Attractions and places to visit in Shropshire
Sitting on the Shropshire/ Staffordshire border just a few miles from Newport lies Aqualate Mere – a large glacial lake formed during the last ice age. For walkers, an area this beautiful is frustratingly off limits in terms of shoreline walking, but for birdwatchers, it’s something of a hidden gem !
A short stroll through delightful countryside, following the signs to the ‘Bird Hide’ will bring you to a small wooden cabin on the shores of the Mere. Complete with binoculars and a host of illustrated guides you’ll be treated to a truely unspoilt scene where birds come and go, unaffected by any human presence.
The mere is home to a large heron population, wintering wildfowl and even Ospreys. Kingfishers too a common sight – and I was reliably informed on my arrival at the cabin that I had just missed one that had settled just yards away.
There is a free car park, half or mile after Coley Bridge on the A518 from Newport to Stafford. Access to the ‘Hide’ is also free but please respect it during your visit and leave it as you found it for the enjoyment of others.
A few miles south of Bridgnorth near the village of Quatt lies Dudmaston Hall, the family home of Mr and Mrs Mark Hamilton-Russell.
The hall is a National Trust country house dating back to the 17th Century and is set within beautiful Shropshire countryside and as such is surrounded by extensive woodland walks of varying lengths and encapsulating beauty. In particular, the stroll through The Dingle towards The Big Pool is simply enchanting…and the view breathtaking once you reach it.
The hall is open Sunday – Thursdays with tickets to the hall and grounds available to purchase at the entrance. A limited number of walking trails (yet still wonderfully scenic) may be open on Friday’s & Saturday’s.
The Orchard tea-room provides everything from hot lunches and sandwiches to cream teas. Plus the kitchen garden supplies the tea-room with fresh produce throughout the season – so check our daily specials for a fantastic local dish.
The Adventure play area allows children to burn off any excess energy whilst parents recharge their own, sitting close by with a cup of tea and slice of cake.
The stable courtyard is home to Hall’s own shop, and alongside the many things for the garden you can buy, specialises in gifts for the ladies.
During the local school holidays there are trails and craft activity days every Monday and Wednesday.
For information on prices or to arrange a guided tour, please see the National Trust website for more details:
Blists Hill, Ironbridge provides a great family day out, and lets you experience what Victorian life was like in a specially recreated old Victorian town.
Why not shop for traditional Victorian produce, sample authentic fish and chips or simply spend your shillings in the ‘Old Favourites’ Sweetshop. You’ll also meet Victorian characters as they go about their daily lives and can give you insight into their way of life over 100 years ago.
There’s much for the children to enjoy, have fun in the Victorian Fairground* or meet the animals and enjoy a journey around the town on a horse and cart.
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Watch traditional craftmanship at work, including candle making, decorative plasterers and of course the Blast Furnaces.
For more information, visit their website: http://www.ironbridge.org.uk/our-attractions/blists-hill-victorian-town/
*Fairground open during summer months.
Opened in April 2008 and now employing 35 people, Battlefield 1403 is a range of traditional farm buildings on the Albrighton Estate.
Here you’ll find a range of locally produced foods at the farm shop and butchery, plus there’s a cafe, battlefield exhibition and falconry centre.
The beef and lamb is reared here on the farm, and when there is a gap in supply it is sourced from local farmers who rear meat that is as similar as possible to our own. In the summer months, the cattle and sheep can be seen up close, grazing in paddocks surrounding the buildings.
In the farm shop, you’ll find a range of excellent foods which are sourced locally. They have low food miles, full traceability and great taste. Seasonality, freshness and high standards of production are important to us.
Hot food at Sparrow’s Cafe is available until 4.30pm everyday (Sundays 3.30pm) but for refreshments, the café is open a little longer. A new menu is provided at different times of the year to utilise seasonal produce but the firm favourites such as Battlefield Beef and Shropshire Ale Pie, are always available! These changes in menu are also reflected in the range of ready meals prepared for sale in the shop. Most of the seating area is easily accessible by wheelchair but we suggest you call us to book a table should you require one on the ground floor. Otherwise there is no need to book unless your party is of more than ten people.
The Battlefield Deli was launched September 2010 and has since built a strong reputation for selling both locally produced cheeses and charcuterie, and others from further afield. In fact it was listed in the Independent newspapers’ top 50 Best Delicatessens supplement (26/02/11).
A falconry centre is also on site (open 7 days a week) where children can meet Barn Owls, European Eagle Owls, a Steppe Eagle, Harris Hawks, and much much more. Entry is £4.00 for adults and £2.00 for children. You can also buy a family ticket (2 Adults and 2 Children) for £10.00.
