Whether you are spending a day out in Shropshire or planning a longer holiday, here are more than 50 things to do in Shropshire, with updated opening details for May 2021.
Update: 17th May 2021: Some of these locations are still closed or have limited opening due to the travel restrictions put in place to deal with the 2021 Covid-19 outbreak in the UK and around the world. I have updated each entry where possible but latest details can be found on the venues’ own websites – please check before you travel.
Please take into account the advice from your local government before planning travel and click here to see the current UK government advice regarding Covid-19
You might not know very much about Shropshire. It’s one of those places that people have heard of, but don’t quite know where it is.
Lying on the border with Wales, but less than an hour’s drive north west of Birmingham, Shropshire is one of England’s most rural counties. I also think that it’s one of England’s prettiest counties, but I am biased!
I’ve lived in Shropshire for most of my life, and it’s easy to take it for granted. But there are lots of exciting things to do in Shropshire, from exploring ruined castles to kayaking down the River Severn. We have amazing landscapes, beautiful country houses, and some fantastic food festivals.
Whether you are spending a day out in Shropshire or planning a holiday in the county, here’s my list of 50 fabulous things to do in Shropshire:
Discover Museums in Shropshire
Whether you’re fascinated by natural history, obsessed with the Victorians or love a good ghost story, there’s something to suit every taste in Shropshire.
Here are just a few suggestions for museums that you can visit in Shropshire
The Iron Bridge
The Iron Bridge is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was constructed in 1779, opening to the public in 1781.
It was the world’s first major bridge to be made from cast iron, and the area became known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
The Bridge has undergone a £1m renovation, thanks to English Heritage. The wraps came off in late 2018, revealing the Iron Bridge in a return to its original red colour.
The Iron Bridge is one of the 10 museums of the Ironbridge Gorge Trust, and is open to the public at all times.
RAF Museum at Cosford
Visit the RAF Museum at RAF Cosford for a fantastic day out for people of all ages.
The museum explores the story of the RAF and the thousands of men and women who have served in it. You can see many examples of planes dating back through the 100+ years that the RAF has been in existence.
The Cold War exhibition is a fascinating look back through a significant period of the 20th century, and you can also see the iconic Vulcan plane suspended from the ceiling.
Entrance to the museum is free of charge, although there is a small charge for parking. The RAF museum at Cosford is just off Junction 3 of the M54 and also has a railway station on-site.
Update 17/05/2021: The RAF Cosford museum is now open for prebooked visits. Book your free tickets on the RAF Cosford Museum website.
Much Wenlock Museum
Who would have thought that a little Shropshire village would be the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games?
You may remember that one of the 2012 Olympic mascots was called Wenlock. And at the museum in Much Wenlock, you can see artefacts from when Dr William Penny Brookes established the Wenlock games.
There’s also a short walking trail which you can follow. It starts at the museum and passes by the field where the first Wenlock games took place and the old station where visitors to the games would have arrived.
Much Wenlock is midway between Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth on the A458. The museum is usually open Tuesday to Sunday and closes for 30 minutes at lunchtime.
Update 17/05/2021: The Much Wenlock museum is currently closed
For a day out with a difference, why not take a jailhouse tour at the Dana prison, Shrewsbury?
The prison was constructed by Thomas Telford and was finished in 1793. You can either take a guided or self-guided tour around the Victorian prison wings and down in to the Georgian cells below. You’ll learn about the way prisoners lived in the prison, and hear about the executions which took place there.
There are after-dark lights out tours and even ghost tours if that’s your sort of thing, or you could try one of the escape rooms.
The prison is located in the centre of Shrewsbury, close to the town’s railway station. You can book tours on the website, and they are available seven days a week.
Update 17/05/2021: Shrewsbury Prison is now open for guided and self-guided tours. The Escape rooms are also now available for booking.
Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery
Shrewsbury Museum originally opened in 1835. In 2014 Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery reopened in the Old Music Hall, overlooking the Square in the town centre.
Galleries cover Roman, Tudor and Stuart artefacts, as well as Shropshire’s famous mammoth. The museum’s collection contains over 300,000 items, ranging from fossilised rain drops to Queen Victoria’s stockings. Not all of the items are on public display, but you can arrange a private viewing.
