If you’re planning a holiday in Shropshire this year, here are nine Shropshire towns to visit during your stay.
Shropshire is England’s largest rural county and visitors are always amazed by the beauty of the Shropshire countryside.
But there are also several towns in Shropshire that are worth a visit, whether you’re interested in castles and museums, love outdoor activities like hiking and horse riding or just want to browse through independent shops, bars and restaurants.
So I’ve picked out a few Shropshire towns that you might like to visit during your Shropshire holiday. I haven’t included every town in Shropshire but this selection has something to suit every taste.
Shrewsbury is Shropshire’s county town and one of the county’s largest towns, lying within a loop in the River Severn.
So if this is your first visit to Shropshire, you’ll probably want to spend at least a day or two here. There’s plenty to keep you occupied from museums and historic buildings to a wide selection of independent shops and restaurants.
Shrewsbury is also one of England’s best preserved mediaeval towns. Keep an eye out for unusual street names like Dogpole and Mardol as you wander through the winding shuts. That’s the Shrewsbury name for an alley, by the way!
There are also lots of annual events that are worth timing your visit around, from the two day Shrewsbury Food Festival to the annual commemorations of the birth of Charles Darwin, who was born in the town in 1809.
Shropshire’s largest town was built as a New Town in the mid-20th century. 140,000 people now live in the town, which lies within the borough of Telford and Wrekin.
Telford incorporates a number of smaller towns such as Wellington and Dawley. It also stretches out to the historic Ironbridge Gorge (pictured above)
There are lots of museums and independent shops to visit in Ironbridge. You may also like to visit Wellington’s Indoor Market or the more modern Southwater area in the centre of Telford. Or you could walk up the Wrekin for a fantastic view out over Shropshire and the surrounding counties.
Food lovers will definitely want to pay a trip to Ludlow while they’re visiting Shropshire. It’s a fantastic foodie destination and the site of the UK’s first food festival, which started over 25 years ago.
Visitors to Ludlow can explore the castle and museum, visit the weekly markets and enjoy the independent shops and restaurants . It’s also a great base for exploring the south of the county including the Clee Hills.
The town of Bridgnorth is actually split into two separate areas with the River Severn running in between. High Town sits on the west side and Low Town on the east side of the river.
You can travel between the two parts of High Town on the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway, England’s only inland funicular railway. Bridgnorth is also the northern terminus for the Severn Valley Railway, the 16 mile heritage railway line that runs down to Kidderminster in Worcestershire.
As well as the beautiful architecture you’ll see around the town, Bridgnorth is also close to Upton Cressett Hall and Dudmaston Hall.
The border town of Oswestry lies on the west of Shropshire close to the border with Wales. It dates back 3000 years to the Iron Age fort of Old Oswestry, and now is a thriving market town.
Oswestry lies close to the Welshpool, Llangollen and Cambrian Heritage Railways and the awe-inspiring World Heritage site of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. You can also visit the 12th century Whittington Castle and the nearby British Ironwork Centre.
My home town of Newport is another Shropshire market town and was established by the Normans in the 12th century. Its wide High Street was originally the home of the town’s market, but is now full of Georgian and Victorian architecture, independent shops and places to eat.
The sandstone church of St Nicholas and the blue and white Italianate market hall dominate the centre of the town. And at the other end of the High Street you will find the timber framed Guildhall.
If you enjoy a walk, the part-restored Newport canal stretches out from the town centre. You’ll often see ducks, swans, the occasional heron and even a kingfisher if you’re really lucky!
The town of Much Wenlock lies close to the Ironbridge Gorge and is famous as the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games. They were inspired by the Wenlock Olympian Games which were created by William Penny Brookes in 1850 and still take place in the town each year.
You’ll find plenty of early English style architecture in Much Wenlock as well as the timber framed 16th Century Guildhall. It’s definitely worth popping into the town’s museum as well as heading over to nearby Wenlock Priory.
The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a wonderful place to enjoy walking and other outdoor pursuits. Church Stretton lies at the heart of the South Shropshire Hills and its picturesque setting earned it the nickname of ‘Little Switzerland’.
There are plenty of activities to keep you busy here, from walking and cycling to paragliding and horse riding on the Long Mynd and in Carding Mill Valley. But if you fancy a more relaxing break, Church Stretton is full of independent shops and places to eat or you could visit the pretty local villages of Little Stretton and All Stretton.
Ellesmere lies in the North of the county, close to the Welsh border. The town is surrounded by nine meres, which are shallow lakes formed by glaciers during the last Ice Age.
The largest of the meres is known simply as The Mere and a footpath runs around part of the lake’s edge. Ellesmere itself is another vibrant market town with a wide variety of independent shops, cafes and restaurants.
The town also lies on the Llangollen canal so it’s the perfect resting place on a narrowboat holiday. It’s also close to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct World Heritage site.