching the Ironmaster create moulds in the foundry as well as seeing the steam engine in action and the stable boys preparing the workhorses.

Blists Hill Victorian Village

Blists Hill Victorian Village

Blists Hill Victorian Village


3. Enginuity - another very popular attraction for children and right next to Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron. Enginutiy is a science-based museum that is very hands-on and encourages kids to try the interactive exhibits and challenges such as building a bridge or making a home strong enough to withstand an earthquake or building a dam in the water play station. There is also has a small soft play area for toddlers and outside next to Enginuity is a free comic book exhibition.


Enginutiy Ironbridge

Sinclair C5



4. Explore by foot & bike - as I said the YHA is right next to a Bike hire store and I wish we had known this in advance as we would of loved to have explored one of the many national cycle routes in Ironbridge. We have now put this on our bucketlist as we hope to revisit the area in the next year and I can honestly say it's the perfect place for a family biking adventure. We did walk part of the Silkin Way from the YHA to Blist Hill Victorian Village and it was a really lovely and a nice way for families to connect with nature, get outdoors and the trails and routes are ofcourse completely free.


Pinecones

Silkin Way Ironbridge


5. RAF Cosford Museum - just under a 20-minute drive from YHA Ironbridge Coalport and hands down one of the best free museums we have been to in a long time. RAF Cosford houses one of the largest collections of aircraft in the UK as is a truly fascinating museum and great for all ages with interactive exhibitions including a virtual reality zone (£5) as well as being able to get close up to different planes and aircraft.


RAF airplane

RAF airplane


Summer holidays can, of course, be very expensive and we all want our children to look back with fond memories which is why the YHA is perfect for families with rooms starting from as low as £35 over the summer and in some of the best locations in the UK. If you're in need of a little bit more inspiration then check out some of their hostels on the coast, countryside, mountains and urban locations. We really enjoyed our time in Ironbridge and are planning a glamping break at one of the YHA later this month and cannot wait, we highly recommend the YHA for all your budget-friendly family adventures.


YHA Coalport


This post is part of a campaign with YHA, as part of that our stay was included, although we paid for all our food and activities. Our review is 100% honest. 

23 comments:

  1. Exploring by foot is always so much better than going by car. And did you say steam engine? Yeah, sold!!! :)

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  2. That looks like a nice place to visit and sounds like everyone's really having a great time in exploring that place.

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  3. Ironbridge looks like a lovely place to travel to with your family, with so many attractions suitable for children. I didn't know that YHA had private rooms as well, that is good to know. I like to stay in hostels when I travel as well because they are so much cheaper and are the perfect place to meet other travelers if you are on your own.

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  4. Ironbridge is such a quaint place to spend a few days. Love how the brick buildings are surrounded by the luscious greenery. Appreciate how this place is also bicycle-friendly. Will definitely consider staying at the YHA on a future visit. We're fans of clean and affordable accommodations when we travel.

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  5. UK has a lots of monuments and old architecture, I was there two years ago and passed by River Severn. I actually love bridges whenever I visit a new places, been to a recent one in Lisbon that is longest in Europe called Vasco da Gama Bridge, the architecture of Ironbridge looks pretty stunning.

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  6. Wow, this place looks incredible. There’s so much to do and see there! Looks like a brilliant place to take the whole family

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  7. I loved reading this post as we too love to travel off the beaten path and explore hidden gems during our travels. I had not known though about the YHA till I read your post – it sounds like a great fit for us -good facilities at a budget friendly price. Given its significance during industrial revolution, it’s awesome that you actually got to stay in Ironbridge at one of the original factory buildings. The Victorian Village and the cast iron bridge are so charming. Thanks for introducing me to both YHA and Ironbridge through this detailed post.

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  8. I love hidden gems and it is always great to read about such places. I loved Ironbridge as it looks perfect peaceful break away from busy city life with family. It is great that here are also 3 quaint country pubs all within a few minutes walk of the YHA.

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  9. This looks like a very serene place, and a good relaxing place away from the crowded city. I think I've seen horses like the one in pictures only Europe. Indeed the Iron bridge is quite a hidden gem.

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  10. Looks like a really nice place to spend the afternoon with the family. I wish I could visit it too!

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  11. What a perfect location to spend a day exploring and learning! I think when you explore together as a family, it is so much fun and you learn from each other. Great post, so detailed and informative. Thank you for sharing!

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  12. It's the first time I hear about YHA, and it sounds great! I may have never learned about them because I always stayed with friends in the UK or my job booked my accommodation when traveling for work.

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  13. Thanks for sharing this! This is the 1st time I have heard of this place. Great pictures and continue the good work!

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  14. Ironbridge looks super interesting! I love that the YHA is next to a bike rental - that's so convenient. Your boys are adorable, by the way!

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  15. I have not checked in here for some time as I thought it was
    getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I
    guess I'll add you back to my everyday bloglist.

    You deserve it my friend :)

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  16. It's good to learn about lodging option in the UK since it's so expensive there. I pinned this for my future reference. Anyway, Ironbridge full with activities and places that our family like to do. I've seen the picture of Blists Hill Victorian Village from your Instagram and I'm hooked right away.

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  17. Iron bridge look so amazing, it gives you the feel that you are in some harry Potter movie. It's really a best place to for a weekend getaway. This is definitely going into my bucket it. Is RAF cosford museum open all 7 days?

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  18. Looks like such a fun spot to travel with your family. I don't know much about Ironbridge but it looks beautiful. That bridge is really something else.

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  19. Ironbridge seems like a quaint town with lots of character and things to see and do! Its great to read about YHA and their options when travelling!

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  20. This looks like the perfect place for a family outing - everyone finds something to do. A stay at the YHA sounds very reasonable - would definitely consider it.

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  21. Ironbridge sounds like a great place to visit, especially with kids. We have never been to Shropshire as a family and hope to now, thanks to your suggestions

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  22. I am also an admirer of hidden gems of famous regions. This post is absolutely curb my hunger for such places. The location of Ironbridge and the village totally captivated my eyes. Kids would definitely love this place. Thanks for a great share.

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  23. This place looks worth visiting! Thanks for sharing ♥️ ♥️ Interested in doing collabs? xx

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