Entrance to the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is currently free.
The museum is open 7 days a week in summer, and closes on Mondays in Autumn and Winter. Entrance usually costs £4.50 for adults, £2 for children and there are a number of concessions available.
Update 17/05/2021: Shrewsbury Museum is now open for prebooked visits. You can book your tickets here.
Soldiers of Shropshire Museum
The Soldiers of Shropshire Museum is housed in the grand red stone fortress of Shrewsbury Castle, overlooking the town.
Its collection contains pictures, uniforms, medals, silverware, weapons and other artefacts dating from the 18th Century to the present day. The exhibits pay tribute to the soldiers of several Shropshire-based regiments from the 1700s onwards, as well as a Modern Army collection.
There’s also information about the history of the castle itself, and the Lords Lieutenant of Shropshire.
Opening hours vary throughout the year, check the website before visiting. Admission costs £4.50 for adults and concessions are available.
Update 17/05/2021: The Soldiers of Shropshire Museum is now open for visitors.
Acton Scott Working Farm
Get an insight into Victorian rural life at Acton Scott Working Farm. Daily activities, demonstrations and special events show how traditional 19th century farm life would have looked, while the land around the farm is worked by heavy horses.
The Old School now houses a cafe, and Acton Scott also run a range of courses covering everything from breadmaking to blacksmithing. Visit the website to see the full list of courses available.
Acton Scott is a few miles south of Church Stretton in the Shropshire Hills. The farm is open Saturday-Wednesday between early April and early November. Entrance is £9 for adults, £5 for children, concessions and season tickets are available.
Blists Hill Victorian Town
Go back in time when you spend a day at Blists Hill Victorian Town. This recreated Victorian town lets you step back in history to the time when Queen Victoria was on the throne.
Meet the townfolk in their authentic shops and cottages, and watch demonstrations from the tradespeople in their workshops. You can visit the baker to pick up your daily loaf, indulge your sweet tooth at the sweetshop and tuck into fish and chips for dinner.
Blists Hill is just outside Ironbridge, and is part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. An annual Passport costs £27.50 for adults and £17.50 for children, or you can save money with a family passport. There are often special offers – click here for more details.
Update 17/05/2021: The outdoor spaces, front of house shop, Victorian market and traditional shops are now open on Saturdays & Sundays, 10am-5pm. Other buildings within the Town will reopen from 19 May.
Jackfield Tile Museum
Discover the skills and artistry of Victorian tile makers at Jackfield Tile Museum. This museum is in Jackfield, just a couple of miles outside Ironbridge, and is a fascinating look at one of the industries which made the area famous.
You can find out how the files were made, and see examples of world-class tile design from artists including William Morris. The museum also has a walk through gallery with tiles in use in mock-ups of a church, a pub and more.
Jackfield Tile Museum is also host to Fusion, which is the home of several creative artists who you can visit in their studios.
Update 17/05/2021: Jackfield Tile Museum is reopening on 19th May 2021
Town Walls Tower
Grab a rare chance to explore the Town Walls Tower in Shrewsbury. This is the only remaining tower from Shrewsbury’s town walls, built to protect the town on the border of Wales.
The tower is very small inside, and only opens on a handful of days each year. You will need to book tickets in advance, and admission is only on guided tours of 6 people. At the time of writing, no dates had been announced for 2021.
Entrance costs £2 for adults, £1 for children and is free to National Trust members. Click here to visit the website and book a tour.
Update 17/05/2021: Town Walls Tower currently remains closed
Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre
If you’re interested in the natural history of Shropshire, then the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre is a good place to start.
The Shropshire Hills Through Time exhibition explores Shropshire’s natural history from the Ice Age through to the present day. It includes a replica of the Shropshire mammoth, the fossilised remains of an adult mammoth which was discovered near Condover in 1986.
There an award winning cafe which offers homemade cakes, locally sourced produce and cream teas, and 30 acres of riverside meadow which you can explore on foot or on bike.
You can even have a go at orienteering or try your hand at geocaching – book in advance to reserve a GPS for your visit.
The Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre is on the A49 near Craven Arms. Entrance to the centre and meadows is free, and there’s a small charge for entrance to the exhibition.
