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A World Heritage Site Hotel is teaming up with other local enterprises in a bid to boost visitor numbers to the area.
Staff at the Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge have created a series of packages to encourage visitors to the area and support local businesses.
They want to work alongside firms in and around the town to offer accommodation and activity packages that promote the skills and talents available. Experiences or trips would need to be available at short notice to ensure they were accessible to last-minute bookings.
The move to drive footfall to Ironbridge comes after the iconic Iron Bridge was featured on the BBC One Show as it was unveiled following its revamp.
Lisa Snape, Marketing and Sales Manager at the Valley Hotel, said partnering with other businesses would benefit everyone – including visitors from the UK and abroad.
“We are surrounded by amazing businesses across Shropshire and everyone is working so hard, working collaboratively could enable us to showcase our businesses more effectively and to wider audiences,” she said.
“Things have moved on in the hospitality industry and it’s important that we take into account the fact that our visitors don’t simply want to book a room these days – they are after so much more, looking for something different, the more unusual experiences.
“We are already offering short breaks which include a ticket on the Sabrina boat in Shrewsbury, a tandem experience and a romantic package.
“The offering has to be able to be booked at very short notice due to 24/7 online bookings but we will be able to add stipulations around availability.
“We have lots of attractions on our doorstep so it is important to offer special deals there too so for example if people want a family-fun visit during a half term they can book our deal here whereby they get their accommodation and a ‘passport’ to the attractions covered by the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust.
“We hope to be able to offer a wide range of packages and are certainly open to ideas. It might be an art exhibition, or a brewery experience, wine or gin tasting or a sporting activity but whatever it is we are looking forward to sitting down and discussing these options with the business owners to see if we can create something special for tourists from across the world.
“Ironbridge and the surrounding area is a hub of talent and we want to help promote that to the rest of the world.”
One of the partners is Peter Bird from The Tandem Experience.
“We now have an electric tandem which is brilliant and proving very popular – we have over 60 miles of traffic free cycling here on mostly reclaimed railway lines so a bike – especially a tandem is the best way to see the area,” he said.

For more information and to discuss creating a package with The Best Western Valley Hotel, email:


As a teenage kitchen porter at one of Shropshire’s top hotels, Barry Workman never thought he would one day be celebrating 20 years as its head chef. And he never imagined that the nephew who joined him on work experience at age 15 would go on to work for, Gordon Ramsey and Marcus Wareing. But his 20th anniversary at The Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge is fast approaching and, after becoming a director of the family-run business several years ago, the 52-year-old will not be going anywhere.

“I first worked here when I was at school as a kitchen porter, then went on to be an apprentice and attended Radbrook College and now, almost 40 years later, to celebrate 20 years as head chef is just fantastic,” said Mr Workman.

“We were talking during a meeting the other week and realised that between the five managers, we have clocked up more than 100 years between us at The Valley Hotel.

“It has always been and remains a family run business and I think that is the secret to our success.”

During his time in the kitchens at The Best Western Valley Hotel, Mr Workman has trained dozens of new staff, including his own son Adam - who at 23 is now the hotel’s pastry chef. Mr Workman said that helping budding young chefs and training them up was one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. After his early years at the valley hotel , Mr Workman began his chefing career at Telford Golf and Country Club in the 1980s where he was head Chef, before moving to work in Leicester for several years. He returned to Shropshire in the early 1990s and, having known The Valley Hotel’s then-fairly new owners Lesley and Phil Casson, found out they had a vacancy for a head chef and successfully applied for the job. “As a family run hotel, we really do look after those who work here and that is why we have such continuity with staff and consistently high standards,” said Mr Workman. “Our restaurant has two AA rosettes for excellent food and service for 14 years , something I and the rest of the staff are all extremely proud of.” During this period the hotel has increased its bedrooms to forty four rooms, and has become one of the most popular wedding venues in Shropshire.”

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Management at an Ironbridge hotel have been handed two awards by a national wedding service website for its award winning food and first-class service.

The Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge was named Best Venue in Shropshire and Best Venue in the West Midlands at the inaugural WeddingDates Awards.

The awards were launched for the first time this year by bosses behind the website, an online network connecting wedding suppliers and wedding couples. Lisa Snape, sales manager at The Best Western Valley Hotel said the awards had topped a “fantastic” 25 year anniversary year since owners Philip and Lesley Casson had bought the hotel.

Mrs Snape, who herself has worked at the hotel for 21 years said: “It is such an honour to receive these awards.

“We were so surprised when we found out that not only had we won one award, but two.

“It is a great testament to the hard work that all of our staff put into making this venue perfect for couples getting married - and the fantastic part is that it was our suppliers and customers who voted for us.

“We are so touched that our customers have left such positive feedback for us that it has lead to these awards, we can’t thank them enough.”

The awards were based on customer reviews written on their website and the venues with the best star ratings were handed the accolades.

