When you’re staying with us at Lion Quays, take a day (or two) to explore the beautiful old market town of Shrewsbury.
Our county town is in a pretty location on the banks of the Severn, at a point where the river forms a protective loop. This defensive position may explain why so many of Shrewsbury’s old buildings survive – there are over 600 listed buildings. You can explore its old streets and “shuts” (little passageways), finding plenty of places to shop, eat and drink as you go.
Here are our suggestions for your day out in Shrewsbury.
Let’s start with a stroll around the town itself. The historic centre of Shrewsbury is bustling with a blend of independent and high street shops. Look up as you walk around to really appreciate the architectural details in the stonework and timbers of the listed buildings. Book lunch at the half-timbered Henry Tudor House or visit the market hall to pick up a picnic for your next stop…
This lovely riverside park was landscaped in the eighteenth-century, on land that was previously a medieval stone quarry. You can meander along its paths, enjoy the formal gardens, or simply find a pretty picnic spot by the Severn. The 29-acre park hosts many of Shrewsbury’s events – have a look to see what’s on at The Quarry when you’re in the area.
The Severn is such a part of Shrewsbury that a boat trip is a must. Take a cruise on board the Sabrina, a triple-deck boat that’s named after the river goddess. There are regular day cruises during the season, as well as evening and specialist tours. We’d recommend booking any of the cruises in advance.
Shrewsbury Castle stands on a hill above the town. It was (mostly) built by Edward I around 1300, as part of his campaign to subdue the Welsh, on the site of an older Norman fortress. It was restored by famous engineer Thomas Telford in the 1780s, and the distinctive red sandstone fort now houses the town’s regimental museum. Visitors are welcome to walk around the grounds free of charge.
Shrewsbury Museum And Art Gallery
If you want to find out more about the town’s turbulent history (border settlements never have it easy), spend some time in Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. The museum was established in 1835, and recently found a new home in a fabulous former Victorian music hall. The archaeological collection is superb, and includes the famous Roman “Shrewsbury Hoard”.
The Cathedral And Other Churches
Shrewsbury has some wonderful places of worship, including the eleventh-century Abbey and the Victorian Roman Catholic Cathedral. Visit the (now redundant) medieval church of St Mary the Virgin for the spectacular stained glass (and the café…).
For a day out with a difference, book at a tour at Dana Prison. There was a prison on this site from the Middle Ages until 2013, and when it closed, Jailhouse Tours converted it into a visitor centre. As well as tours, there are haunted events, archery, escape rooms and a kids’ soft play centre – it’s a surprisingly family-friendly venue. It’s currently undergoing renovation work (summer 2019) but is remaining open.
Attingham Park (NT)
After a day exploring Shrewsbury, take some time to get to know the surrounding area. National Trust-run Attingham Park is a good place to start. The 200-acre park is open all year (except Christmas Day), and is home to a herd of around 180 deer. You can also visit the Georgian house and its formal gardens (closed over the winter) – and as a bonus, there are two inviting National Trust tearooms…
Battlefield Falconry Centre
Battlefield Falconry Centre, just outside Shrewsbury, is home to around 30 birds of prey (and a macaw). The centre is open to visitors; however, we’d recommend booking one of their bird experiences. The Hawk Walk is simply incredible, as you head out into the woods with a bird and a falconer.
Wroxeter Roman City
Learn about urban Romano-British life at Wroxeter Roman City near Shrewsbury. Named Viriconium by its Roman occupants, Wroxter was the fourth largest Roman city in Britain. The remains of the bath house are especially fascinating, and there’s also a reconstructed town house and an exhibition.
It takes just over half an hour to drive to Shrewsbury from Oswestry; and as you can see, there’s plenty to see and do in and around the lovely old town.
If you’d like to know more about Shrewsbury and Shropshire, please just ask us at Lion Quays. We’re full of local tips and insider knowledge!