Update 17/05/2021: Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre is now open for visitors.
Historical Things to Do in Shropshire
Shropshire has a fascinating history that goes back through the centuries. It was vital to the Romans, saw battles between the English and Welsh, and played a key part in the English civil wars.
Make time to check out some of these historical sites during your visit to Shropshire.
Wroxeter Roman City
Discover urban living from 2000 years ago at Wroxeter Roman City. Viriconium (Wroxeter) and was once the fourth largest city in Roman Britain, nearly as large as Pompeii.
You can find out about the daily lives of the people who lived in Viriconium through the objects found there and through the audio tour. Wander around the remains of the bathhouse, and explore a reconstructed town house.
You’ll find Wroxeter midway between Shrewsbury and Telford. Entry is £8.70 for adults, and is free for English Heritage members, check opening times before you visit.
Update 14/04/2021: The grounds and shop at Wroxeter Roman City are open, but the townhouse is currently still closed. You need to book your visit in advance.
Explore the remains of an Augustinian abbey at Haughmond Abbey, including the abbot’s quarters, cloister and refectory.
The abbey’s chapter house is largely standing, including its timber roof from around 1500, and medieval carvings and statues can be seen on the house’s frontage.
Interpretation panels guide you around the site, and there’s a picnic area nearby with beautiful views over the countryside around Shrewsbury
Entry to this English Heritage site is free of charge, and there is free parking onsite.
Update 17/05/2021: Haughmond Abbey is now fully open for visitors.
Lilleshall Abbey was an Augustinian abbey founded around the year 1148. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the mid 16th century, Lilleshall became a private residence and was severely damaged during a Parliamentarian siege in the English Civil War.
Much of the church survives to this day, along with a lavish processional door and other buildings.
Lilleshall Abbey is around 6 miles North of Telford, and it is open 10am-6pm from April to October, and 10am-4pm from November to March. Entry to the site is free, with limited free parking available between April and October. In the winter months, parking is at the gateway entrance.
Update 17/05/2021: Lilleshall Abbey is now fully open to visitors.
While you’re in the area: It’s also worth heading up to the top of Lilleshall hill to view the Sutherland monument and take in the views over the surrounding countryside.
Visit the beautiful town of Much Wenlock, and explore Wenlock Priory, much of which still stands high.
The remains of this Norman priory relect the elaborate decoration loved by the Cluniac monks. In the priory’s library, you’ll be able to see the locally-made medieval floor tiles, which have been re-laid to give an impression of how they would have originally looked.
Much Wenlock is on the edge of the Shropshire Hills Area of Natural Beauty, around 10 miles south-west of Telford.
Entry to Wenlock Priory costs £7.60 for adults, and is free for English Heritage members – click here to check opening times before you visit.
Update 17/05/2021: Wenlock Priory is now open. Measures are still in place to keep everyone safe, and booking your visit in advance is essential. You will need to wear a face covering indoors, so make sure to take one with you.
Mitchell’s Fold is a Bronze Age stone circle, built over 3000 years ago using dolerite stones from nearby Stapeley Hill.
The circle once included around 30 stones, and 15 of these are still visible today. The tallest stone would have been part of a pair, and these would have formed an impressive entrance into the circle. It’s believed that there may also have been a stone in the centre of the circle.
Mitchell’s Fold is open any reasonable time in daylight hours, and entry is free of charge.
While you’re in the area: Mitchell’s Fold is just one of the prehistoric sites in this area. The Hoarstones circle is just a couple of miles away, and is also worth a visit.
White Ladies Priory
White Ladies Priory was a small nunnery of Augustinian canonesses, known as ‘white ladies’ due to the undyed habits they wore.
Most of the convent buildings were taken down after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, however the ruins of the 12th century church of White Ladies Priory are still standing today.
In 1651, King Charles II briefly hid at the priory after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester, before moving on to nearby Boscobel House.
White Ladies Priory is open at any reasonable time during daylight hours, and entry is free of charge. Free parking is available at Boscobel House, a 20 minute walk away.
20 minutes walk from White Ladies’ Priory, you’ll find Boscobel House. It’s most famous for being the place where Charles II hid, trying to avoid capture by Parliamentary soldiers following his defeat in the Battle of Worcester.
