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- Shrewsbury Guide
The town of Shrewsbury is a historic medieval settlement situated in Shropshire, only nine miles away from the Welsh border and surrounded by the Shropshire Hills. This guide covers some of our favourite things to do in Shrewsbury and around Shropshire.
Although it may look like a sleepy town with a rural backdrop, there's a lot going on in Shrewsbury.
It's an excellent place for family days out with the kids with activities happening throughout the year, but if you prefer a bit of peace then there are walks through beautiful gardens and parks. Not to mention historical sites like castles, churches and buildings of interest, like Charles Darwin's home.
We also have loads of independent shops and cafes to keep you busy for days. Then there's our river the Severn, the longest river in the United Kingdom.
So without further ado, here's our definitive list of things to do in Shrewsbury.
Views along the River Severn
The River Severn is the star attraction of Shrewsbury. Beautiful as she is deadly, she's carved her name into the town making it the place that you see today.
You can discover Shrewsbury along the River Severn with our self-guided walk: A meander down Shrewsbury's River Severn
A far more relaxing way to experience the River Severn is on our passenger boat, Sabrina. Enjoy breathtaking views from Spring through to Autumn on our daily cruises which last approximately 45 minutes (Concessions available).
Every Tuesday, as the light fades to dusk we run our much-loved Tuesday evening dinner cruise. We offer the largest selection of meal options available in Shrewsbury at one time, delivered fresh from one of our five partner restaurants.
If you're looking for something even more laid back then the Sunday lunch cruise is for you; a 45-minute cruise where you can appreciate the spectacular views along Shrewsbury's River Severn. Once we've docked it's just a five-minute walk to The Bucks Head Inn. On arrival, they'll serve your delicious 2-course Sunday lunch making a fitting end to a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
Probably the most unique of all the things to do in Shrewsbury is our music-themed boat cruises. Each cruise lasts around 3 hours, departing at 7:30pm with DJs spinning classic tunes from the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s respectively. Once docked we'll party until midnight.
Other themed nights include the Summer BBQ cruise, wine and cheese tasting, gin masterclasses and a host of other events.
A must-see for any visitor to Shrewsbury.
Situated in the old Music Hall, the Shrewsbury Museum has recently undergone a multimillion-pound redevelopment. Here you'll discover:
No visit is the same either, there are always lots of different things to do at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. Highlights include touring exhibitions and children's activities, perfect for family days out in Shrewsbury. Not to mention a range of arts and crafts workshops, performances and a host of unique festivals.
Attingham Park is a National Trust site on the outskirts of Shrewsbury is one of the best places to visit in Shropshire for the whole family. It features an elegant Regency mansion set in a great estate which includes a deer park, walled gardens and miles of beautiful country parks.
Highlights of the mansion include an impressive picture gallery, atmospheric dining room and boudoir.
If you're visiting in Spring, then you'll be in for a treat. Bluebells transform the woodland with a carpet of blues, attracting tourists from across the UK and beyond.
One of the greatest Shrewsbury attractions is the historic church trail.
Enjoy a self-guided trail around the town which includes St. Chad’s Church, the largest round church in the UK which overlooks The Quarry. Learn about its controversial history and the part Thomas Telford played in the original St. Chad's Church.
Shrewsbury Abbey, home to TV series Brother Cadfael, is on the outskirts of Shrewsbury situated near the English bridge.
Visit the beautiful St. Mary’s Church where you'll find an interesting plaque above the right-hand side of the main entrance.
And Shrewsbury's Cathedral, although not as grand as some of the other Churches, it's a place of intrigue.
Shrewsbury Castle is the epitome of defensive positions, being surrounded by the River Severn loop. Although the castles strategic position was the envy of many an enemy, the original structure was mostly raised during the Norman invasion and gifted to Roger de Montgomery in 1070.
The building you see today was part of the new defences built by Edward 1 during his conquest of Wales in the 13th century.
During the English Civil War, the castle was a royalist stronghold but was sacked after Parliamentarians were let in by a traitor at St. Mary's Water Gate (known as Traitors Gate). Otherwise, the castle remained an impenetrable fortress.
Restored in 1790 by Thomas Telford, Shrewsbury Castle remained a place of residence until the Shropshire Horticultural Society purchased the building in the early 20th century and is now home to the Shropshire Regimental Museum.
While you're here don't miss a chance to see Laura’s Tower; if you're lucky you might get a chance to walk up the terrace which offers panoramic views across Shrewsbury and the surrounding countryside.
Older than Shrewsbury and was once the fourth largest Roman city in Britain. In fact, the people who lived in the Roman City were most probably the same people that founded our very own town.
Visitors to Wroxeter can take a tour around the fascinating ruins and the museum, take an audio tour to reveal how Wroxeter worked in its heyday.
Perfect for ambling through on a summers evening or any time of the year for that matter, The Quarry has been a popular place to visit since the Victorian era.
