Shrewsbury is a hidden gem in the heart of England that many tourists overlook when visiting the country. It is a charming, quaint, and picturesque medieval town full of history and culture. There’s a lot of architecture in the town that remains intact from different eras in England’s colourful past, and the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain, runs through Shrewsbury, so the town is surrounded by natural beauty and popular parks such as the Dingle and the Quarry. This really is a fascinating place where you can immerse yourself in living history, but there are also plenty of bars and restaurants everyone can enjoy. Do come and visit, you won’t be sorry!
What’s the best time to visit Shrewsbury, England?
June to August are the busier tourist months for Shrewsbury compared to the rest of the year. This is because the weather is usually at its best during this period, although this is Britain, so you can never be too sure. Temperatures can sometimes go above 30 degrees Celsius, but generally, summers in Shrewsbury are the best time to visit.
The winter months on the other hand are not so pleasant, and spring and autumn can be quite beautiful times to visit.
But the summer is when Shrewsbury is at its liveliest, with several events taking place such as the Shrewsbury Flower Show. This is the longest-running flower show in the world! It is held annually every August, and features live music as well as food and drink stalls.
The Shrewsbury Folk Festival is also held in August and is the prominent event that Shrewsbury hosts, with numerous local and international artists performing.
If you’re a foodie then you’ll want to head to Shrewsbury in June, when the Shrewsbury Food Festival occurs, featuring a lot of food street vendors selling a huge variety of food to try.
A few facts about Shrewsbury
Here are a few interesting facts about Shrewsbury that may surprise you:
Shrewsbury is the birthplace of Charles Darwin, the world-famous naturalist who shaped our knowledge of modern-day evolution thanks to his theory of natural selection.
Another interesting fact about Shrewsbury is that it is one of the most haunted towns in the UK! As a result, ghost tours are hugely popular, especially the Original Ghost Walk of Shrewsbury. On this tour you’ll be led by a costumed guide through Shrewsbury’s cobbled streets, visiting haunted locations throughout the town.
Another famous attraction in Shrewsbury is Shrewsbury Prison, which was built back in 1793. Nowadays it’s a top attraction offering guided tours that give a fascinating insight into what life was like behind bars in this old setting.
One Day in Shrewsbury Itinerary:
You are about to spend a day in what can be regarded as a quintessentially English town. Medieval history, cobbled streets, plenty of fascinating architecture and much more awaits! So, follow this itinerary and find the top things to do and see in Shrewsbury, England.
To start your day in Shrewsbury, why not visit Ginger and Co coffee shop for a spot of breakfast? It’s often voted as one of the best places in Shrewsbury for a coffee or breakfast meal, and it’s ideally located in the centre of the town. The place has a really good breakfast menu, especially their American-style pancakes
If you’re coming from the train station then it’s only a 10-minute walk away, and you’ll pass the famous Charles Darwin statue outside of the Shrewsbury Library, which is a great photo opportunity.
You’ll also walk through the charming medieval old town on your way, and you can admire Shrewsbury Square, which is the heart of the town and dates back to the 16th century.
After breakfast, you can pay a visit to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery which is just a few blocks down on the same street.
This is the best museum and art gallery in the whole county of Shropshire and features the remarkable research undertaken by Charles Darwin, including plenty of artefacts, exhibits, and specimens of animals and plants that he collected on his famous voyage on HMS Beagle.
The museum has a lot of other featured collections and exhibitions, so allow yourself plenty of time to get the most out of your visit there. And entry is completely free!
Moving on with your itinerary, you can head through the town and cross the ‘English Bridge’, which has stood since 1774, and admire the scenic river views. Not too far after crossing the bridge, you’ll come to one of Shrewsbury’s most famous landmarks: Shrewsbury Abbey.
A visit to Shrewsbury Abbey is a great way to spend an hour or so. Marvel at the impressive exterior and interior of this building which is over several centuries old. Inside, the Abbey features a Norman Crypt and huge stained glass windows that are things of beauty.
By now, you‘ll probably be a bit peckish. Fortunately, there are some great options in town for lunch.
Just around the corner from the museum you visited earlier is Shrewsbury Market Hall. This lively indoor market has existed since the Victorian age, and here you’ll find a whole host of vendors selling unusual antiques, as well as many cafes offering various dishes. Ideal for brunch or a quick lunch!
However, very close to the Abbey is The Peach Tree restaurant. This is a top-rated restaurant with a fantastic fusion menu, located in a 15th-century building with wonderful timber decor.
The Peach Tree and the Market Hall are just a few minutes walk apart, so feel free to choose whichever you like best. It won’t disturb any of your plans for today!
A bit of exercise may be in order following lunch, and as you will be right next to the River Severn then you can easily go for a stroll alongside the river, taking in all of the natural beauty it has to offer or take a stroll through popular parks such as the Quarry and the Dingle Garden.
It’s a great way to just take a moment and enjoy the fact that you are here, in the heart of England. But the parks themselves are exquisitely beautiful, and just walking through them will be a great pleasure. It’s everything you would expect from English gardens and more!
No visit to Shrewsbury would be complete without visiting one of its main attractions; Shrewsbury Castle. It’s situated just a fifteen-minute walk from Shrewsbury Abbey in the heart of the town. It stands on a hill overseeing the River Severn and dates back to 1070 and is a very impressive site.
Similar to Shrewsbury Museum and the Abbey, the castle grounds are free to enter. However, there is also a museum here containing military uniforms, equipment, and medals. For this, a small fee will be required. Either way, visiting this castle is a must when it comes to things to do in Shrewsbury.
After enjoying the sights of Shrewsbury on this walking tour, it’s time to sit back and relax and enjoy a cruise along the river! There are daily riverboat cruises that are held on the River Severn as well, which would make for a perfect afternoon treat.