At Boscobel House, you’ll be able to see a descendent of the Royal Oak and the priest-hole where Charles hid, as well as taking a tour around the manor house and gardens. You can also visit the Victorian farmyard, and a tearoom in the old stables offers light lunches, snacks and drinks.
Boscobel House is near Bishop’s Wood, around 8 miles from Junction 3 of the M54. The House is only open at weekends through the winter, so click here to check opening times before your visit. Entry for adults costs £11, and English Heritage members get in free.
Update 17/05/2021: Boscobel House is now open. Measures are still in place to keep everyone safe, and booking your visit in advance is essential. You will need to wear a face covering indoors, so make sure to take one with you.
The ruins of the 12th century Cistercian abbey at Buildwas Abbey are considered to be some of the most important Cistercian remains in England.
At Buildwas, you’ll be able to see the abbey’s 12th century church, the vaulted chapter house with its original tiled floor, and the recently re-opened crypt chapel. It’s a fantastic example of the Cisterican order’s early architectural style
Buildwas Abbey is situated near the River Severn just outside Ironbridge, around 15 minutes drive from Telford town centre. Free parking is available on-site.
The site and car park are open daily from 10am to 5pm from 1st April – 31st October and 10am to 4pm from 1st November – 31st March. Entry costs £4.50 for adults, and is free for members of English Heritage.
Update 14/04/2021: Buildwas Abbey is now fully open for visitors
While you’re in the area: Buildwas Abbey is just a few minute’s drive from the Iron Bridge and the museums of the Ironbridge Gorge.
Explore Castles in Shropshire
With such a rich history, it’s no surprise that you’ll find plenty of castles to explore in Shropshire. Some are in better condition than others, but they’re all worth a visit during your holiday in Shropshire.
Stokesay Castle is renowned as the best-preserved fortified medieval manor house in England.
The castle has been carefully restored, and is one of the best places in England to visit, if you want to know what medieval life was like.
There is plenty to do on a day out at Stokesay Castle, and the castle’s tearoom serves delicious lunches, snacks and cakes.
Stokesay Castle is near Craven Arms, about 10 miles north-west of Ludlow in the south of Shropshire. Adult entry costs £9.90 and entry is free for English Heritage members. Parking is free for members and there is a charge for non-members to park.
Opening times may vary throughout the year – click here to check before you visit.
Update 17/05/2021: Stokesay Castle will be closed until 28th May 2021 due to a filming project.
The oldest parts of Shrewsbury Castle were constructed between 1067 and 1074, after the Norman conquest. The Castle was gradually rebuilt in stone and became a major fortress overlooking the Welsh border in the Middle Ages.
The castle fell into disrepair after 1300, but in the late 1500s it was turned into a domestic residence. Thomas Telford remodelled the Great Hall as a private house in the late 18th century.
The castle is situated in the centre of Shrewsbury, close to the railway station.
While you’re visiting: Don’t forget to check out Laura’s Folly, built by Thomas Telford in honour of Laura Pulteney, daughter of the local MP William Pulteney. You can climb the steps to the entrance of the folly, but the folly itself is not open to the public.
Update 17/05/2021: Shrewsbury Castle is currently closed.
Ludlow Castle dates back to the years immediately following the Norman conquest. It was built as one of a string of castles which guarded the border between England and Wales.
And in the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle became important as the centre of administration for the Marches and Wales.
It was refurbished as an Elizabethan stately home, but in 1689 the castle was abandoned and soon became dilapidated.
The castle is usually open to the public and also plays host to several festivals and public events throughout the year. Entrance costs £8.00 and concessions are available – click here to check prices and opening times.
Update 17/05/2021: Ludlow Castle is now open and pre-booking is not required.
Keep reading to find out about the Ludlow Food Festivals which take place at the castle.
The ruins of Clun Castle sit high on a hill above the town which shares its name. It was built in the years following the Norman conquest
The castle was used as a hunting lodge in the 14th century and prospered through until the end of the century. But by the early 15th century, followers of Owain Glyn Dwr devastated the local area, and by 1539 the castle was in ruins.
Clun Castle is located in the Shropshire Hills Area of Natural Beauty, around 20 miles west of Ludlow. It is open at any reasonable time during daylight hours, and free parking for cars is available nearby.