Believe it or not but many of the sandstone buildings you pass on your sightseeing trip are made from the stones taken from here.
These days we have the fantastic Dingle, an ornamental garden which was initially designed by Percy Thrower, the original BBC Gardener's World presenter.
It's thanks to Percy that the Quarry is now home to the Shrewsbury Flower Show which is one of the towns biggest events. For two days in August, the Shrewsbury Flower Show boasts beautiful floral arrangements, musical spectaculars and amazing food.
Let's not forget either the Shrewsbury Food Festival, which runs at the end of June, an equally magnificent event.
The Shropshire Hills dominate the landscape surrounding Shrewsbury. Some of the closest of the Shropshire Hills include Caer Caradoc which can be seen towering over Church Stretton just off the A49. Caradoc is not only one of the most beautiful of Shropshire's Hills but it's also home to an impressive Iron Age hillfort.
Take a look to the south of Shrewsbury and you'll find it hard to miss the Long Mynd, owned and managed by the National Trust.
We suggest a visit to Cardingmill Valley, as it's a perfect place to hang out on warm summer days.
Ironbridge, one of the most popular places to visit in Shropshire.
We included the Ironbridge Gorge because just like Shrewsbury, the gorge also experiences our river, Sabrina as she passes through the parish of Telford and Wrekin heading onto Herefordshire.
Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so well worth a visit if you're planning a day out of Shrewsbury.
Source: Dana Prison. Digital Image. Dana Prison Website
One of the most unusual things to do in Shrewsbury is to visit the Dana Jail.
Although it's been closed down since 2013, the Dana Jail is open for visitors to experience something rather extraordinary. Led by ex-guards you'll explore the murky history of this Georgian building while looking around the cells, hanging room and communal spaces which give an insiders look at the life of an inmate.
Theatre Severn is a modern theatre with a traditional feel where audiences can enjoy performances in drama, dance, music and comedy. Home to a 650-seat main auditorium, the venue attracts the best touring productions and companies renowned at both a national and international level.
Take a look a what's on in Shrewsbury at the theatre
A new face in the town of Shrewsbury, Albert's Shed has quickly gathered a reputation for being the place for gigs in Shrewsbury. It's smaller than the Theatre Severn but has a strong focus on supporting local musicians and touring artists who play original music in Shropshire.
Located just on the outskirts of the tow, Cineworld Shrewsbury is a multiplex cinema which shows all the current blockbuster films. It's an ideal place if you've got kids and looking for fun things to do in Shrewsbury.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Old Market Hall is an excellent one-room independent cinema owned by Theatre Severn group. Not only will you find their collation of films and movies to be refreshingly inciteful, but the building is quite something else. We recommend taking a look at the clock mechanism at the back of the cafe, it's quite a timepiece.
We also recommend looking a look beyond the norm, to find the cool and unusual things to do in Shrewsbury and discover a town with hidden stories that time forgot.
There are many great shops in Shrewsbury town centre, as well as the usual high street names there is an array of unique independent retailers that so many towns have lost or let go. Explore the quirky bookshops, antique shops and clothes shops - there’s something for everyone.
Shrewsbury's town centre is quite a marvel, with over 600 listed buildings spanning across the eras.
Shrewsbury Square is probably the most impressive area with many marvellous Tudor buildings. Their iconic black and white timber frames hark back to a time to extreme affluence at the peak of the wool trade.
As you explore the many independent stores (which outnumber chain stores 2 to 1) you'll notice lots of little passageways called 'shuts' which lead you through Shrewsbury in time traveller-like fashion to discover the town in another light.
Grope Lane is a particular favourite passageway with a seedy backstory, but these days there's something rather more magical at the end, a shop called Labyrinth, also known as the Harry Potter Store. Other notable contenders include The Blue Lemon (skincare), Tanners Wine (grog), Button & Bear (books for kids) and The Parade Shopping Centre. The latter was formerly the infermary (and has several spooky stories to tell)
Shrewsbury's award-winning market hall is home to many traders, offering fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry and fish, delicatessen, books, china, antiques, contemporary crafts and interior furnishings... to name but a few! There are also fab cafes and eateries to choose from. The market hall is very unique and is a modern, quirky take on a traditional indoor market.
You won't starve in Shrewsbury; the town has so many fine eateries you won't know where to begin. From little sandwich shops, traditional pubs, and fast-food restaurants to European bistros and traditional fine dining, Shrewsbury's Restaurants have something to suit every pallet.
If you're making a trip to Shrewsbury then you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to drink with more than 100 pubs, wine bars, cocktail bars and clubs in the town area.
Why no try one of our favourites, Albert's Pour House. Cafe and milkshake bar by day and cocktail bar at night, it's the perfect place to indulge the family, being family-friendly up until 6pm as well as dog-friendly too.
Albert's Pour House is the ideal place to visit with your pooch.