Our day out at the British Ironwork Centre and Sculpture Park
📬Whitehall, Aston, Oswestry SY11 4JH, 0800 688 8386
💷 Free admission. Please see stipulations below as no non members can enter currently. Membership is £3 per year per adult, free for children. There is no need to pre-book.
🚗 Ample free car parking.
🕗 Estimated duration of the stay without food is around 1.5 to 2 hours. Currently open Monday to Friday only from 10am until 4pm.
♿ Wheelchair and pram accessible though the shop aisles can be narrow in places. The ground is also uneven in places.
🐾 Dog friendly. There is even a dog trail to follow but dogs should be on leads and are not permitted in the indoor areas.
🥗 Restaurant on site.
🥪 Picnics are not permitted
🚽 Toilets and baby change facilities.
Covid: One way systems in indoor areas, sanitiser on arrival, masks to be worn indoors.
Gigantic spider, British Ironworks Centre, Oswestry, Shropshire – Please don’t eat me!
We headed back to British Ironwork Centre and Sculpture Park today after previously visiting two years ago, but this time we brought our four year old. The British Ironwork Centre is the UK’s largest metal safari park, home to over 100 different sculptures created by some of the country’s best artisans and blacksmiths. There is something for all ages, offering a great family day out in Oswestry, Shropshire.
Upon arrival, we joined the queue for membership as for only £3 per adult, you can visit as many times as you wish for twelve months. Kids go free. A large proportion of the park is normally available to view free of charge without the need to join the membership club. However, currently only members are permitted on site which can be purchased on the day. At £3 this is good value for money. The membership club brings added benefits e.g. 10% off goods, food and exclusive access to events and event tickets. The membership queue moved quickly as staff brought out the forms to complete in advance. At the entrance there are a number of trails including Move your dog, Mamma fit buggy trail, and a Children’s nature trail
Gorillas at the British Ironworks, Oswestry
Our four year old made a beeline to the children’s play area, consisting of a large climbing frame with various climbing apparatus to help burn off energy and a number of slides. There is a toddler play area with a range of slides, rockers and large sand pit. Our girl loved using the spade to dig holes, while others loved burying their siblings in the sand. The main play area is covered in bark for added safety. There’s plenty of seats so parents can watch the kids play.
Large climbing frame and slides – Children’s play area at the British Ironworks
Toddler play area
We then headed off to explore the outdoor grounds within the main part of the centre. Her favourite metal sculptures included the Bumblebee Transformer, turtles, and the gigantic Silverback gorilla. She loved hiding in the gorilla cage for photos and we were impressed to learn that the sculpture was made from over 40000 spoons and designed in collaboration with Uri Geller! Breath-taking!
Giant silverback Gorilla, created using 40000 spoons!
One of our faves….. Gigantic Transformer sculpture of Bumblebee, British Ironwork Centre
We then followed the Extinction Trail, which showcases a number of endangered species. Families can learn about the habitats of these creatures, what they eat, their natural predators, threats to their survival e.g. deforestation and more. This ethical zoo is 2km long with an excess of 25 metallic sculptures and was designed to raise awareness and help us understand how we can make a difference to reduce the rate of decline in biodiversity.
A selection of animals in the Exhibition centre at The British Ironwork Centre
Finally we headed off to explore the rest of the grounds and again the sculptures did not disappoint. Her favourites were the golden giraffe, gigantic spider which reminded us of Aragog from Harry Potter, the scorpion and the lion.
The infamous Knife Angel was also crafted here, a magnificent sculpture created entirely out of knives collected in a joint effort with police forces across the UK where knives were handed in as part of knife amnesties. The aim is to bring knife crime to the forefront of our minds. We didn’t see this today as our girl got too tired but we were fortunate to see it in its splendour on a previous visit. We love how the team are working closely with charities and families affected by knife crime, to try to reduce the chance of young people being involved in such behaviours.
Knife Angel on tour in Coventry
Archery is also available. The Croesoswallt Archery Club offer fun days, one to one tuition, and corporate team building events. Sessions must be booked in advance of your visit. The Drama Forge also offer weekly drama classes for kids and adults. There are also a number of workshops for children to enjoy as part of Kids Club such as painting, pottery and even ‘goo-making’ as part of the kids club. However, due to covid, these events are not currently running.
The British Ironworks is dog friendly, with ample space to stretch the legs of every member of the family including our canine friends. As mentioned, there is a dog friendly trail of varying lengths depending on how active your pooch is. The centre offers all doggies a Bonio biscuit (with owners permission) and has complimentary doggy poop bags! Water stations are located throughout.
Although we didn’t eat as we needed to head to another attraction, the Forge café serves a range of hot and cold drinks, baguettes, pastries, cakes and other goodies. There is also a very yummy looking selection of chocolates to take away. We did eat here on our last visit and felt that the food was of a high quality though being a fussy eater, my husband found the menu a little restrictive. There are seats located inside so you can enjoy observing all of the quirky and unique handcrafted pieces of art available for sale, or you can choose to eat outside in the under cover garden room or the large canopy area. Where possible, staff will cater towards dietary requirements and there is a lunch box meal deal available for children. A delicious looking afternoon tea is available provided you give staff 24 hours notice. If you just fancy a drink to take away, there is also the Watering Hole Coffee Hut.
Afternoon Tea – Image credit belongs to the British Ironwork Centre
Upon leaving, we noticed that due to the car park being busy, marshals were helping visitors find a space. We had a chat with one and he was very approachable and helpful.
We really enjoyed our trip here. Our four year old was constantly asking for us to take photos of her ‘posing’ near the metallic sculptures. She loved running around in the open space and if you are still a little nervous about mixing due to covid, despite being half term there was still plenty of space to stay well away from most people in most areas. As with all attractions, staff cant really force everyone to maintain the 2m (though they recommended it) but you can normally move out of the way of people approaching (the only area this was tricky was near the play area). In terms of the price, the £3 membership is certainly value for money for one day let alone access to the grounds for the entire year. The sculptures are truly impressive and you can clearly see that a lot of careful planning has gone into each. There is a great variety of sculptures to see so there’s something for everyone. We will certainly be visiting Shropshire’s hidden gem again.
There are a range of family events that normally run throughout the year, as well as a kids club. However, due to covid, family events are currently cancelled.
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WIRRAL, LIVERPOOL AND BEYOND
Terms and conditions:
*We did not inform the centre of our arrival and so we paid admission. We feel confident that our experience is a factual and accurate reflection of what you can expect on your visit. However, please do bare in mind that different people can have different perceptions of the same experiences so please regard this review in the way it is intended i.e. for advice and a feel for what the attraction has to offer and not a recommendation.
*You could combine your visit here with a trip to Whittington castle, Park Hall Farm, or Ellesmere Lake.
*Although the paths are well maintained, ground is uneven and staff recommend you wear sensible footwear.
*Due to the roads within the park, children must be supervised at all times.
*For health and safety, the centre kindly asks that children do not climb the sculptures.