Shrewsbury, located in the county of Shropshire, is a popular tourist destination for those looking to explore the Great British countryside and a quirky, historic town.
This historic town sits within the West Midlands of the UK and is known for its well-preserved medieval and Tudor architecture – evident across many of the buildings that line its narrow streets.
Visitors to Shrewsbury will enjoy taking a stroll through the historic old town, admiring Shrewsbury Abbey and the beautiful buildings dotted around, and taking in all of the rich history.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants in downtown Shrewsbury for those who like a bit of retail therapy, followed by an afternoon at the famous Shrewsbury Castle and a stroll along the river Severn, making it the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring.
There is also the great British countryside on your doorstep and some fantastic green spaces such as Attingham Park and Haughmond Hill to stretch your legs and fill those lungs.
The well-known Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury. If you visit, you can see places he resided, worked and the church where he was baptized.
So, if you’re looking for a charming British town to visit, be sure to add Shrewsbury to your list.
Below are some of the best things to do in Shrewsbury during your trip. But first, a little history of this beautiful town…
The Rich History Of Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is a historic town in Shropshire, England. The town dates back to the 11th century when it was founded by the Norman lord Roger de Montgomery. The town’s strategic location on the River Severn made it an important economic and military centre in the medieval period.
In the 12th century, Shrewsbury became a royal free borough, and in the 13th century, it was granted a charter by King Henry III. The town’s market rights and defensive walls were also increased during this period.
During the English Civil War, Shrewsbury was a Royalist stronghold, and it was besieged by Parliamentary forces in 1645.
The town continued to prosper in the 18th and 19th centuries, and today it is a vibrant cultural centre with a well-preserved historical core.
Best Things To Do In Shrewsbury, Shropshire
1. Visit Shrewsbury Abbey
Shrewsbury Abbey is a beautiful and historic place of worship, founded in 1083 by the Norman Earl Roger de Montgomery and his wife Maud. The abbey church is built in the Romanesque style and is notable for its fine stonework and intricate carvings.
The abbey’s cloisters are also a popular tourist attraction, and there is a tea room on site where visitors can relax and enjoy views of the Abbey grounds.
The Abbey is open to the public all year round, and there are regular events and services held here throughout the year.
Whether you’re looking to explore England’s rich history or simply to find a peaceful place to reflect, Shrewsbury Abbey is definitely worth a visit.
2. Take A Sabrina Boat River Cruise
A river cruise in Shrewsbury is a great way to see the town from a different perspective. The Severn River winds its way through the heart of Shrewsbury, and a cruise provides a unique vantage point for taking in the sights.
You’ll drift past ancient churches and quaint cottages in this popular triple-deck, modern passenger boat, and get a sense of the town’s history as you travel back in time. A river cruise is also a great way to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Shrewsbury.
The gentle movement of the boat, the soothing sound of the water, and the peacefulness of being surrounded by nature all combine to create a truly blissful experience.
Whether you’re a local looking for a new way to explore your town or a visitor seeking an enchanting experience, a river cruise in Shrewsbury is sure to please.
Cruises can vary in length from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the company you choose to go with.
3. Visit Shrewsbury Castle
Shrewsbury Castle is an 11th-century motte-and-bailey castle, with the site comprising of a large earthwork motte, surrounding a bailey with various timber buildings.
The castle was built by Norman lord Roger de Montgomery in 1067 and served as his headquarters during the Norman conquest of England. In the centuries that followed, it was held by a number of different noble families and underwent several periods of expansion and renovation.
There are numerous buildings within the bailey, including a great hall, kitchens, stables, a chapel, and living quarters for the castle’s occupants, all of which you can wander through.
Today, the castle is open to the public and is managed by English Heritage. It is designated as a Grade I listed building and scheduled monument and costs £5 for adults to enter, and £3 for children.
4. Go to Attingham Park
Attingham Park is a wonderful place to visit if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The park is situated on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, and it provides a stunning natural landscape for visitors to explore.
The house and grounds were originally built in the 18th century and are now owned by the National Trust. Visitors can explore the house and grounds, which include an Elizabethan walled garden, a deer park, and a working farm.
There are plenty of walking and cycling trails to enjoy, and you can also take a picnic and relax in the peaceful surroundings.
Attingham Park is home to a variety of wildlife, so it’s a great place to go if you’re hoping to spot some rare birds or animals.
Whether you’re looking for a tranquil spot to unwind or an adventurous activity, Attingham Park makes for a beautiful spot for a leisurely day outdoors in Shrewsbury.
5. Visit The Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
The Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is a must-see for anyone visiting the town. The museum offers a fascinating insight into the history of Shrewsbury, with exhibits on everything from the Roman occupation to the English Civil War.
The art gallery houses an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures and ceramics, spanning a wide range of styles and periods, and the museum also hosts regular events and talks, making it the perfect place to learn more about the town’s rich heritage.
The Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is an excellent place to learn about the history and culture of Shrewsbury and the surrounding area, and one of the top places to see in Shrewsbury for families, kids and couples.
