11th Aug, 2020

Open air museum among first in UK to open doors

Tickets for the Ironbridge Gorge museums are now on sale for the first time since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust says it is making the tickets available in anticipation of being able to open from July 4 to visitors who are looking to enjoy their summer days out at the world-famous Ironbridge museum sites.

Trust Chief Executive Nick Ralls said that the Annual Passport – a twelve-month ticket with return visits – was now available on an initial special offer, whilst existing museum passport holders have been granted an extension to their annual passes to cover the time the museums had been closed.

The Trust – a registered heritage conservation and education charity which cares for 36 listed buildings in the Gorge – is preparing to reopen Blists Hill Victorian Town, Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron and Toll House on July 4. The Museum of The Gorge, which suffered damage during the floods of February, will open as a free entry Visitor Centre.

Chief Executive Mrs Ralls says: “We are delighted to be offering tickets for sale again for the first time since the lockdown and cannot wait to start welcoming new and returning visitors to our sites.”

“A huge amount of work has gone into making our Museums safe in the wake of the pandemic, and we have followed all Government guidelines to ensure the wellbeing of everybody who visits.

“We are focussing our initial reopening on those sites where we can fully maintain social distancing and visitor safety and still offer a terrific experience for everybody who comes.

“Visitors will notice some changes but can still expect the unforgettable day out they have always enjoyed with us.

“To help us ensure safety, tickets will have to be pre-booked, visitor numbers will be restricted to hourly windows to make sure we can limit the numbers at Blists Hill during the day, and we are extending our opening hours to help as many people come as possible.”

Mr Ralls said the cost of a family annual pass for one adult and four children had been reduced to £45, with a two-parent family pass now selling for £65, a reduction of £10. Adults and adults & seniors can buy a pass for £20 while the student and child cost is just £12.

He added: “We believe this represents really good value for a year of days out.

“We know that these are really tough times for lots of people and want to make sure that as many people as possible can take up this special offer to enjoy a memorable day out with us. Our ticket sales support our charitable aims of protecting these wonderful and historic places and educating and inspiring new generations.”

Strict social distancing measures will be in place at all the sites when they reopen along with an enhanced cleaning and hygiene regime, clearly marked and timed entries and special car parking arrangements.

Blists Hill will be open from 10am -7pm Wednesday to Sunday, with the Museum of Iron, Museum of The Gorge and Iron Bridge Tollhouse open from 10am-5pm. The Furnace Kitchen in Coalbrookdale has already re-opened for takeaway food and drinks.

The museums – all in the West Midlands’ only World Heritage Site – have been closed since the lockdown was announced in March having earlier been hit by the floods along the Ironbridge Gorge in February.

For tickets and more information on the reopening visit https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/

Here’s a video which explains changes to help with social distancing: https://youtu.be/Oj5x_ioN69k

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