What? A journey into the heart of iron and coal in the valleys
Cadw site to see: Blaenavon Ironworks
Most ‘Instagrammable’ spot: the Balance Tower — perhaps the most iconic architectural feature at Blaenavon Ironworks and an epic place to capture a trademark snap in memory of your visit.
Forming part of UNESCO’s Blaenavon World Heritage Site Industrial Landscape, Blaenavon Ironworks, which commenced production in 1789, is the best preserved blast furnace of its period in the world — and is one of the most important monuments to have survived from the Industrial Revolution.
So what better place to start your journey through Blaenavon?
Begin your visit by viewing the extensive remains of the blast furnaces, the cast houses, the workers’ cottages and the impressively restored Water Balance Tower, while learning about the international significance of the iron industry and the scientific processes involved in its production.
From here, walk, drive or cycle up to the Big Pit National Coal Museum where you can walk in the footsteps of historic miners and try out the town’s 360⁰ virtual reality experience — which allows users to experience life as it was in the Blaenavon World Heritage Site during the 19th and 20th centuries.
And why not end your day with a visit to award-winning local cheese-makers, Blaenavon Cheddar Company, to try your hand at dipping your own cheese?
You’ll have the chance to try an array of unusual flavour combinations unique to Blaenavon, from Black Gold — a Pwll Mawr Cheddar variant, black by appearance and matured 300ft underground in the mine shaft at Big Pit, to Bara Brith Cheddar — a traditional Welsh bread recipe of plumped juicy raisins and mixed fruit infused with 'Black Mountain' liqueur.