6. See Shrewsbury Flower Show
A riot of colour, fragrance, and all-around horticultural grandeur, the Shrewsbury Flower Show is an event that truly marks the British summer calendar. The Show typically unfurls its vibrant petals for two days in August, falling on the 11th and 12th in 2023.
Located in the heart of the historic town of Shrewsbury, the setting of the beautiful Quarry Park lends an idyllic backdrop for what is considered one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious flower shows.
Every year, the Show adheres to a theme, a tradition that injects a dose of creativity into the botanical displays. In 2023, the theme is “Blooms and Butterflies”, transforming the venue into an enchanted garden brimming with vibrant blooms and a flutter of butterfly installations. Show gardens, floral art displays, and plant societies all adhere to this theme, presenting exhibits that are as diverse as they are captivating.
The show is one of the best things to do in Shrewsbury if you’re around in summertime, and attracts over 150,000 visitors from all over the world. With over 500 exhibitors, the show features a wide variety of flowers and plants, as well as garden furniture, tools, and accessories.
Whether you’re a keen gardener or simply enjoy admiring beautiful flowers, the Shrewsbury Flower Show is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area during August.
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7. Stroll Around The Quarry Park
Quarry Park is one of the hidden gems of Shrewsbury. It’s a great place to take a walk, relax and get some fresh air into those lungs.
The park is home to a number of events throughout the year, including QuarryFest, which celebrates the park’s rich history, the Shrewsbury Food Festival in June and Let’s Rock Music Festival in July.
One of the best things about Quarry Park is its unique setting. The park was once a working quarry, and it still retains many of its original features. The quarry walls are now covered in greenery, and the former quarry lake is now home to a variety of wildlife.
This gem of a spot is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for the best things to do In Shrewsbury.
8. Wander Through The Historic Town Centre
The town centre of Shrewsbury is a beautiful, historic place encapsulated by the River Severn, with its architecture absolutely brimming with character.
The main shopping street is lined with picturesque old buildings and plenty of independent shops to explore.
The market square is a fantastic spot to sit back with a hot drink and people watch, where you’ll often find live music and street performers throughout the day.
There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and pubs to relax and recharge after a day of walking, so kick back in one of the many traditional British pubs along the way for a sneaky half.
For those who enjoy the outdoors, the riverfront is also a great place to take a stroll or go for a bike ride.
Whatever you get up to in the historic town centre, it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Shrewsbury for adults and definitely wants adding to your travel itinerary list.
9. Take Part In A Shrewsbury Ghost Walk
The dark streets of Shrewsbury are said to be some of the most haunted walks in all of England.
The ghost walk tour takes visitors through the streets of the town, past locations where ghosts are said to frequent. One of the most famous ghosts is that of a young girl named Emily Cooper, who died in a fire at her home.
Led by a knowledgeable guide, participants will visit sites such as the Old Market Hall, where the ghost of a young girl is said to haunt the stairs; St. Chad’s Church, where the spirits of former parishioners are said to roam; and The Castle, where the ghost of a Medieval knight is said to still guard the keep.
With its wealth of history and its eerie atmosphere, the Ghost Walk of Shrewsbury is an unforgettable experience.
10. Visit St Mary’s Church (Church of St Mary the Virgin)
St. Mary’s Church in Shrewsbury is a beautiful Gothic Revival church with a rich history. The church was founded in the 12th century and has been rebuilt several times over the centuries.
The current building dates from the early 19th century and is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in England, with a stunning stain glass window installed within this period.
The church is home to a number of important works of art, including a 13th-century painting of the Virgin and Child and a 15th-century statue of Sir Philip Sidney.
St. Mary’s Church is a wonderful place to visit and experience some of the best Gothic Revival architecture in England, and definitely a spot for those historians and anyone keen on historic architecture.
11. Climb The Stiperstones
The Stiperstones is a popular spot for hikers, on a ridge of some of the oldest rocks in England, and expansive views over Shropshire and the Welsh border.
The hills are popular with walkers and climbers, and there are several marked trails that criss-cross the area.
The highest point in the range is the Devil’s Chair, which stands at 559 metres (1,834 feet). Reaching the top requires a bit of effort, but the view from the top is well worth it. On a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction.
The Stiperstones is a truly unique place, and climbing to the top is an unforgettable experience. Summiting the Stiperstones is a popular goal for many visitors to the area, and can easily be reached from Shrewsbury by car within 35 minutes.
If you’re looking for unusual things to do near Shrewsbury, then the Stiperstones belongs on your itinerary list.
12. Explore Dana Prison
Plans to convert the now-defunct HM Prison Shrewsbury, a 220-year-old building that sits atop a loop in the Severn River, into housing, commercial space and a gym have been in place since its 2013 closure.
A company called Jailhouse Tours will take you inside the prison for one-off tours until those much-delayed works commence though!
Every day of the week, you can explore the prison cells, governor’s office, Hanging Room, and other communal areas with a guide and get an inside peek into what life would have been like for both inmates and prison officers.
