Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > West Midlands (region) > Shropshire > Shrewsbury (England)
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire in England. It is a very traditional market town, with a lot of mediaeval architecture and feel to the town. Historically, Shrewsbury was a vital town in the wool trade with Wales. Due to its extremely good strategic geography, it was used as a garrison town and was part of the "Ring of Iron" of Edward Longshanks. It was the birthplace of naturalist Charles Darwin.
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, which is a large and rural county in what is known as the Welsh Marches. The border with Wales is only 9 miles away and there is considerable Welsh influence in the county. As Shrewsbury is the largest town anywhere near most parts of Mid Wales, you may hear Welsh spoken in the streets by some shoppers and daytrippers from over the border. The town even has a Welsh name - Amwythig - and many other towns in Shropshire have Welsh names as well as their English ones.
The correct pronunciation of the town's English name is subject to considerable debate, with some advocating "Shrooze-bury", and others preferring "Shroze-bury".
The population of the town is now just over 70,000. It is not the largest town in Shropshire - that is Telford.
There are frequent trains from London Euston to Birmingham where there are connections to Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury's railway station is a large, imposing, Victorian building, opened in 1848. It is located on Castle Gates, right next to the castle, just north of the town centre, within easy walking distance of the town centre, shops and many of the town's attractions. Shrewsbury acts as an interchange for many rail lines, including the beautiful Heart of Wales line and Cambrian Coastal line and Shrewsbury is easily reached by rail from most of England and Wales. There are frequent services to Manchester, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Crewe, and other services to Chester, Wrexham Aberystwyth, Swansea, Pwllheli, and Cardiff.
The famous Heart of Wales Line runs between Shrewsbury and the sea-side city of Swansea, passing through some of Wales' most spectacular scenery and picturesque towns during its three hour and forty minute journey.
Access via the M54 from the West Midlands conurbation, then the A5 from Telford. Parking in the town is notoriously difficult, therefore Park & Ride schemes operate National Park and Ride Directory, which enable the visitor to park outside the town in a large car park, and take a bus costing £1 per person (children under 16 are free; students 50p), into the town centre. The park & ride bus goes all round the town centre, and has stops outside most attractions, shops, etc. Park & Ride car parks are located at Meole Brace (to the south of the town), Harlescott (to the north), and Oxon (Shelton) (to the east).
There are various local bus services, mainly linking Shrewsbury with other towns and villages in Shropshire and the surrounding area.
Park and Ride services from Oxon, Harlescott and Meole Brace to the town centre and back (Monday-Saturday) (free parking at Oxon, Harlescott and Meole Brace). Other bus services go from the bus station in the town centre to places in town and further out in the county.
Cabs available at the train station on Castle Gates. Otherwise there are numerous taxi companies.
Roads inside the town centre are to be avoided if travelling by car. Please park outside the town centre in the many car parks available - St Julian's Friars, Abbey Foregate, Frankwell, etc.
- 1 Shrewsbury Castle and Shropshire Regimental Museum, Castle Gate (immediately next to Shrewsbury Rail Station), e-mail: email@example.com. Open: Museum - 14 February-26 May, Tues-Sat and Bank Holidays, 10:00 - 16:00; Grounds - All year round, Monday-Saturday 09:00-17:00 and summer Sundays. Shrewsbury Castle was built in the eleventh century. The castle now belongs to Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council, and houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum, and an exhibition about the history of the castle. The grounds are also pleasant to walk in and explore. Also site for outdoor drama productions and other events in the summer. £2.50 for museum (Senior citizens £1.25; students, local residents and under-18s Free; entry to grounds only Free).
- 2 Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, The Music Hall, Market St, ☎ . municipal art gallery and museum. The museum charts the development of Shrewsbury as a city from pre-historic times to the modern day in an interesting series of exhibitions.
- 3 Roman Catholic Cathedral. Town Walls: Pugin church - notable for its fine stained glass by Margaret Rope.
- 4 St Chad's Church (in the south part of the town centre, opposite the Quarry Park), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer: Mon-Sat, 08:00-17:00; Winter: Mon-Sat, 09:00-13:00 (From 13:00 the outer vestibule and St Aidan’s chapel are open until 17:00). Anglican church dating from 1792, has a unique circular nave.
- 5 St Mary's Church, ☎ . Mon-Fri, 10:00-17:00; Sat, 10:00-16:00. Stained glass windows dating from 14th-19th century.
- 6 The Quarry Park.
- 7 Bear Steps' buildings.
