A landlocked county is giving people the chance to hop back in time by more than 100 years to visit a traditional Great British seaside.
Imagine lounging on a deckchair, feeling the sand between your toes, the rhythmic sound of waves in the distance, and the cheerful squawking of seagulls overhead.
This picturesque experience, reminiscent of the Great British seaside is actually unfolding, partially, in Telford, Shropshire.
Despite being dozens of miles from the nearest beach, Blists Hill Victorian Town captures the essence of a sandy English coast in 1900, a year before Queen Victoria died.
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This meticulously recreated town boasts authentic sights, scents, and even some of the sounds (enhanced through speakers) of a traditional seaside.
From a local fish and chip shop serving wrapped goodies to a quaint sweet shop selling treats in ounces, and a charming local pub, the town has all the necessities to have a less complicated Victorian life.
The man-made Victorian-style beach completes the illusion, transporting visitors to an era where seaside pastimes such as donkey rides, carousels, fairground rides, and Punch and Judy shows first came to life.
Mirror journalist Cecilia Adamou recently visited the attraction donning Victorian attire as she became a typical Victorian lady.
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She wrote: “It’s not hard to see why we still love a traditional seaside holiday even if, just like on the day I visited, sunshine was somewhat limited.
“But that made my outing at the ‘British seaside’ even more authentic.”
During the Victorian era, seaside outings became a novel adventure for the working-class population. Lauren Collier, Head of Interpretation at Blists Hill, told Ms Adamou that for many, it was their first encounter with the sea.
She said: “Going to the seaside was something that became far more affordable to working-class people.”
The development of roads, bridges, and railways during the industrial revolution, coupled with cheaper rail travel in the later 19th century, enabled more working-class individuals to enjoy a beach day.
Blists Hill Victorian Town, part of the Ironbridge Valley of Invention, recreates an English working-class town, complete with an operational iron foundry, a candle works, a printing press, and even a bank where visitors can exchange modern currency for pounds, shillings, and pence to spend within the town.
Ms Collier said: “We are trying to create an immersive experience for our visitors.
“They can go into our shops, our exhibits, our houses, and they meet people dressed as Victorians who will talk to them about Victorians in the past. There are so many different stories that we tell here, there is always something for someone to find interesting.”
Jenny Gamblin, 33, who visited the man-made beach with her husband Brad, 35, and their two sons, shared her enjoyment of the immersive experience: “It’s just like being at the sea, with the sound effects and everything, it’s really relaxing.”
Lauren emphasizes, “We are trying to create an immersive experience for our visitors. They can go into our shops, our exhibits, our houses, and they meet people dressed as Victorians who will talk to them about Victorians in the past.”
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