You can even hop on a ghost tour of the prison, which boasts the title of the 2nd most haunted prison in the whole world. Not for the faint of heart – you have been warned. Book your tickets here.
13. Visit St Chad’s Church
St Chad’s Church is most famous for its unique architecture and is a beautiful example of both Norman and Gothic styles combined.
The interior of the church is equally impressive, with stained glass windows, a carved stone pulpit, and an ornate altar.
St. Chad’s is also notable for its close association with the town’s history. For centuries, the church has served as a gathering place for Shrewsbury residents, and it remains an important part of the community today.
Whether you’re interested in history or architecture, St. Chad’s Church is definitely worth a visit if you’re around town.
14. Wander Through The Market Hall
Under the iconic clock tower in Shrewsbury, Market Hall is a friendly place to shop for meat, seafood, flowers, fruit and vegetables. You’ll also find stalls selling baked goods. specialist foods and confectionery.
This popular destination is home to stalls selling all sorts, from fresh produce and meat to handmade crafts and art.
There’s also a selection of food outlets, so you can grab a bite to eat while you explore the market.
The atmosphere at Market Hall is always upbeat and cosmopolitan, with music playing and people chatting as they browse the stalls. It’s the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs or gifts for loved ones back home.
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15. Grab A Show At Theatre Severn
Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn is a modern venue that hosts a variety of live performances, from musicals and plays to dance and comedy.
The prestigious performing arts centre has a 635-seater Main Auditorium and a smaller Walker Theatre that seats 250 or holds up to 500 people.
The complex opened in 2009 and draws audiences from the West Midlands and mid-Wales region.
The building itself is an impressive sight, and its riverside location makes it even more special. Whether you’re watching a show or simply taking in the view, Theatre Severn is a place that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Book your tickets in advance from the official website.
16. Climb Haughmond Hill
Haughmond Hill is a beautiful spot a short drive east of Shrewsbury. The hill is covered in lush greenery, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside from the top.
Visitors can explore the hill on foot, with a number of different routes to choose from.
Haughmond Hill might be especially interesting to any keen geologists out there, as the area is made up of ancient Precambrian turbidite. This type of rock originates from when sediment deposits accumulate at the bottom of oceans, often near continental margins.
The area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including badgers and rabbits. A short wander off-trail and you’ll likely come across some deer as well.
17. Take The Shrewsbury Darwin Walk
The birthplace of great naturalist and explorer, Charles Robert Darwin, was born on 12th February 1809 and spent his first 27 years in the historic town of Shrewsbury.
Many of the buildings and locations in Shrewsbury were important to Darwin during his early life, and his story can be seen on the walls and streets of this historic town.
Though much time has passed, the streets you and I walk around Shrewsbury today would still be familiar to him. The same narrow alleys and passages lined with timber-framed shops and Georgian terraces would take him back to his childhood hurrying to class from his family home across the River Severn.
Darwin’s connection to Shrewsbury is vividly brought to life through this trail. The PDF download of the trail is available here.
18. Explore The Hawkstone Park Follies
Located in the English county of Shropshire a short 30-minute drive north from Shrewsbury, Hawkstone Park is home to a unique collection of buildings and sculptures known as the Hawkstone Park Follies.
These follies were created in the 18th and 19th centuries as a means of providing employment for local stonemasons. Today, they provide a fascinating glimpse into the past, with their towers, grottoes, and labyrinths offering visitors a chance to explore a bygone era.
The Follies are also home to a number of strange legends, such as the story of the Devil’s Footprint, which is said to be imprinted in one of the stones.
Whether you’re interested in history or legend, the Hawkstone Park Follies are sure to be an enjoyable experience, and one of the top things to do near Shrewsbury
19. Shrewsbury Flower Show
19 Fun Things To Do In Shrewsbury, Shropshire
- Shrewsbury Abbey
- River Cruise
- Shrewsbury Castle
- Attingham Park
- Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
- Shrewsbury Flower Show
- Quarry Park
- Historic Town Centre
- Ghost Walk Tour
- St Mary’s Church
- Climb The Stiperstones
- Dana Prison
- St Chad’s Church
- Market Hall
- Theatre Severn
- Haughmond Hill
- Darwin Walking Tour
- Hawkstone Park Follies
- Shrewsbury Flower Show
What is special about Shrewsbury?
Shrewsbury is a historic market town in Shropshire, nestled between the curves of the River Severn. It is one of the oldest towns in England, with its origins dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period when it was known as an important market town during the medieval period. Today, Shrewsbury is a popular tourist destination due to its Georgian architecture, medieval castle, and abundance of independent shops. It is also home to a number of famous people, including Charles Darwin, JRR Tolkien, and Mary Stanley.
Is Shrewsbury worth visiting?
Absolutely yes, Shrewsbury in Shropshire is definitely worth visiting! The town is located in the stunningly picturesque English countryside, and it boasts a rich history dating back to the 11th century. Visitors can explore medieval castles, charming gardens, and quaint shops, or simply enjoy the lovely views.