- 8 St Alkmund's Church, St Alkmund's Square, SY1 1UH. 9:30–16:00 (winter) / 17:00 (winter). 1,100-year-old church in a enviable location. Offers a wide programme of events throughout the year. Nearby Fish Street and the former church of St Julian are worth a look.
- 9 Haughmond Abbey, Upton Magna, Uffington, SY4 4RW (3 miles north-east of Shrewsbury off B5062), ☎ . adults £3.60, children £2.20, concessions £3.20.
- 10 Wroxeter Roman City, Wroxeter Roman City, Wroxeter, SY5 6PH (6 miles south-east of Shrewsbury), ☎ . At one stage, Viroconium Cornoviorum was the fourth-largest city in Roman Britain. The main attractions today are the remains of the bath house and a tall section of free-standing wall, as well as reconstructed town house, an impressive piece of experimental archaeology using only methods and materials available to Roman Britons. adults £6, children £3.60, concessions £5.30.
- 11 Rowley's House, Barker Street. This seventeenth-century house on Barker Street houses was the municipal art gallery and museum, is now used by the University.
- 1 Old Market Hall, The Square, SY1 1LH, ☎ . Open from 10:00. Films usually show at approx 14:30, 17:30 and 20:00 daily. Originally opened in 1596 as a market hall in the centre of Shrewsbury, this Elizabethan building is now a performing arts venue showing touring or amateur dramatics productions. There is also an arts cinema showing foreign-language and artistic films of considerable variety. There is also a cafe-bar and digital arts exhibition. £5 for films (£3.50 for students, over-60s and disabled people. Free for Digital Arts exhibitions and cafe-bar).
Shrewsbury is home to Shrewsbury School, a public school, where Sir Philip Sydney, Charles Darwin, Michael Palin, John Peel, Nick Hancock and Michael Heseltine were educated. It is on a large commanding site ("Kingsland") just south of the town centre overlooking the loop of the Severn. The school was once located in the town centre, in the buildings that are now the main county library on Castle Street. Opposite it on the other side of the river is Shrewsbury High School, a private girls day school. However the majority of the town's resident children attend one of the town's seven comprehensive schools.
For the traveller, the University Centre Shrewsbury offers a small range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, accredited by the University of Chester. International students are welcomed from around the world.
- 1 Shrewsbury Fairtrade Shop, 8 St Johns Hill, SY1 1JD, ☎ . Sells a variety of craft and gift items from around the world, cards, Fairtrade food & drink.
- 2 Darwin Shopping Centre, SY1 2BW.
- Pride Hill Shopping Centre.
- Riverside Mall.
- Sundorne Retail Park.
- Meole Brace Retail Park.
- Shrewsbury Hotel, Bridge Place (Mardol Quay).
- Hole in the Wall, Shoplatch (Gullet Passage).
- Coach and Horses, Swan Hill (Cross Hill).
- Montgomery's Tower, Claremont Bank.
- 1 Dinkys Dinahs, Layby A458 (near Ford), ☎ . classic basic road side cafe for your bacon sandwich.
- ASK Italian, High Street.
- Golden Cross, Princess Street (Golden Cross Passage).
- Pizza Express, Mardol.
- Drapers Hall, St Mary's Square.
- Renaissance, The Square.
- The Cornhouse, Wyle Cop.
- Peach Tree, Abbey Foregate.
- The Armoury, Victoria Quay (Victoria Avenue).
- Romolo, Victoria Quay (next to The Armoury).
As a historic town Shrewsbury is well-endowed with traditional pubs serving various beers including real ales, many of which are Shropshire-brewed.
- Golden Cross, Princess Street.
- Dun Cow, Abbey Foregate.
- Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop.
- Cromwells, Dogpole.
- Loggerheads, Church Street. Particularly rustic boozer with creaking wooden panels, various rooms and corridors and little to remind you of the 21st century. Also sells a good range of real ales.
- Three Fishes, Fish Street.
- King's Head, Mardol.
- Mardol, Belle Vue.
- Café bar. In Old Market Hall - a nice cafe and free wifi in the centre of town.
- Shrewsbury Hotel, Smithfield Road.
- Prince Rupert Hotel, Butcher Row.
- Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop.
- Lord Hill Hotel, Abbey Foregate.
- Premier Inn, Emstrey Business Park.
- Shrewsbury Library, Castle Gates. The Shrewsbury Library, which is in a historic building close to the castle, offers free internet access with registration.
Shrewsbury is comparatively safe relative to towns of a similar size; there is rarely a noticeable police presence in the town. Friday/Saturday evenings in the town centre are typical of any modern British town; night life activity is focused in the Claremont St/Bridge St and Raven Meadows area. Visitors should exercise caution when visiting The Quarry area at night.