Acton Burnell Castle
Acton Burnell Castle was built in the late 13th century by Edward I’s Lord Chancellor, Bishop Burnell. Parliaments were held at the castle in 1283 and 1285 but by 1420 the castle had been abandoned.
Today, the red sandstone shell of Acton Burnell Castle remains a fantastic example of a fortified medieval manor.
Acton Burnell Castle lies around 10 miles south of Shrewsbury. It is open at any reasonable time during daylight hours, and entry is free of charge. Limited parking for cars is available at the entrance to the site.
Moreton Corbet Castle
Take a walk around the remains of Moreton Corbet Castle, which date back to around the year 1200.
The original stone castle included an impressive gatehouse. The castle was then remodelled in the 1500s by the Corbet family, with a bold Italian-inspired design.
The castle was devastated during the English Civil War in the 17th century, but the Italianate south wing of the castle can still be seen today.
Moreton Corbet Castle is near to Shawbury, a short drive from Shrewsbury. It is open at any reasonable time during daylight hours, and limited free parking is available nearby.
Update 17/05/2021: Moreton Corbet Castle is now fully open to visitors.
Foodie Days Out in Shropshire
Food festivals are held all over the UK now but did you know they started in Shropshire? Ludlow Food Festival was the very first food festival and celebrated its 25th year in 2019.
Why not see if one of the county’s food festivals are taking place during your visit to Shropshire?
Shrewsbury Food Festival
Shrewsbury Food Festival is held in the county town of Shropshire every June. It takes place in the beautiful setting of the Quarry Park, as well as in the town’s streets.
Over 200 food, drink and craft exhibitors took part in the 2018 event. Visitors enjoyed demonstration stages, live music, a chef school and even a big screen showing World Cup matches.
There was also free kids entertainment, bubble football, go karting, and much more.
The 2021 Shrewsbury Food Festival is due to take place on 4th and 5th September 2021. You can buy tickets on the day or save money by buying your tickets in advance – click here for tickets.
Ludlow Food Festival
There are two Ludlow Food Festivals held each year, in the grounds of Ludlow Castle and among the streets of the town. The Ludlow Spring Festival takes place in May, and September sees the three day Ludlow Food Festival.
At both of these events, you’ll be able to taste the very best food and drink that the region has to offer. There are also classic cars, live music performances, and of course loads of opportunities for shopping.
The dates for upcoming events are:
Ludlow Spring Festival: 8-9th May 2021 – CANCELLED
Ludlow Food Festival: 10-12th September 2021 – click here for tickets
The next Ludlow Spring Festival is planned for 14-15th May 2022
While you’re in the area: It’s worth paying a visit to the Ludlow Food Centre. More than just a farm shop, it’s a unique food experience where farming, food production and retail all come together.
The Magnalonga is organised by the same people as the Ludlow Food Festivals, and takes place every August.
It’s a very popular food walk of around 8-10 miles, through the unspoilt Shropshire countryside. At each step along the way, walkers enjoy a course of a meal featuring food and drink from the region.
The Magnalonga is based upon an event held in Ludlow’s twin town of San Pietro in Cariano, near Verona, and is now in its 16th year.
The 2021 Magnalonga is due to take place on 8th August 2021 – click here for ticket information
Ellesmere Food and Drink Festival
The Ellesmere Food and Drink Festival takes place in the pretty market town of Ellesmere every June. It features top quality produce from local and regional food and drink producers.
It takes place in the town’s Market Hall, and entry is free to the public.
At the time of writing, dates have not been announced for the 2021 Ellesmere Food and Drink Festival
Big Events in Shropshire
Shropshire plays host to some big annual events that are definitely worth planning a visit for.
And if you’re travelling to Shropshire for one of these events, why not make a weekend of it and explore more of the county while you’re here?
Shrewsbury Flower Show
The Shrewsbury Flower Show is one of the UK’s top flower shows, and takes place over two days in August each year.
It has been held in the Quarry Park for over 130 years, making it the world record holder for the longest running horticultural event held in the same location.
As well as the horticultural displays and competitions, you’ll also see top chefs, entertainment, fireworks and educational talks.
