Top Ten Things to Do in Shropshire This Weekend
Hugging the border of Wales lies Shropshire, a county in England known for its rural countrysides, historical landmarks, and cozy villages. Here are our top ten things to do the next time you visit Shropshire.
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1. Explore Wenlock Priory
On the outskirts of the village of Much Wenlock you can find the ruins of a monastery initially founded in the 7th-century, Wenlock Priory. Relics from Saint Milburge were discovered when the church was rebuilt by the Cluniacs in 1101. Pilgrims and other pious spectators flocked to this site to pray and pay homage.
Although it was lavishly restored in the 14th century, now only parts of the white stone walls with its tall archways and windows remain. Still standing tall, it is easy to imagine how impressive the church once was. The lush lawns and manicured gardens are the perfect places to relax on a sunny day.
2. Visit the Remains of Lilleshall Abbey
The ruins of this 12th century Augustinian Abbey sits in the countryside outside of Telford. Once greatly prosperous, Lilleshall Abbey was forced to close when their finances soured in the 16th century. It sat empty before being besieged and almost completely destroyed during the 17th century in the civil war.
Extensive remains still stand, giving visitors an idea of its past splendor. Lavish entryways and wide window openings have held out through the ages. Entry is free and the grounds are open for exploring during most daylight hours.
3. Hike Through Hawkstone Park
The Hawkstone Follies covers 100 acres of fantasy evoking structures and offers sweeping views of the Shropshire countryside. Originally built 250 years ago, the park has been expanded and restored. Walk into caves, under tunnels, cross bridges, and climb to viewpoints- every corner is a new discovery at Hawkstone! Don’t miss the stunning Grotto Hill, rhododendron fields, and Red Castle.
Located a short drive from Weston-under-Redcastle, Hawkstone Park has a cafe where you can relax after spending hours walking.
4. Attend a Festival in the Ruins of Ludlow Castle
The towers of Ludlow Castle loom over the River Teme on a rocky promontory. These substantial ruins are from one of the first stone castles built in England. This medieval fortification was built around the year 1085 but was frequently expanded and renovated over the centuries.
Initially constructed by the Normans during the civil war to keep the Welsh out, it is now open to the public. The town of Ludlow holds festivals throughout the year on its grounds. If you're visiting in December, we rcommend you check out the Medieval Christmas Fayre. there are no festivals taking place when you visit, a walk along the river and a rest on its bright green grass is always a good idea.
5. Walk over Ironbridge
The very first cast-iron bridge was constructed in 1779 in Shropshire, setting off England’s industrial revolution. Painted a striking red, Ironbridge contrasts beautifully with the river and surrounding banks. Once a toll bridge in deteriorating condition, the bridge was extensively restored in the late 20th century. Now a UNESCO heritage site and officially publicly owned, the bridge is accessible toll-free for foot traffic only. MAke sue to visit the Ironbridge Gorge Museums to learn more about the area.
6. Boscobel House and the Royal Oak
Boscobel House was a crucial site for King Charles II’s daring escape after his defeat. He first climbed up an oak tree to escape detection and then crawled into a priest hole inside the house. After guards failed to find him, the king fled the country and eventually landed in France.
A 17th-century sprawling timber-framed hunting lodge sits on the property and is open for guided tours. In its attic, you can view the infamous tiny priest hole for yourself. A Victorian farmyard gives visitors a glimpse of how working life was in the past. Stop by the stables to be transported back in time to 1940’s England at Boscobel’s charming themed tearoom.
7. Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery
Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery has been open since 1835 but has moved locations three times. Now located in the heart of Shrewsbury in its former Music Hall, its permanent collection contains more than 30,000 pieces. They are divided into five galleries: Pre-History, Roman, Medieval, Tudor, Stuart, and The Shropshire Gallery.
Visitors are led on a history of the Shropshire through the collection and are invited to imagine its life through the ages. There is a little bit of everything here, including fossils, ancient Roman coins, fine art, and even Queen Victoria’s own stockings.
8. Eat Your Way Through a Food Festival
Foodies will be in heaven in Shropshire, which hosts several food festivals every year. Ludlow Food Festival was the first place in England to host one and it sparked a revolution. Now they have a Spring Festival in May and a 3-day festival in September. There are hundreds of food stands, live performances, and regional products to taste. Shropshire and a few other cities in the region have their own as well.
If you visit Ludlow during August, you are in for a real treat, the Magnalonga food walk is in full swing. Walk eight miles through the rolling hills and pastures of the beautiful Shropshire countryside. At stops along the way, there is local food and drink to give you the energy to keep going.
9. Blists Hill Victorian Town
Step more than a century back in time at Blists Hill Victorian Town. This 54-acre open-air museum is modeled after a real Victorian village with no modern amenities in sight. Meet “real” Victorians at work, performing music, busy in their homes, and traveling around town in carriages.
A pharmacy displays the strange and dangerous medicines prescribed in Victorian times. Get to work and head down to the clay mine, the iron forge, and see a real steam locomotive and other fully functional machinery. Artisan goods and wares are made here just as they would have been in the past. A Victorian fairground has typical games and the smell of fresh bread wafts from the bakery.
10. Walk to the Top of the Wrekin
Shropshire is a relatively flat county, so the 407-meter hill The Wrekin towers over the surrounding landscape. An important part of the region’s folklore, legend says that an angry giant made the hill himself.
The Wrekin is now a popular landmark for ramblers and hikers. Trek to the summit, where an Iron Age hill fort still remains. Stay a while and admire the breathtaking panoramic views of the nearby town of Telford and the stunning green farmlands.
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