Nicknamed the “Capital of the Black Country”, Dudley is a bustling market town between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. It was mentioned in the “Domesday Book” as Dudelei and is home to a castle that dates back to 1070. Considered one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, Dudley is now renowned for its open-air museum and family-friendly zoo.
Things to do in Dudley
You can explore Dudley’s industrial past at the Black Country Living Museum, which comprises several historic buildings, disused mine shafts and old lime kilns collected from across the region. Admire the vintage trams and trolleybuses on display and see a working replica of Thomas Newcomen’s atmospheric steam engine. Also exhibited are many of the products that were manufactured here.
Travelling with kids? Don’t miss a visit to the Dudley Zoo, which is located on the grounds of the centuries-old Dudley Castle. Originally opening to visitors in 1937, the zoo features several Modernist animal enclosures designed by the British architect Berthold Lubetkin. Today, they house everything from capybaras to giraffes, meerkats and marmosets while keeper talks and feeding sessions take place throughout the day.
On the northern edge of Dudley’s town centre is Priory Park, which is home to the ruins of a 12th-century monastery. In addition to tennis and basketball courts, a soccer pitch and a bowling green, the park features wooded walking trails and a peaceful lily pond. Also within the park is the Grade II-listed Priory Hall, which was built in 1825 by John Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley.
Getting around Dudley
Dudley is around 20 minutes’ drive from the centre of Birmingham and 40 minutes from Birmingham Airport. Buses are the main means of getting to Dudley and the town is compact enough to explore on foot.