Some say Shrew, others say Shrow, the choice is yours. Or you can even call it Scrobbesbyrig like the Saxons did. But whatever you call it, put Shrewsbury down on your lists of place to visit, because this ancient Shropshire market town has something for everyone.
The town centre is packed to the hilt with ‘magpie’ Tudor -timbered buildings and spaghetti like cobblestone streets concluding in Shrewsbury’s Shuts and Passages, a unique maze of narrow alleys which criss-cross the town centre. It boasts no less than 660 listed buildings including Shrewsbury Abbey, the beautiful red-sandstone former monastery which became famous as the setting for monastic detective Cadfael.
Charles Darwin, Shrewsbury’s favourite son, apparently liked messing about on the river and so can you. The River Severn encircles the town, offering visitors a range of water-based activities including rowing, canoeing, angling or simply walking next to. After all that strenuous activity you will no doubt be requiring sustenance in some watering hole and there’s no shortage of these in Shrewsbury. The Three Fishes, a small 15th Century alehouse or the Boat House Inn, its beer garden offering views over Quarry Park and the tiny Port Hill Suspension Bridge are recommended.
SHREWSBURRY's TOP 10
10. The Square is Shrewsbury’s historical centre and a people-watchers café lined paradise.
5. The cobbled streets around St Alkmund’s Place are bursting with Tudor charm. Don’t miss Grope Lane, the aptly named alley of ill repute.
9. St Mary’s Church has one of the highest spires in England and a window made of rare mid-14th Century glass.
4. Victoria Quay is perfect for a stroll and the place to hop aboard a cruise around the Severn Loop.
8. Charles Darwin was born in the area of Frankwell at a house called The Mount in 1809, grandson of Josiah Wedgewood.
3. Theatre Severn is Shrewsbury’s swanky new centre for performing arts. Perfect if you are fading without your culture fix.
7. Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is a timber-framed treasure trove of local history from early bog dwellers to Charles Darwin.
2. Shrewsbury Castle has an impressive collection of military memorabilia.
6. The Battlefield 1403 Visitor Centre marks the spot where the Battle of Shrewsbury took place, one of the bloodiest on English soil.
1. Shrewsbury Cathedral has some stunning stained glass windows depicting traditional religious scenes and a somewhat untraditional London bus!
Dust off your dancing shoes and shimmy down to the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in August for the best folk music in town.
The Shrewsbury International Street Theatre Festival takes over time in August or September for a three day feast of entertainment.
For chilled out entertainment with a family-friendly vibe head to Shrewsbury’s Deva Dubs ’n’ Rods Show in June.
Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival takes place in April – but watch out for the caricaturists – they tend to pounce without warning.
The streets come alive in June when the Shrewsbury Carnival transforms the town centre into a riot of colour and sound.
The Shropshire Festival of Transport is the Rolls Royce of motor shows in July, with a mix of vintage and modern vehicles and fun.
If you like your music loud then head to Shrewsbury Fields Forever in September, two glorious days of indie, rock, hard-core and dance.
The Amulet Fair sets up shop in June and July giving you two chances to find a hidden gem amongst the stalls crammed with antiques and collectibles.
The Shrewsbury Flower Show arrives in August for two days of ‘blooming marvellous’ entertainment and floral displays.
Experience festivities medieval- style at the Shrewsbury Christmas Market, with mulled wine and song, as well as lots of seasonal treats.
WHEN TO GO
· Shropshire receives a mild temperate climate. Mild summers are followed by mild autumns and so on. The summer months are quite sunny with an average of 6 hours of sunshine a day but the English summer is a precarious thing – and rather rare over the last few years.
· Summer temperatures see a peak in average temperatures of around 2°C with evening temperatures of around 10°C. In a mini-heat wave however it’s possible to see temperatures soar into the early 30s. Winter sees day time highs of 6°C with frosts common and snow rare.
· Rainfall is moderate in Shrewsbury in comparison with some other parts of the UK, with its arrival unpredictably – sunny days can be followed by thunderstorms as well as a few days of rain.
· Birmingham and Manchester airports are the closest to Shrewsbury, both around a one hour’s drive; however London’s airports are not too far away at around an hour and a half’s distance.
· There are no direct trains connecting Shrewsbury to London, so it’s necessary to change at Wolverhampton, and a one way ticket currently costs around £40, the journey time is two and a half hours. Shrewsbury is also the starting point for forays into Wales, with trains running to north and south Wales terminating at Swansea.
· National Express runs buses to London and Birmingham, plus many other intercity destinations – at a very cost-effective price.
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