This is a fantastic way to see more of the iconic landmarks of Shrewsbury, such as the Welsh Bridge (which has stood since 1795), the magnificent Shrewsbury Castle, and a statue of Hercules that has stood for over 200 years!
Why not end your day in Shrewsbury by visiting one of the many top restaurants that Shrewsbury has available? Casa Naranjo is a Spanish tapas restaurant set in a really beautiful tavern building. This wonderful restaurant can be tricky to find as it is hidden away.
It’s located on Barrack’s Passage, which is a left turn off of Wyle Cop just before the Lion Hotel. It’s worth finding though as the food is spectacular and it has glowing reviews! It’s open from 5 pm until 9 pm Monday to Friday.
And if you still have some stamina left after a great meal, why not end the night by visiting one of Shrewsbury’s many great cocktail bars? You’ll be in the perfect location coming from Casa Naranjo, as there are several options in very close proximity.
Less than a minute’s walk away is Henry Tudor House, a lovely restaurant and bar set in a half-timbered, 15th-century Tudor building. Other popular bars close by include House of Grain, which has an amazing lineup of craft beers and is always very busy. And just down the street from House of Grain is Hop & Friar, a traditional English pub if ever there was one!
Where to stay in Shrewsbury, England?
St Julians Friars, Shrewsbury, SY1 1XL
Darwin’s Townhouse is a wonderful boutique bed and breakfast situated right next to the River Severn. It’s also listed as a Grade II Georgian townhouse, so you know you’re in for something special! The place is located close to the town center and most of the main sights, plus they serve an incredible breakfast every morning. Beautiful and comfortable rooms make sure you get plenty of rest, so there’s nothing you will lack here in any way. A wonderful place to stay!
Lion & Pheasant Hotel
Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, SY1 1XJ
Located in a 16th-century building, Lion & Pheasant Hotel will awe you as soon as you step through its door. The breakfast hall is beautiful, and the food served there will delight your taste buds. All rooms are quite comfortable and come with free toiletries, plus the location of the hotel is excellent, close to many restaurants and sights. The hotel certainly gives you a sense of history, but without withholding any of the modern amenities.
Upper Eyton Farmhouse B&B
Upper Eyton Alberbury, Shrewsbury, SY5 9AB
If you don’t mind staying a bit outside of Shrewsbury, do consider Upper Eyton Farmhouse B&B. The location is incredibly relaxing and quiet, and the farmhouse itself is incredibly charming. Of course, a great breakfast will always be waiting for you, and the rooms are all very cozy and comfortable. It’s an ideal place if you want to take in the beautiful English countryside, and the people running the place always make sure you have everything you need.
Abbots Mead Hotel
St Julians Friars, Shrewsbury, SY1 1XL
If you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodation in Shrewsbury, try Abbots Mead Hotel. You will be staying in a Georgian townhouse right in the town’s center here, and the rooms are quite spacious and comfortable. Full English breakfast is on the menu every morning here, and it is quite delicious. Mind you, this is a family-owned hotel, so you will enjoy a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
Day trips from Shrewsbury
Should you be spending more than one day in Shrewsbury, some very interesting day trip options will open up for you. Thanks to the town’s location, you can easily move around and reach some very interesting places. Here are a few suggestions you will not want to miss.
Just half an hour away from Shrewsbury is Ironbridge, the birthplace of the industrial revolution. So, this place is historically quite significant, but the scenery here is quite beautiful, too. The amazing Blists Hill Victorian town will show you exactly how towns from that era functioned, with excellent actors bringing the whole thing to another level.
Ironbridge gets its name from the first cast iron bridge ever built, which is why it’s a World Heritage Site today. Go and see the bridge if at all possible!
If you’re looking for a good day trip while visiting Shrewsbury then why not visit Attingham Park? It is only a 15-minute drive outside of Shrewsbury and is a historical estate surrounded by gardens and a large woodland area.
This is the perfect place to escape to the countryside and enjoy a peaceful hike. The place features a deer park too, so it is more than likely you will see some stunning nature when visiting. A lot of events are held here throughout the year, including outdoor concerts, family-oriented activities, and workshops.
Should you want to experience a big English city, then Birmingham is the perfect choice. The second-largest city in the UK is about an hour by train from Shrewsbury.
One day in Birmingham will offer an exciting, busy day. Visit the famous shopping centre called the Bullring, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, a cool chocolate factory (Cadbury World), and a Sea Life Centre. Plenty to do and enjoy, and you will surely have a memorable day.
Now, Ludlow Castle is a castle dating back to the age of Normans, which only adds to its allure. It was unfortunately abandoned in the late 17th century, but today it hosts several events every year.
The castle is at its most beautiful during fall, when the surrounding trees start changing colours and, in combination with the surrounding houses and cottages, give the whole place a very fairytale feeling. Visiting Ludlow will therefore be a very relaxed and easygoing day trip from Shrewsbury during which you will get to explore another fascinating English town.
Extra tips for visiting Shrewsbury
- It’s super easy to travel to Shrewsbury either by car or public transport, thanks to its central location. The train is probably your best option; if you are travelling from London then it’ll usually take around 3 hours but will pass through Birmingham on the way if you want to visit both places.
- Shrewsbury is generally considered a safe town to visit, it has a lower crime rate than the national average and the people are very friendly.
- Most people would usually only consider visiting Shrewsbury for one day, but a weekend trip would allow more time to visit all the fascinating places and activities that it has to offer.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.
Mark is based in Wolverhampton in the UK and is a self-confessed travel addict! He has visited over 40 countries so far, prefers solo travel to group travel and these days is focusing his attention on his travel blog site: www.solotravelman.com, which focuses on travel hacks for solo travellers.