This year’s show has unfortunately been cancelled due to Government restrictions, but a virtual event will take place on 13th and 14th August 2021. Next year’s show is due to be held on 12th and 13th August 2022.
Newport Show prides itself on being Shropshire’s best one-day agricultural show. This annual event has been taking place for over 100 years, and is held on the Chetwynd Deer Park just outside Newport.
As well as the livestock and horticultural competitions, you can also watch equestrian and dog agility competitions. There’s also the Festival of Food, with street food to sample, cookery demonstrations, and plenty of shopping to be done.
This year’s event has unfortunately been cancelled. The next Newport Show will take place on 9th July 2022.
RAF Cosford Air Show
Enjoy a thrilling day out at the RAF Cosford Air Show, the only official Royal Air Force air show.
It takes place at RAF Cosford, which is just outside the village of Albrighton, and features six hours of flying displays from both vintage and modern aircraft.
You’ll also be able to wander around the Vintage Village, and enjoy a cup of tea and a spam sandwich. Browse through the RAF Cosford museum, or take a ride around the surrounding Shropshire countryside in a helicopter.
The 2021 RAF Cosford Air Show has unfortunately been cancelled however a smaller, socially-distanced event is planned for 11th and 12th September 2021 – click here for the latest updates.
Go Walking in Shropshire
Shropshire is England’s most rural county so it’s no surprise that you’ll find plenty of opportunity for walks.
If you love walking, then you really have to visit Shropshire’s most famous hill – the Wrekin. It forms the basis of a well known tale of the giant Gwendol Wrekin ap Shenkin ap Mynyddmawr.
He had a grudge against the town of Shrewsbury and set off with a giant-sized spadeful of earth, planning to block the Severn and flood the town. On the way, he met a cobbler returning from Shrewsbury with a sack full of shoes to be repaired, so he asked him for directions. The quick thinking cobbler told him that it was a long way to Shrewsbury, “just look at all the shoes I’ve worn out walking back from there”.
The giant dumped the spadeful of earth on the ground, where it formed the Wrekin. And he scraped the mud off his boots, which became the smaller Ercall nearby!
The Wrekin is ideal for a short walk and there are places to eat nearby.
The Stiperstones is an exposed rocky ridge topped by the Devil’s Chair. This is the rock where legend says witches would meet up with the Devil.
Lead was once mined in this area, but now it’s a great location for a walk. And you can take a break from your walk to call in for refreshments at the Bog Centre.
The Clee Hills
The Clee Hills is an area of uplands just north of Ludlow. It was formerly a mining area, but now the quarries are silent and nature has taken over the area once more.
There are a number of walks that you can take in this area, which include Brown Clee Hill, the highest point in Shropshire.
Click here to discover some of the trails you can follow in this area.
A day spent walking the Long Mynd will give you stunning views out over the county. Whether you climb the hills or stay down in the valleys, you’ll be amazed by the scenery in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
There are some challenging walks, as well as ones that are a little easier. But the views from the head of Carding Mill Valley will make the effort worthwhile.
Hawkestone Park is a historic woodland landscape, 100 acres of parkland full of cliffs, crags and caves. It’s also the home of the Hawkestone Follies, a series of extraordinary monuments added to the site in the 18th century.
You are free to explore the park as you wish, but there are a number of suggested walks. These range from 1 hour to 3 hours in duration, and will take you around the Hawkestone follies. Alternatively, you can take a guided tour or even view the park on a Land Rover safari.
You’ll find Hawkestone Park around 15 miles north of Shrewsbury, and the park is open from mid-February until early November.
Entrance to the park cost £8.25 for adults and £5.75 for children, family tickets and annual memberships are available.
Update 17/05/2021: Hawkestone Park will be open on selected dates through 2021. Click here to book tickets.
Wenlock Edge is an 18 mile long limestone escarpment, running from Craven Arms to Ironbridge. Footpaths and bridleways along Wenlock Edge take you through ancient woodland and flower-filled grasslands.
This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and you can see evidence of the old quarries and lime kilns that used to operate along the way.
National Trust owns 8 miles of Wenlock Edge, and there are car parks on Wenlock Edge and at Wilderhope Manor.
Climb to Caer Caradoc, site of Caractacus’ last stand against the Romans.