With events throughout the year, Battlefield 1403 provides a relaxed & popular visitor destination where everyone feels welcome.
OPENING HOURS: Monday to Saturday: 9:30am – 5:30pm Sunday: 10am – 4pm Admission: Free Of Charge
LOCATION: We’re located just off the A49 at Hall’s roundabout just north of Shrewsbury SY4 3DB
For more information, visit: www.battlefield1403.com
Lilleshall Abbey was an Augustinian abbey founded between 1145 and 1148. For centuries it was recognised as a place of esteemed worship, and in some cases, even burial.
The monastic life at Lilleshall Abbey was funded by a land and other properties that were located locally, esepcially during the first 100 years of it exhistance. Other examples can be found all across Shropshire, including Haughmond, Shrewsbury, Uckington, Wroxeter and Tong.
It’s well worth a visit if staying locally. It offers an incredible sense of tranquility which is hard to find in 21st century Britain – an overwhelming sense perhaps for some with a number of stories of ghostly abberations. The occasional cow could well be your only companion on the adjacent farm track, in an otherwise totally rural and picturesque setting. On a summers day, it is a most delightful place for a moment of contemplation.
The property is cared for by The English Heriatge and it’s free to visit with opening times from 10am during Spring and Summer. Parking is limited, but then that’s the beauty of the place, as you’ll probably have it all to your own.
For more information, visit the English Heritage website: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/lilleshall-abbey/
Little known Haughmond Hill is a popular little walk with locals and unlike many hills anywhere in the country, is wheelchair friendly and suitable for the elderly too. It’s mainly forested across it’s flat, broad summit and there is little or no gradient. There is a choice of bike, horse and walking trails of varying lengths and the shortest trail of all being finely graveled which is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
All routes eventually reward you with a most stunning view point that reaches across Shrewsbury, to the Shropshire Hills and north towards the Berwyn Mountains near Llangollen. On a clear day, it is possible to pick out a number of peaks in the Snowdonia National Park too.
Discover and learn as a number of examples of rock and their prehistoric origins which are marked along your route and a view across the operational quarry is quite an eye-opener.
A small café with picnic benches and WC are available at the start of the walk. Parking is currently £1 all day, payable at a meter.
Boscobel House, on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border was built in 1632, and converted from a farmhouse into a hunting lodge by John Giffard of Whiteladies. Giffard himself a Roman Catholic, Boscobel served as a place of shelter for other Roman Catholics (at a time when the religion was much persecuted)..
Following the death through execution of King Charles I in 1649, his eldest son Charles failed in an attempt to regain the throne. Young Charles was forced to flee for his life following defeat in the final conflict of The Cival War at Worcester.
The future King Charles II originally attempted to cross the River Severn into Wales, but found Cromwell’s patrols blocking his way. He sought refuge instead at Boscobel, hiding first in a tree which is now known as The Royal Oak and then spending the night in a priest-hole in the house’s attic. He travelled on in disguise via other safe houses before escaping to France.
Boscobel remained a working farm and visitors today can also see the dairy, farmyard, smithy, gardens, and a descendant of The Royal Oak tree. White Ladies Priory, now a ruin, another of Charles’s hiding places, is a short walk away and set in peaceful Shropshire countryside.
Check website for prices and opening times
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With Shropshire packed full of places of historical interest, market towns and wonderful countryside, it’s can be easy to forget that sometimes the kids need a little treat themselves. So a family attraction that will satisfy the hearts and minds of both parents and children can only be a bonus.
Rays Farm is a family attraction set in the beautiful Shropshire countryside, just outside Bridgnorth. Here you can meet a wide variety of animals and birds whilst everyone will enjoy exploring the myriad of winding woodland pathways in ancient woodland.
There are many breeds of deer that the children can feed including reindeer which is always a treat at Christmas time. There’s a coffee shop that is open all day for freshly prepared refreshments and a children’s play area too.
Who you will meet on the farm:
• A friendly herd of Pygmy Goats
• Ponies and Donkeys
• Red Squirrels
• Ducks, Geese and Chickens
• Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
• Many breeds of Deer, including Reindeer
• The largest privately owned Owl collection in Shropshire
• Wood sculptures of Nursery rhyme characters
• Pigs, Sheep, and Alpaca
• Woodland walks (8 acres)
• Children’s & separate toddler play areas
• Wild bird viewing hide
Opening Dates and Times 2013
February – Open weekends and school holidays 10am-5.30pm
1st March to 3th November – Open every day 10am-5.30pm
From 4th November – Closed
December – Father Christmas pre-booked visits only
January – Closed
Admission Charges 2013
Adults – £8.50 Concessions – £8.00 Children (2-16 years) – £6.95 Under 2 years old – Free
Season Tickets valid from February to October available: £34 per Adult and £27.80 per Child.