Bosses at said staff at The Best Western Valley hotel had done very well.
A spokeswoman for said: “The Best Western Valley Hotel is a traditional wedding venue.

“This country house hotel is a 44 bedroom, charmingly furnished, independent hotel with an award winning head chef cooking superb seasonal modern British cuisine.

“It’s easy to see why this hotel is the top rated West Midlands and Shropshire wedding venue of 2013.”


We recognise the importance of supporting local charities, and decided to host a social evening where everyone enjoyed dancing here at the hotel, followed by a disco when over 60 guests attended the event from Shrewsbury Mencap.

Money was raised in a raffle at our staff Christmas party in December, and the funds raised helped to contribute towards the buffet.

Thank you to all the members of staff who worked voluntarily to make the night a success.

mencap 2012

We are very proud to announce we have been awarded the Green Tourism Business Scheme GOLD AWARD for the fifth year in a row.The Best Western Valley Hotel in Ironbridge was the first hotel in Shropshire to be awarded the coveted Gold award in 2009, under the Green Tourism Business Scheme, for demonstrating excellence in environmental practice.

In order to maintain this fantastic rating, the hotel had to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, managing waste and energy consumption, reducing its carbon footprint and promoting an awareness of the environment and the community, through staff training.

Joanne Boddison, General Manager said “Our in-house Green Team has been the driving force behind achieving our gold status, and we are very proud of what we have achieved. As a business we have become much more efficient with our resources and received positive feedback on our work from guests and visitors. It is a long term plan, and we will continue with the project and our commitment to sustainable tourism.

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When Philip and Lesley Casson bought an historic hotel in a Shropshire World Heritage Site they could have hardly dreamt of the success they would have achieved.

She said: “2013 is certainly a special year for us. Reaching our silver anniversary of owning the hotel is certainly a milestone achievement, however, we couldn’t have done it without our wonderful staff who are vital to the success of the hotel. We are both really proud of all of them.”

“When we first saw the hotel in July 1988.” we fell in love with it and decided we definitely wanted to buy it.

We had very ambitious plans for how we wanted to develop and improve the hotel to transform it into one of the best in the Midlands.

“We have carried out extensive work over the years to increase the number of bedrooms and have built a new reception area and function room.

 “We hope all this hard work will pay off and look forward to continuing the success of the hotel over many years to come.

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We are very proud to announce the instillation of our Electric Car Charging Port this week; we hope that our customers will take advantage of this eco-friendly move.

It is a fantastic development towards our green initiative at the hotel that everybody here is very passionate about. We are always looking at ways we can be more environmentally friendly and to conserve energy, which supports our gold award for green tourism. It is a great way of working towards reducing Shropshire’s carbon footprint. It also means we are offering even more for our guests and hopefully it will be a reason for them to decide to stay with us. We also hope that we can raise awareness of the benefits of choosing an electric car and perhaps persuade people to think about buying one.

Hotel guests will be able to charge their cars for free, while non-residents will be able to do so at the discretion of the hotel manager.

2013 is also a special year for the Cassons as they are celebrating their 25th anniversary at the hotel and its continuing success. Extensive work has been carried out over the years to transform the hotel, and work continues to improve the facilities all the time.

Car port

We have hosted our  first wedding ceremony on the Hotel Terrace in August.  Gemma Jones and David Griffiths from Broseley, are the happy couple who exchanged their vows in the new gazebo, while their guests enjoyed the fabulous view of the Ironbridge Gorge.

Gemma commented "Our wedding day was absolutely out of this world, having an outdoor wedding in such beautiful surroundings made it a day to remember by all. We didn't have to worry about anything as the staff were so helpful and led us through the day, and the service was fantastic. Thank you so much to all at the valley for giving us such special memories that will stay with us forever."

Congratulations Gemma and David!

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Getting married outdoors has been the dream of many brides over the years but only now is it possible in the Ironbridge Gorge. B​est Western Valley Hotel has a beautiful Victorian style gazebo on the terrace of the hotel, offering a truly romantic setting for couples to confirm their commitment to each other. On a beautiful spring or summer's day this is the perfect setting for your wedding ceremony and will certainly prove to be a unique talking point amongst family and friends during the wedding breakfast!

Can you imagine making an entrance on to the terrace which overlooks the magnificent backdrop of the Ironbridge Gorge; where breath taking views can be enjoyed by all whilst you exchange your vows? This grade II listed building will certainly add a wonderful touch of elegance and grandeur to the day. By visiting the venue in person you will see for yourself the stunning scenery the hotel has to offer, for those all important photographs. The professional, experienced, and friendly team at the Hotel will be available to discuss your individual requirements and will offer assistance in organising civil ceremonies and receptions.

Enjoy award winning parkland, whilst sharing your vows is simply a lovely way to tie the knot. Go and see for yourself!

To visit the wedding page of our web site Click Here

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