Review: Moira Furnace Museum & Country Park

Please note: We visited at Easter in April 2021, meaning many restrictions are still in place, so our review is of our experience under Covid restrictions, rather than what can ‘normally’ happen there!

Moira Furnace is such a beautiful little gem of a place. Even though our visit was short, I thought I’d share our beautiful little adventure there, as it is such a lovely day out with the family that is not only unique, but affordable too.

Enjoying the Canal boat at Moira Furnace
Enjoying the Canal boat at Moira Furnace

We had been at Swadlincote Snowsports Centre in the morning and had about 90mins before our timeslot to Calke Abbey, so we decided to pop just two miles down the road to Moira Furnace as it was close by and somewhere we had wanted to go for a long while.

It was simply beautiful!

What is Moira Furnace?

Set in open parkland, alongside a stretch of the Ashby Canal, it is a beautiful day out in Moira, Leicestershire.

Moira Furnace is a beautiful place to explore
Moira Furnace is a beautiful place to explore

A bit of history, according to Wikipedia, “Moira Furnace is a nineteenth-century iron-making blast furnace located in Moira, Leicestershire, on the banks of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal. Built by the Earl of Moira in 1804, the building has been preserved by North West Leicestershire District Council as a museum featuring lime kilns and craft workshops.

Moira Furnace is a blast furnace that produced iron from 1806, now restored to an outstanding landmark.”

Such a beautiful and unique day out
Such a beautiful and unique day out

What can we do at Moira Furnace now?

Country Park

The Country Park is 36 acres of beautiful woodland, meadows, canal paths and more, with plenty of space for all the family to enjoy. Well-behaved dogs are welcome too.

There are benches for picnics, paths suitable for cycling, as well as restored areas of the Ashby Canal to walk along.

There is a small play are of children as well as accessible paths that are suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs – you can see these on the map below.

For those who love to visit Conkers, you can follow the trail along to Conkers or to Hicks Lodge too.

Moira Furnace Museum & Country park map – click to head to the website for the full map

Boat trips information at Moira Furnace

The boat trip was definitely a highlight of our visit, a short 15minute trip down the canal on the beautiful The Joseph Wilkes.

Boat trips last 15 minutes along the Ashby Canal. You cannot prebook, and currently tickets are available to pick up from the museum shop from a window, open 10am-4pm. Tickets need to be purchased on the day you wish to sail on a first come, first come served basis.

Loving the boat trips at Moira Furnace
Loving the boat trips at Moira Furnace

Boat trips run every 20 minutes throughout the day, from 10.20am – 3.40pm.

The boat can take one group of up to 8 or 2 smaller groups, with totally no more than 8.

Tickets are £3 Adults, £2 children (4-17), 3 yrs and under are free.

Well behaved dogs on a lead can sail on the boat too – we had a little pug on our boat which made Lily’s day!

They are currently running the boat every day until Sunday 11th April before moving to weekends only, however I’d advise keeping an eye on their Facebook page for latest times and prices.

You can also book the barge for private trips too – find out more here.

Even on a bank holiday Monday it was a peaceful place to explore
Even on a bank holiday Monday it was a peaceful place to explore

Moira Furnace Museum

Moira Furnace has a museum (which we have not yet visited under Covid), which is usually open at weekends through April to September, with history of iron making, local history, as well as a fun mouse search for children.

According to the website, tickets are £2.50 for adults and £1.50 for children, with under 3s free.

It looks like the museum will be opening late May, including an event with the Coldstream Guards 1815 reenactment group.

Waiting for the boat trip at Moira Furnace. The museum shop window for tickets and refreshments is next to here
Waiting for the boat trip at Moira Furnace. The museum shop window for tickets and refreshments is next to here

Visitor Information – Refreshments, parking & toilets

Toilets are currently available.

There is a café on site too, however when we visited this was closed (I’ll update this post when we visit again!), but drinks and snacks are available from the museum shop. We enjoyed a hot chocolate and they had great brownies too! It was cold when we visited, but ice creams are available too!

Parking is free.

They also host events such as craft fairs and theatre performances in their natural outdoor amphitheater each year, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream this year – I’d advise following them on Facebook to find out more or visit their Events page on the website.

Exploring the Moira Furnace paths
Exploring the Moira Furnace paths

Conclusion

We had a fantastic time at Moira Furnace and are so glad we finally made it along. What made it even more special was how lovely the staff were – I believe they were all volunteers, and they were all so knowledgeable. Lily loved talking to them, especially on the boat where they were more than happy to give us some insider knowledge as we travelled along the canal.

A really lovely day out for all the family
A really lovely day out for all the family

We visited on Bank Holiday Monday of Easter weekend, and although they said it was one of their busiest days, we managed to get on a boat within half an hour of arriving, and it was still so peaceful. Most importantly right now too, we also felt safe in all areas.

We look forward to visiting again as soon as we can, and Lily has already told her grandparents she would like a visit with them when they can see us again, but thank you to everyone at Moira Furnace for such a special, unique and lovely day out together.

For more on visiting Moira Furnace, check out their website or follow them on Facebook for latest days of opening.

Thank you Moira Furnace for a lovely day out with the family
Thank you Moira Furnace for a lovely day out with the family

Looking to combine your visit with other local attractions? Check out our reviews here…

Check out our review of Conkers

Check out our review of Swadlincote Snowsports Centre

Check out our review of National Trust Calke Abbey

Check out our review of Charnwood Forest Alpacas

Moira Furnace and the Ashby Canal
Moira Furnace and the Ashby Canal

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