• Paths are steep in places
• Sorry no dogs allowed except guide dogs
• Free coach and car parking
• Facilities for the Disabled (woodland paths not suitable for wheelchairs)
Address & Contact Details
For more information and to prebook season and Christmas tickets, please call: Tel: 01299 841255
Ray’s Farm Country Matters, Billingsley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire WV16 6PF
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Nestled in delightful Shropshire countryside, Wroxeter Vineyard was planted in 1991 adjacent to the Roman City of Uriconium (Wroxeter). Born from the inspiration of David Millington, the farmers son, the Vineyard is part of Glebe Farm which has been in the family for over 60 years.
The Vineyard produces award winning wines of many varieties including, Regner, Madeleine Angevine, Reichenstiener and Dornfelder. More recently, other varieties, such as Phoenix, Rondo, Regent and Solaris have been successfully introduced and further complitnent the outstanding portfolio of wines here.
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The Millington family now live on site and provide fascinating tours of the Vineyard, with insight into the wines, what the Romans had to do with it and of course, a little tasting of these superb Shropshire wines.
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A unique experience and one for lovers of fine wine to truly saviour.
To book your tour of for a little more information, please visit the Wroxeter Vineyard website: www.wroxetervineyard.co.uk
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Unspoilt and secluded, Stokesay Court is still a lived-in, private home and open exclusively for pre-booked guided tours, which provide a unique opportunity to see a virtually untouched Late Victorian mansion interior. Set in stunning countryside just outside Ludlow with wide ranging views, the house is a rare, architecturally intact, survival. The oak carved galleried hall and the intricate crafted detailing throughout are particularly noteworthy.
Stokesay Court was the location for the film “Atonement” and the specially commissioned decor and artefacts from the film are on display throughout the house and gardens. A guided tour includes behind-the-scenes insight to the filming of ‘Atonement’.
Pre-booked guided house tours are available on selected dates or by appointment (for groups). GROUP BOOKINGS can be arranged up to two weeks in advance of the visit and can be scheduled to start at any time from 10 am through to 3.30pm. Guided tours start at 14:30. Individual places must be pre-booked (01584 856238) and cost £15.50 per head. Pre-booked tickets include guided house tour, tea with home baked cakes and gardens. Further information and tour dates for individual bookings can be found on our website (see below).
Visitors are welcome to explore the grounds following the tour. We regret that tours are not suitable for young children.
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At Maws Craft Centre you’ll find over 20 independent craft shops all residing in a beautifully refurbished Victorian factory. If looking for something for the home or simply just browsing, there’s a shop for everyone it seems. There’s much to admire with many stores producing hand crafted goods – some of which you can watch being made on site.
Located between Coalport China Museum and the Tile Museum and just 1.5miles from Ironbridge. Visitors are provided with plenty of free parking. There is no admission fee either.
Relax and refuel in the Courtyard tea Room, where a variety of traditional tea room snacks are on offer. There’s also free Wi-Fi too.
The large courtyard also hosts events throughout the year and a variety of craft sessions, from card making to children’s ballet are also provided throughout the week. Check their website for more details.
The Centre is open 7 days a week (individual shops may vary).
Ferry Road, Jackfield, Telford, Shropshire TF8 7LS
If you care about your food and want the best, locally sourced produce, you can’t beat a trip to Ludlow Food Centre where over 80% of produce is sourced from Shropshire and surrounding counties.
Much of the produce is sourced from the estate itself, including a selection of vegetables, beef, lamb, and a rare breed Gloucester Old Spot pork.
Situated within the grounds of the Earl of Plymoth’s Oakly Park Estate in Bromfield, just a few miles from Ludlow, the centre provides a unique shopping experience.
The unique layout within the centre enables visitors to watch as food is prepared. Over half of all the produce on sale here has been prepared on site by hand, giving you the freshest food, from season to season.
The newly opened Ludlow Kitchen is a cafe and restaurant serving seasonal menus throughout the year with dishes create from produce made in the Food Centre.
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Open 7 days a week, with dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.
Ludlow Food Centre is situated on the A49, two miles north of Ludlow.