Caractacus was a 1st Century British chieftain, who resisted against the Roman invasion for a decade. He was eventually captured and sentenced to death, but made a speech which led to the Roman emperor Claudius sparing his life.
Legend has it that Caractacus’ last stand against the Romans took place at Caer Caradoc, a hill that overlooks Church Stretton. From here, you’ll be able to see over to the Wrekin and the Long Mynd. And on a clear day you may be able to see as far as the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, the Malvern Hills to the south-east, and Birmingham over to the east.
Out and About in Shropshire
Shropshire is great for a road trip, but there are plenty of other ways to see the county. Here are a few suggestions for different ways to get out and about in Shropshire.
If you’re visiting Shrewsbury, why not see the town from a different point of view on Sabrina.
River trips depart every hour from the Welsh bridge, travelling down river to the English bridge and back again. And the evening cruises let you watch the sun set over the Severn.
They also offer a weekly cruises with dinner or Sunday lunch included, and monthly themed cruises are also available.
Sabrina’s season runs from 1st March to 31st October. Tickets start from £8.50 for adults and £4.50 for children, with concessions, family tickets and group pricing available – click here to book tickets.
Update 17/05/2021: Sabrina is now sailing again!
Severn Valley Railway
Take a journey by steam train through the beautiful Shropshire countryside on the Severn Valley Railway.
Trains leave from stations at Kidderminster and Bridgnorth, and it takes just over an hour to travel the full distance. But a Freedom of the Line tickets allows you a day of unlimited travel between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. It also includes free entry into The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley.
So you can get off the train and explore the stops in between, as well as sampling food at the cafes and restaurants along the way.
First class travel is also available, and there are many special events run throughout the year. Tickets start from £9 for an adult return from Bridgnorth to Bewdley, click here to see full details of fares.
Update 17/05/2021: The Severn Valley Railway is now running again.
Shropshire Raft Tours
A little further down the River Severn at Ironbridge, you can go kayaking, canoeing or rafting on the Severn with Shropshire Raft Tours.
You can take a trip down from the centre of Ironbridge to Jackfield, with an informative and entertaining live commentary from your host. Or hire kayaks or a mini raft to explore the river on your own.
They also offer e-bike hire, which is great for exploring the country roads around Ironbridge.
Prices and availability can be found on their website here. Early reservation is recommended, especially for larger groups
Update 17/05/2021: Shropshire Raft Tours are now open for the Spring/Summer season.
Explore the Mere
The Mere in Ellesmere is one of the UK’s largest glacial lakes outside of the Lake District.
A mere is a lake that is shallow by comparison to its breadth, and there are nine in the area around Ellesmere. The Mere is the largest of the nine, covering a space the size of 17 football pitches.
It’s ideal for a relaxing stroll, and in the summer you can also take a boat out on the Mere.
Bridgnorth Cliff Railway
Take a ride on the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway, England’s oldest and steepest inland electric funicular railway.
It has been in operation for over 100 years, transporting people up and down the 111ft sandstone cliffs separating High Town from Low Town.
The two carriages counterbalance each other – as one rises, the other descends. A return ticket costs just £1.60, and children under 6 travel free of charge.
It’s a quirky trip that’s well worth checking out while you’re in Bridgnorth.
Beautiful Houses and Gardens in Shropshire
Visit the 18th century mansion and estate at Attingham Park. You can look around the beautiful mansion, built in 1785, or walk around the walled garden and fruit orchard. The parkland is home to around 180 fallow deer, and you can join the ranger at feeding time.
There’s also a selection of places to eat and shop, or you could take a course at the Brompton Cookery School, run by chef Marcus Bean.
Attingham also runs events throughout the year, click here to see more details of upcoming events.
Attingham Park is a National Trust property, lying around 6 miles west of Shrewsbury. Entrance for non-members starts at £15 for adults.
At the time of writing, the grounds of Attingham Park are currently open for local residents to visit for exercise. You will need to book in advance and will be turned away if you don’t have a reservation – click here for ticket information.
Update 17/05/2021: The Parkland, Walled Garden, Deer Park, Field of Play, walks, and basement of the Mansion at Attingham are now open. You will need to book your visit in advance, or on the day.
