Shrewsbury is practically an island in the County of Shropshire. Set within a loop of the River Severn it is tucked away from the world, protected and little changed. Indeed Shrewsbury’s most famous son, Charles Darwin, would still recognise the town he grew up in today. Shrewsbury has had many golden ages. Its famous black and white buildings testify to Tudor times when the town was a hub for wool trading. Cobbled streets and passageways bear names such as ‘Peacock Passage’, ‘Phoenix Place’ – and the less appetising ‘Grope Lane’ and ‘Gullet Passage’.
River Severn Copyright of Shropshire Tourism UK Ltd.
The beautiful buildings of Shrewsbury
The historic town is home to a staggering 660 listed buildings, so if the Tudors don’t do it for you then there are Georgian, Norman, Victorian and even Art Deco properties. And that’s without our castle or our Abbey, more recently made famous as the home of fictional medieval detective Brother Cadfael.
The key thing about all these buildings is that we use many of them for exactly the same thing today as they did when our predecessors built them. Today Shrewsbury has more than its fair share of independent and unique shops; the sort that many other towns let go of years ago. If shopping is not your thing there are plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants to tempt you.
Shrewsbury also has an event scene too. Some, like the Flower Show with its 3 million blooms and a terrific firework shows, have been running for years; comparatively new kids on the block include the International Cartoon Festival – watch out for sharp pens and sharper wit. In early December Shrewsbury Winterfest has festive crafts and carols in the Quarry park, a gingerbread-spiced food trail around the market.
It’s the contradictions that make Shrewsbury so unique. You can have cocktails in a Tudor bar, or modern art at the ancient Bear Steps. Wyle Cop is the main road and it has independent shops in overhanging Tudor buildings. These include Appleyards deli (at no 85), and the aptly named kitchenware shop Cooking Kneads . The town’s market hall has great local produce. For more information visit
And while you consider what to do next, you can ponder the age-old question: do you say Shrewsbury or Shrowsbury?
To which we supply the definitive answer: yes.