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Nearly a 1000 years old, it was originally a Norman fortress built to hold back the unconquered Welsh. Over the next 200 years the castle was extended to provide a Royal Palace – and heavily guarded one at that. The centuries passed and the castles ownership switched between the de Lacy and Mortimer families. In 1461 it fell under Crown ownership and remained a royal castle for the next 350 years. The castle was abandoned in 1689.
During the next few hundred years the castle had fallen into ruin, but in 1811, Ludlow Castle was bought by the 2nd Earl of Powis and has remained in their ownership ever since. Through their careful conservation the castle decline has been prevented and is now a wonderful visitor attraction which provides many events throughout the year.
A visit to Ludlow Castle is a step back in time. Here you can watch a jousting spectacular or watch knights battle it out in armed combat. For something a little more serene, perhaps try your hand at a little archery, watch the birds of prey or partake in crafts and dressing up sessions. Check their website, www.ludlowcastle.com, for the Events Calendar and prices.
Of course, you can also take a tour of the castle at your leisure or follow one of the guided tours. With seasonal festivals and fayres held throughout the year, there’s always plenty going on at Ludlow Castle. During September, the Ludlow Food Festival is held and is renowned for it’s quality offerings. Wonderful food and drink and fun for all the family.
“Everything a British food event should be….unbeatable location. It’s also huge fun – I wouldn’t miss it” BBC Good Food Magazine
All in all, whilst enjoying your holiday in Shropshire, a visit to Ludlow Castle is highly recommended.
For cottages in Ludlow and the surrounding area, browse our Ludlow Holiday Cottages
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Weston Park is a country house in Weston-under-Lizard on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border. Set in more than 1,000 acres of park landscaped by Capability Brown, it is the former ancestral home of the Earl’s of Bradford.
There are the delightful formal gardens and a variety of woodland walks. Children will also love the miniature railway and Woodland Adventure Playground.
In the house itself, there are guided tours and free flowing tours. An internationally acclaimed art collection is on display. For the children, the indoor activity room has a wide range of activities from dressing up, board games and a traverse climbing wall for kids to practice their mountaineering skills.
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Food lovers are spoiled with local produce and home cooked meals, from light bites in the Deli to lunch or dinner in the Granary Grill.
For those looking for something a little bit special, The Temple of Diana at Weston Park can be booked for an exclusive holiday or short break.
For information on forthcoming events and opening times, please visit the Weston Park website.
More than just a hill, it is a collection of many hills and batches, stretching for over 7 miles in length. It is this length from which the name derives. It has a part English, part Welsh name ‘The Long Mynd’ or to give it it’s full english translation, ‘The Long Mountain’. It is usually referred to locally as ‘The Mynd’.
Most of The Long Mynd is Natural Trust owned and thus it can be explored to your hearts content. Many trails criss cross its slopes providing walks from the leisurely to the more strenous.
The Mynd lies between other hills of note, including Wenlock Edge and the Stretton Hills to the east including the ever popular Caer Caradoc. On it’s Western side the nearby Stiperstones are within reach of a days walk.
The summit of the Long Mynd (a Marilyn) is not always a straight forward find, but hill baggers will note it’s high point of Pole Bank on a OS map. The 516 m (1,693 ft) summit boasts views far into Wales, and even Snowdonia can be seen on a clear day. Views east stretch past The Stretton Hills and Clee Hills, The Wrekin and to the West Midlands further beyond. To the south, The Clun Forest and the hills around Ludlow and the Black Mountain further south. To the north, the Cheshire plains and the Berwyn Mountains. Whichever way you look, you’ll be treated to a far reaching panormama.
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Pretty villages and hamlets are dotted along it’s length, with Church Stretton and Craven Arms amongst the larger. Little Stretton (south of Church Stretton) and All Stretton (north) provide great bases for both town and hill. For those looking for something a little more remote, Ratlinghope, Bridges, Pulverbatch, Smethcott & Wentnor provide a true escape from the crowds.
For cottages near the Lond Mynd, Church Stretton and the surrounding area, browse our Church Stretton Holiday Cottages
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The Severn Valley Railway provides a wonderful throw back to a bygone era. This heritage steam train and diesel service operates scenic journeys through delightful Shropshire and Worcester countryside.
There are services running from Bridgnorth in Shropshire and Kidderminster and Bewdley in Worcestershire. Predominantly a steam-hauled passenger train service, the journey takes you along a 16 mile journey through the charming Severn Valley and alongside the River Severn.