Weston Park is a 17th century mansion set in beautiful Capability Brown-designed gardens. It’s an ideal day out, with plenty to entertain visitors of all ages.
The house is beautifully decorated with an impressive art collection. And the grounds include historic woodlands, a walled garden, an adventure playground and even a miniature railway.
Places to eat include the Granary restaurant, and events run throughout the year including seasonal fairs, guided tours and regular dine and stay events.
Weston Park is just a few minutes’ drive away from Junction 3 of the M54. Opening times and prices vary throughout the year –click here to check before your visit.
Update 17/05/2021: Weston Park will be open daily throughout May 2021. Much of the grounds will be available to explore and the Granary Brasserie is now open inside. Pre-booking is advisable, as there will be limited numbers of tickets available per day.
Benthall Hall sits above the gorge of the River Severn near Broseley and Ironbridge. It is a fine example of Tudor architecture with mullioned and transomed windows, decorative ceilings, a carved oak staircase and oak panelling.
The house also has a beautiful garden with fabulous displays of crocuses in the spring and autumn. You can also explore the plantsman’s garden, kitchen garden and a Restoration church. There’s also a cosy tea room serving drinks and cakes.
Benthall Hall is a National Trust property, and entrance for non-members starts at £7.80 for adults. The house closes through the winter, so check opening times before you visit.
Update 147/05/2021: The Benthall Hall and garden are now open to visitors. You don’t need to book in advance for weekday visits, but it’s recommended for busier times such as weekends and school holidays. You don’t need to book for the parkland walk or car parking.
Stokesay Court is a late-Victorian Grade II* listed mansion, set within extensive landscaped grounds. It’s a private home which opens on selected dates for guided tours.
Stokesay Court has magnificent architecture, and was a filming location for the film ‘Atonement’. Guided tours take you through several of the ground floor rooms, as well as the service wing and old kitchens.
Visitors will also be served afternoon tea in the Dining Room, before exploring the grounds and gardens.
Update 17/05/2021: There are no dates available for tours of the house at Stokesay Court. However a series of garden-based openings are planned – click here for the latest updates.
Cronkhill is an unexpected piece of Italy in the Shropshire countryside. It was one of the first examples of Italianate architecture in the UK, designed by John Nash in 1802.
Cronkhill is a National Trust property, open only on a few selected dates each year. You need to pre-book for the tour, which features a selection of rooms including the Drawing Room, Dining Toom and library.
Cronkhill is located around 6 miles south-east of Shrewsbury. As tenants live in the house, you will not be able to take pictures of the interior. But you can take photos of the architecture and views out over the Shropshire countryside.
Update 17/05/2021: There are no dates available for tours of Cronkhill.
Sunnycroft is a Victorian villa, built in the late 19th century in Wellington, Telford. Apart from minor cosmetic changes and the addition of electricity, little has changed at Sunnycroft since the early 20th century.
The house was built to impress, and a dramatic staircase leads up from the entrance hall, with a floor lined with Maws tiles. Sunnycroft is a treasure trove, with over 8000 period items left to the National Trust by its former owners.
Opening days and times vary throughout the year, click here to check before your visit. Sunnycroft is a National Trust property, and entrance for non-members starts at £8.15 for adults.
Update 17/05/2021: The garden at Sunnycroft is currently open on Sundays and Mondays, pre-booking is essential.
David Austin Roses
If you love roses, then a trip to David Austin Roses is a must!
David Austin Roses are world famous for developing stunning roses. At their site in Albrighton, you can see over 700 different varieties of roses planted in a garden of around 2 acres. The garden is divided into smaller sections, each with its own character and style.
Once you’ve viewed the gardens, you can buy roses to take back to your own garden in their shop, and enjoy tea in the restaurant and tea room.
David Austin Roses is just a short drive from Junction 3 of the M54.
Update 14/04/2021: The David Austin Plant Centre and Rose Gardens will remain closed throughout April and May. You can still shop online on the David Austin Roses website.
I’ve hardly scratched the surface of things to do in Shropshire, there’s so much more that I could have included. So whether you’ve booked a holiday in Shropshire or are planning a day out in Shropshire this summer, you’ve got lots to look forward to!