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Explore the industrial heritage of the UK & Ireland

Great Britain was the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the UK and Ireland have been at the forefront of industrial development for over 200 years. At Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, we can manufacture the perfect tailor-made tour for you or your group exploring the industrial heritage of the British Isles. 

EM3koHeWwAEU1Wt_-_Copy.jpgIronbridge in Shropshire

All across the UK and Ireland, there are industrial attractions which shine a light on the methods, technology and brands which have helped to shape our modern world. Here are our recommendations for an inspiring industrial heritage tour!

A must-see on any such tour is Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is recognised as one of the most important places in the Industrial Revolution. Today a tranquil river valley, Ironbridge was once at the heart of British industry. There are ten Ironbridge Gorge attractions, focusing on different aspects of the region’s development, including the magical Blists Hill Victorian Town.

Derwent Valley Mills in Derbyshire played a key role in the birth of the modern factory system and provides a memorable insight into how factories were once operated and how they grew to dominate industrial production all over the world. Snaking 15 miles down the river valley, this UNESCO World Heritage Site contains a fascinating series of historic mill complexes, nestled in a stunningly beautiful landscape, which helped to shape the development of global industry.

Pontcysyllte_Aqueduct_-_Copy_1_426x640.jpgPontcysyllte Aqueduct © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in the Vale of Llangollen in North East Wales, is the longest aqueduct in Great Britain, the highest canal aqueduct in the world and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed by Thomas Telford, one of Britain’s leading industrial engineers, and opened in 1805, the 18 arch stone and cast iron structure was one of the leading technological achievements of its age and to cross it – on foot or by water – is an unforgettable experience.

While in North Wales, it is well worth exploring the history of slate mining at the National Slate Museum, located in a disused slate quarry surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery, on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. Slate is synonymous with Wales and the museum offers visitors the chance to find out more about the story of slate and the lives of those who quarried it. The museum boasts mainland Britain’s largest waterwheel and a restored quarry steam railway.

Hg2_-_Copy.jpgThe Big Pit National Coal Museum

Without the abundant supplies of coal found in Britain, the Industrial Revolution would not have taken off in the way it did. The Big Pit National Coal Museum in South Wales is an absorbing museum based at a former coal mine, which gives visitors the chance to find out what life was like as a miner and to travel 300 feet down a mineshaft to explore the underground workings of a coal mine.

small-Guinness_Storehouse_1.jpgGuinness Storehouse in Dublin

The iconic Guinness Storehouse in Dublin provides visitors with an insight into one of Ireland’s most famous brands and exports, Guinness. Discover the history of this classic Irish stout before enjoying a tasting session in one of the bars, with epic views over the Dublin skyline.

Moving north, Titanic Belfast was crowned the world’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards 2016. The museum is located on the site of the former Harland and Wolff shipyard, where Titanic was built, and the shipbuilder’s iconic Samson and Goliath cranes dominate the Belfast skyline to this day. As well as telling the story of the world’s most famous ship, Titanic Belfast provides an eye-opening insight into Belfast’s shipbuilding history.

26113_Titanic_Belfast_copyright_Northern_Ireland_Tourist_Board.jpgTitanic Belfast

New Lanark World Heritage Site is a unique mill village on the River Clyde, to the south east of Glasgow in Scotland. Founded in the late 18th century, New Lanark became a successful business and an early example of a ‘planned settlement’, thanks to the philanthropic approach of Welsh social reformer Robert Owen. New Lanark was important not only for its social and welfare programmes, but also for its role in the industrial revolution and the development of urban planning. Today, visitors can see recreated mill workers’ houses, historic working machinery and the nearby ‘Falls of Clyde’ waterfalls.

New_Lanark_c_Visit_Scotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgNew Lanark World Heritage Site © Visit Scotland / Kenny Lam

For chocolate lovers in the UK and further afield, few brands are as well-known as Cadbury. Cadbury World is a popular family attraction based in the historic village of Bournville, just outside Birmingham city centre, where visitors can learn all about the history, magic and making of Cadbury chocolate. With a number of interactive zones, a team of in-house chocolatiers, The World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop, the on-site Cadbury Café, plus an unmissable 4D Chocolate Adventure, there’s lots for visitors of all ages to see and do.

Cadbury_World_sign_-_Copy.jpg

For those interested in the technology of automobile production, it’s hard to beat a behind-the-scenes tour of the Aston Martin factory in Warwickshire, in the heart of England. Aston Martin sports cars are regarded as a British cultural icon and are a global luxury brand. Let the experts take you on an exclusive tour of the production facility, with unparalleled access and insight into the craftsmanship, precision and quality techniques that go into every Aston Martin!

Concorde_with_projection_show.JPGConcorde on display at Aerospace Bristol

Beginning in the earliest days of powered flight, Aerospace Bristol takes visitors on a fascinating journey through aviation history. It’s a journey through two World Wars, the drama and technological advances of the space race, the tension and competition of the Cold War, and on to the modern day, where visitors discover the latest technologies of today’s aerospace industry. The star attraction is the last Concorde ever to fly, which is displayed in a purpose-built hangar.

If you would like to find out more about how we can put together the ideal tailor-made industrial heritage tour for your or your group, taking in the places and attractions which most appeal, staying in the finest hotels and enjoying delicious meals, please do contact our friendly team today.

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