Saturday, April 09, 2016

The World of Glass in St Helens, Merseyside.


We decided to visit the World of Glass in St Helens this week - a place that I've always seen when out and about in town but never really visited. Obviously, we decided to take some photographs as we wandered around the various exhibits - and we even paid the £8 to have a look at the tunnels which feature later!



When you first go through the glass doors into the building, this is what you're faced with. Its actually quite surprising - I certainly didn't expect to be faced with the huge space above me framed with red brick. (FYI, if you plan on a little bit of a sing song this is the place to be, the echo made even me sound good)!
The layout is a little confusing at first - once you make it through the more official entrance a desk awaits where you can spend £8 to watch the glass blowing lecture and visit the tunnels, or simply have a free visit around the exhibits in the main building or eat at the brand new café. For those with children, there is a fun little play area and maze - we had a great time 'testing' the child friendly activities!



The glass blowing lecture was quite a lengthy affair, but I enjoyed it immensely. The lecturer talked us through each and every step of the glass blowing process, as she made a beautiful glass bowl - which is available to buy in the World of Glass artisan shop afterwards. The front row were warned beforehand that they would feel the full effect of the furnaces when they were opened, and judging by the reactions it was a noticeable increase in temperature! Obviously due to the nature of what was going on, the room was quite hot - and it lasted a good thirty minutes.
After the talk wrapped up, we went for an explore over the glass bridge which was only accessible with a cute little 'World of Glass' sticker which you purchased back at the entrance.


Going through these doors felt a little naughty at first, as there are no staff to encourage you to go over or talk you through things. I remember telling Mike that I felt like a child on a school trip that had wandered away from the group - so it was a little surreal! The bridge crossed over the canal to another building which housed more exhibits and 'the tunnels' - as you can see, Mike took full advantage of the scary glass panels.. I wasn't so brave.



NOTE: Hard hats are provided for the tunnel sections of this building, as the ceilings are very low and the ground is uneven.
The bridge leads you into a large exhibit, and then urges you out to explore the tunnels below. Its hard to capture the real atmosphere underneath with pictures, but it was an incredible experience. The old brickwork in some places was melted due to the intense heat used in the glass making, and you can touch and feel the scars that the old tunnels had due to the industry. The old kilns and cooling tunnels in the outdoor area are also free to walk around, though we didn't linger as it was a very chilly day.

We obviously had to have some fun in the area designed for children too - a lot of optical illusions and even a mirrored maze, all within sight of the glass panelled café so you can indulge in a coffee while the little ones amuse themselves - unless like us, you have a play too. Its very child friendly, and the staff are incredibly attentive.
The gift shop is stocked with the glass made on site - all hand made, and hand finished. The prices range from £12.99 for the gorgeous baubles you can see, to up to £75 for some of the more elaborate glassware.
All in all, the £8 we paid was a little steep admittedly.. But a lot of the exhibits are school based, and they engage in the local community a lot so I think that £8 is a good price to pay for keeping those available. There are a lot of workshops and artisanal events available for all ages, and I recommend having a nosy on the website or giving them a call if you want to take part!
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2 comments

  1. What a marvelous place to snap some photos! Thanks for sharing x


    Joy @ The Joyous Living

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    1. No problem, I thoroughly recommend having a visit!

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