Trains run most weekends throughout the year and daily from May to September. The Railway also operates during all local school holidays including Christmas time, where children can take a step back in time on a magical journey to visit Santa’s grotto. The SVR also arranges a variety of special events throughout the year.
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.One of the most popular is the 1940s themed weekends. Plus the rail enthusiasts are catered for with a number of speicla events.
Visit The Engine House Visitor Centre at Highley. Here you can view an exhibition of steam locomotives, browse the gift shop or relax and dine in the restaurant and gaze at the lovely views across the valley.
Tickets can be booked in advance online or by phone – often with discounts available. You can purchase tickets on the day of your visit also, although it’s best to book in advance to avoid disappointment. It starting your journey at Bridgnorth, we suggest booking the ‘Freedom of the Line’ Bridgnorth to Kidderminster ticket – as they offer free admission to the Visitor Centre at Highley in Shropshire.
Visit The Severn Valley Railway website for more information on dates and timetables.
For Ironbridge, tucked away in a pretty wooded gorge, is a World Heritage Site and thus recognised globally as a site of huge historic interest.
Three hundred years ago, one Abraham Darby perfected the use of coke to produce iron on a mass scale and with it the birth of the industrial revolution. Ironmasters populated the area and with the ever increasing need to cross the river Severn, a bridge was devised. However, this was no normal bridge…
Thomas Farnolls Pritchard wrote to a Broseley ironmaster, John Wilkinson, and suggested a feat never once thought possible, a bridge built entirely of iron, spanning the river Severn. After just one month into the ground breaking project, Pritchard sadly died. The work passed to Abraham Darby III, grandson of the original iron producing pioneer. The bridge, the world’s first iron bridge, was cast at his foundry in neighboring Coalbrookdale and history was made.
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Ironbridge today is quite the opposite experience from that of our predecessors. Gone are the chimneys, gone are the foundries and gone are the soot filled skies. Today, Ironbridge is a delightful collection of pretty woodland trails, hillside cottages, cafes, inns, museums and gift shops. The gorge itself has been taken back under mother nature’s wing, providing the most picturesque of settings on the banks of the river Severn – all framed by the original, Iron Bridge.
For events, museum prices and further information, visit www.visitironbridge.co.uk
For cottages in Ironbridge and surrounding areas, see our Ironbridge Holiday Cottages.
Take a magical journey through a fantasy land of enchanted woodland, cliff edges, ravines and bridges. Discover tunnels and explore the caves high on Grotto Hill where you can enjoy distant views to the mountains of Wales.
This magical landscape, an 18th century Romantic Movement garden, was lovingly restored and reopened in 1993 and provides visitors with a unique outdoor experience.
The parkland is set in 100 acres and was voted ‘2003 Adventure of the Year’ by the Good Britain Guide. Exploring the Follies takes between 2-3 hours, making it the Get iPhone Out of Recovery Mode perfect visitor attraction should the weather restrict you to just a morning or afternoon outdoors. Combined with family events at the weekends, a full, fun packed day is guaranteed.
Hawkstone Park Follies, Weston-under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY4 5JY
Visit their website for more information
Attingham Park is an elegant 18th century mansion set in an extensive deer park. It’s just a few miles east of Shrewsbury near the village of Atcham.
Now managed by the National Trust, it offers miles of beautiful walks, through the grounds, woodland and walled gardens. Overlooked by The Wrekin, the deer park provides a safe environment for the 180 semi-wild deer and thus plenty of photo opportunities.
Built for Lord Berwick in 1785, it remained in ownership by the family for more than 160 years. Whilst some of the wealthy family owners heaped opulence on their majestic home, others struggled to maintain the grandeur and neglection set in. It all provides a fascinating story.
The mansion, which is at the heart of the 640 acre estate, includes the impressive gallery and Dining Room, already set for an evening banquet of the highest order. Take a tour of the Boom Beach Apk download mansion and see the delicate decorative scheme in the Boudoir, which has recently been revealed. Renovation of the mansion continues to this day, and restoration of the precious Nash Roof can now be seen, also on the tour.
Visit the walled garden and see the fruit and vegetables growing that can be sampled in the restaurant and tea rooms or simply buy some to take home.
There’s a large outdoor play park area for children, with plenty of space to play, even on the busiest of days.
There’s the cafe and shop and plenty of picnic spots across the estate. Attingham Park is also wheelchair and family friendly, with facilities provided for both.
For more information, see the Attingham Park page on the National Trust website.
For cottages in Shrewsbury and the surrounding villages, browse our Shrewsbury Holiday Cottages.