The ancient landscape of hills, valleys, barrows, and burial grounds, not to mention remains from the Iron Age, Bronze Age, and relics from the industrial revolution make Shropshire, in my opinion, the most beautiful of the border counties. There are endless quaint and very pretty towns and villages to explore against the stunning backdrop of the Shropshire Hills Area of Natural Beauty so pack your hiking boots and get out there! Here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Shropshire…
Ludlow – a pretty market town which is one of the best places to visit in Shropshire
Boasting 500 listed buildings within its semi-intact Medieval walls Ludlow is definitely a great place to visit if you are a lover of architecture. The quaint market town is packed to the rafters with a history that can be seen layer by layer in its streets. As you stroll around and browse the bookshops and antiques you’ll come face to face with Medieval coaching inns, the splendid 11th Century Castle, perfectly maintained half-timber Tudor buildings, and the impressive Georgian town hall.
It has its own brewery and plenty of attractive historical pubs to enjoy a real ale in. Foodies must absolutely pay a visit to The Ludlow Food Hall just outside the town on the A49 for a veritable feast of local produce and the best Toasted Tea Cakes known to man!
Ironbridge – a very pretty large village in a stunning location
One of my absolute favourite towns, The historic industrial town of Ironbridge sits at the base of a rugged limestone gorge. The high street wends its way along the banks of the river Severn whilst the rest of the town is somehow cut into the steep rock face above. The town’s namesake is the spectacular arched bridge which spans the river at its heart and is the world’s oldest cast-iron bridge. This combined with its spectacular location has earned the town World Heritage status.
The ribbon of shops along the banks of the river are full of local crafts and delicacies and lead the way to Blists Hill Victorian Village and Ironbridge Gorge museum where you can learn all about the history of the area. If you’re a folkie like me you might want to time your visit so you can join one of the joyous local sessions!
Stokesay Castle – said to be the finest and best-preserved fortified medieval manor house in England
Sitting proudly in a peaceful valley very close to the Welsh border you’ll find the magnificent Stokesay Castle. One of the finest remaining medieval fortified manor houses in England. It was built in the 13th Century by local wool merchant Laurence of Ludlow as a statement of his wealth and power. Although it is fortified and has a military appearance it wouldn’t really have done very well in a siege, being always intended as a luxurious family home.
As you explore the beamed ceilings, intricate carvings, and splendid staircase you get a real sense of history, frozen and preserved within its walls. The Castle is now owned by English Heritage and you can enjoy a lovely cuppa and stock up on jams and preserves in the shop and cafe when you’ve had your fill of the past.
Titterstone Clee Hill – a wonderful beauty spot surrounded by scenic Shropshire countryside
Another wonderful beauty spot to explore in Shropshire, this is a wonderful place for walkers and hikers. This is the third-highest hill in Shropshire View which is 533 metres above sea level. It’s also located in Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Climb to the top and you’ll be rewarded with some seriously beautiful views of the scenic and unspoiled countryside. You’ll also be able to spot Brown Clee Hill which is the highest Peak in Shropshire.
Wollerton Old Hall and Gardens – home to one of the most beautiful private gardens in the country
For those green-fingered Gardner’s among you, this is a real must. Set around the old 16th Century hall, which is not open to visitors, the gardens cover four acres of land with all manner of spectacular and colourful blooms! They are the brainchild of Lesley Jenkins who moved back to her family home in the ’80s and decided that the grounds had the potential to be a real place of beauty. She designed and created 6 formal Gardens, each with their own very particular character and this is what you can visit today.
This carefully landscaped profusion of flowers and trees embraces the true ‘English Country Garden’ style and has earned plenty of awards and accolades in important gardening circles. Take a stroll around the winding pathways, gaze into the reflective ponds and breathe in the delicious sights and smells all around you whilst picking up some ideas for your own garden too, amidst the peace and perfection of this one.
Shrewsbury Castle – a historic red sandstone castle which is one of the most stunning places to explore in Shropshire
Shrewsbury Castle is a magnificent grade 1 listed building that sits just above the railway station in the beautiful county town of Shrewsbury. It is built from red sandstone and originates all the way back to 1067. It has undergone many extensions and transformations over the years as you’d expect for a building of its age and its past is rich and chequered.
It is now an ideal place to visit for military enthusiasts as it houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum which includes medals, uniforms, and other memorabilia relating to Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and Shropshire Yeomanry and tracks the evolution of the county’s military history from 1755 to the present day.
Attingham Park – a beautiful English country house and estate to explore in Shropshire
This spectacular 18th Century Mansion was designed by George Steuart and built in 1785, it is the only remaining example of his work. It is a fine illustration o the Regency period in architecture and encompasses luxurious Italianate designs such as the imposing columns over the main entranceway.
It is set in 200 acres of beautiful parkland which also boasts many Grade 2 listed constructions such as the home farm and organic walled garden. The house and grounds are now owned by The National Trust and are well worth exploring not just for their own special merits but also for the views out across the breathtaking Shropshire countryside within which they reside.
Bishops Castle – a small and pretty market town surrounded by magnificent, unspoiled hill country
Right in the middle of the AONB, about a mile and a half from the welsh border is the busy little market town of Bishops Castle…. an absolute must for lovers of real ale! The Three Tuns Brewery is the oldest in the country and features an original Victorian Miniature tower brewhouse which is still in use! Tours of the brewery can be arranged in advance for up to 12 people and the delicious real ale can be sampled in most of the local pubs!
The Vaults pub in town is also a fantastic hang out with regular live music and open mic nights! The restored 18th Century Town Hall in the centre of town also has a varied programme of markets and events throughout the year ( CoVid aside! ) There is also the House on Crutches Museum and the volunteer-run heritage centre to take a look at. The whole town is very eco-conscious with the trailblazing Wintles Eco Village on the outskirts and a conscientious attitude towards food miles, energy usage, and other green concerns.
Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd – a stunning place to begin your exploration of the beautiful Shropshire Hills
This AONB spans more than 2000 acres of the natural landscape that encompasses heather-covered hillsides, babbling brooks, and ancient hills and valleys… the jewel in the crown is the atmospheric Long Mynd….a 7-mile long hill that slopes steeply at both sides and is positively bursting with Bronze Age burial grounds, dykes, and barrows. The long Mynd Hotel is a kitsch remnant from 1900 when Edwatdians flocked for the invigorating spa waters and fresh country air.
The hill has a few literary connections too.. most notably The Shropshire Lad by A.E Housman. It can be pretty spooky as the fog descends but on a clear day, you’ll get unrivalled 360-degree views out over the breathtaking Shropshire Hills.
Wenlock Edge – a limestone escarpment which is a beautiful place to explore in Shropshire
Wenlock Edge is a stretch of countryside that runs between Craven Arms and Much Wenlock and the place holds special scientific interest because of its unusual limestone outcrops. The National Trust now owns eight miles of it and it is a great spot to head for hill walking, cycling, and also for history and wildlife.
The whole stretch is scattered with fascinating remnants of mines and quarry’s and there’s a couple of ghosts up there too! Ippikin, an erstwhile bandit of yore was said to have buried his treasure near the escarpment and if you stand on the edge and say ‘ippikin,ippikin stay away with your long chin’ his ghost will apparently appear and push you off! The ghost of Maior Thomas Smallman of Wilderhope Manor is also said to haunt the edge!
Benthall Hall – a 16th century stone country house with stunning surrounding gardens
Benthall Hall is a fabulous 500-year-old stone house and estate which is now owned by The National Trust. Inside the house you’ll find original wooden panelling and grand staircase as well as lots of information on the family history and outside you can enjoy the hidden paths through the beautiful gardens, breathe in the scent of roses and sample tasty refreshments in the cafe and tea rooms.
Visit in the spring or autumn to see the amazing crocuses collected by former tenant George Maw from all around the world!
Severn Valley Country Park and Heritage Railway – a beautiful country park to visit in Shropshire with a great attraction
The River Severn winds its way through this green and peaceful valley close to Bridgenorth. It is the perfect place to head for gentle walks, well-marked trails, and stunning vistas, and also if you are a train enthusiast! The Severn Valley Railway and Visitor Centre at Highley, a picturesque station in the middle of the Country park, is an absolute gem.
The station is serviced by a fleet of steam engines dating from 1900 to the 1940s and the experience of riding through the breathtaking valley on one of them is absolutely unmissable!
Wrekin Hill – an iconic and historic Shropshire Hill offering one of the best walks in Shropshire
The Wrekin is a famously beautiful and iconic landmark located in East Shropshire. Located five miles west of Telford, Wrekin Hill is located in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (
It’s actually a 20-acre Iron Age hillfort, once home to the Cornovii tribe. I would recommend walking to the top (which takes about an hour) and making the most of the fantastic panoramic views all around Shropshire and the Welsh hills.
Secret Hills Discovery Centre – one of the best place to visit in Shropshire for families
Run by local charity ‘Grow, Cook, Learn’ the Secret Hills Discovery Centre is at the heart of the community in Craven Arms. It is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours strolling along the meadow walks, learning about the landscape through the ages, and visiting the resident woolly mammoth.
The centre is nestled beneath the strange and beautifully formed hills and offers great views and plenty of information for the continuation of your Shropshire adventure. The award-winning cafe serves up delicious locally sourced food and drinks and provides a lovely place to stop as part of a bigger exploration of the area… plus you will be supporting a real grassroots community venture which is always a bonus in my opinion!
Offa’s Dyke Path
Offas Dyke path runs along the border counties of England and Wales for 177 miles between Chepstow and Prestatyn. It was constructed in the 8th Century by King Offa of Mercia. 28 miles and 3 sections of the path run through the Shropshire Hills AONB. The first and longest stretch goes from Knighton to the Kerry Ridgeway and takes in some of the county’s most impressive scenery along the way, this is quite a challenging stretch with some fairly strenuous climbs involved.
The section from Mellington to River Camlad is much gentler and the last Shropshire section crisscrosses over the Welsh border and includes the lovely old town of Oswestry…. a great place to stop for a pint and a pub lunch!
Wroxeter Roman City
Just south of Shrewsbury are the impressive remains of Wroxeter Roman City, once the fourth largest city in Britain and almost as large as Pompeii! English Heritage now owns the site and visitors can explore the fabulously preserved remains of the bathhouse, the reconstructed townhouse, and the Old Work, the largest piece of freestanding Roman wall in the country.
An audio tour will give you lots of fascinating information about how life was lived in the city 4000 years ago, a definite must-visit for lovers of history!
Shrewsbury Folk Festival
This is a slight cheat as who knows how 2021 will unfold but for those of you who appreciate a bit of folk music Shrewsbury Folk Festival is just about as good as you can get in my opinion! This wonderfully diverse festival happens at West Midlands Showground, just outside of Shrewsbury town, over the August bank holiday. It is 4 days of music and a celebration of everything folky! The site is host to some fantastic homegrown and international acts which also spill over in too many of the pubs in the town itself.
Kids will have a whale of a time doing crafts and learning circus skills in the kid’s area whilst adults can enjoy Cailedh in the dance tent, Morris Dancers, Clog Dancers, Musical acts both obscure and well known and take their pick from the programmed workshops in singing, songwriting, poetry and a variety of instruments. Musicians can show off their skills in impromptu sessions or organised Singarounds and open mic. Honestly the friendliest festival I have ever been to, unmissable!