Iron Bridge Instagram success is signpost to Telford's wider tourism appeal
Telford’s iconic Iron Bridge has been named as one of the most photographed bridges in the UK, highlighting the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site’s appeal as a major tourist destination.
Tourism leaders across Telford and at Visit Telford, the official tourism organisation for the area, were delighted to see Iron Bridge achieve the recognition on global social media platform Instagram.
Car insurance company Comparethemarket conducted Instagram research which listed of some of the best bridges to capture on a road trip around the country and the Iron Bridge was voted the most photographed and shared on the site, behind London’s Tower Bridge.
Images of the Iron Bridge, which was built in 1779 and spans across the River Severn, were posted a total of 121,487 times on Instagram according to the latest data, while London's Tower Bridge had 2,601,739 posts and Millennium Bridge 105,635.
Although the Iron Bridge is one of Telford’s most famous icons, visitors coming to see the bridge are also flocking to the area to discover its world-famous history, historic market towns, heritage countryside, and award-winning museums and attractions.
Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Visitor Economy, Employment and Skills said: “The Iron Bridge is a fantastic icon which is popular with visitors across the UK and the world.
“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 recharge.
“The whole area is a hive of activity and offers wonderful places to explore with the Iron Bridge at the heart of things.”
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.”
The news comes after Visit Telford, the official tourism organisation for the area, launched a new marketing campaign to take Telford national and welcome new visitors to discover, explore and enjoy the destinations great attractions.
Alongside the campaign launch this summer, a new digital platform www.visittelford.co.uk also went live providing the ultimate guide for visitors and locals for things to do, what’s on, where to eat and stay in Telford.
Visit Telford, part of Telford & Wrekin Council, is now working in collaboration with over 300 local tourism business to promote and sustainably grow the area’s outstanding tourism offer across Ironbridge Gorge and other areas of the borough including Wellington, the Wrekin and Newport.
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.”
With increased investment and more national marketing planned for 2023, including a new Staycation campaign and product development initiatives, the activity to support the growth of the visitor and culture sector in Telford and beyond has never been so high.
Photo: Courtesy of Nicholas Ross Taylor.