Shrewsbury... or is it Shrowsbury?
Shrewsbury, Shropshire's county town, founded by the Saxons and most extensively developed by Tudors, lies within a giant loop of the river Severn and is famed for its castle, spires, abbey, parklands and half-timbered medieval houses.
But while you marvel at all those gorgeous black & white buildings, let's not forget that most of them remain just what they've always been: shops. And that the Shrewsbury variety of shop tends to be quirkier and more interesting than elsewhere - simply because that's how we like it. We think you may too.
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Let us show you the town of Shrewsbury...
The Historic Town and Sites
Scrobbesbyrig to the Saxons, the county town of Shropshire is first mentioned in a charter of 901. Shrewsbury is stunning historic town with over 660 listed buildings and some very strange street names - Dogpole and Mardol, Gullet Passage and Grope Lane.
"It takes a little exploration on foot to reveal the delights of this medieval town"
Guided Walking Tours from Shrewsbury Tourist Information Centre - everyday in summer, Saturdays in winter.
Shrewsbury Abbey - Founded in 1083 and still a place of worship today.
Shrewsbury Castle - imposing red sandstone. It guards the only land approach to the town. Inside the Great Hall is the museum of the Shropshire Regiments.
Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery - housed in a 16th century timber framed warehouse and brick townhouse. Collections illustrate the rich history of Shropshire and Shrewsbury.
St. Mary's Church - beautiful medieval church, glorious stained glass.
Look out for...
Shrewsbury's Shuts and Passages - a unique maze of narrow alleys which criss-cross the town centre - part of the town's medieval street plan.
Statue of Charles Darwin outside the library - he was born here in Shrewsbury and attended Shrewsbury School which was then housed in the library buildings.
Just outside the town...
Attingham Park - a Regency gem. Splendid hall and deer park, now in the tender care of the National Trust. Costumed guides, family activities, fine furniture and paintings.
Home Farm, Attingham - a short walk from the Hall is this working farm with plenty to discover about real farming. Hands on activities, small animals and rare breeds.
Wroxeter Roman City - earlier even than Shrewsbury itself. The ruins of the fourth largest city in Roman Britain. English Heritage have thoughtfully provided an audio tour and exhibition on site to tell you all about it.
Shrewsbury is at the heart of Shropshire in more ways than one and all the county's attractions are within easy reach.
The River Severn
"There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn Stream, Sabrina is her name a virgin pure..."
Sabrina Fair, Milton's Comus
Almost an island, caught in a loop of the river Severn, the town of Shrewsbury inspired the poet Housman to write in 'A Shropshire Lad'
"High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam, Islanded in Severn Stream"
Ways to enjoy the river in Shrewsbury include:
Under your own steam - rowing boats and canoe hire from the Porthill Bridge in The Quarry
Watching other people do the work - Shrewsbury Regatta, two days of competitive rowing
Angling - there are plenty of fish in the river - but you'll need a licence to do this.
Strolling by the water - walks along the towpath loop right around the town and out into the countryside. Follow in the footsteps of the young Charles Darwin. He liked messing about by the river.
Sitting in a waterside hostelry.
Everywhere Is Art
A contemporary arts scene thrives in Shrewsbury, particularly in the visual arts. Here's where to see the beautiful and the interesting (and the sometimes challenging)
Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery - special exhibitions of Contemporary art - recent shows include part of the Saatchi collection and Antony Gormley's Field for the British Isles.
Bear Steps Gallery - a 15th century timber hall showing exhibitions which change every two weeks
The Gateway Education and Arts Centre - special exhibitions of contemporary art and foyer craft displays
The Photographic Gallery in the Music Hall - changing exhibitions
Other commercial galleries include: Manser Callaghan and The Gallery
Complementing the visual arts is a varied cultural scene including The Music Hall, the Jazz and Roots Club, Shropshire Music Trust and The Gateway - follow the links for more information
Shopping and Eating Out
Of course there are also comfortable indoor shopping malls with high street names as well as specialists, and good access for wheelchair users and pushchairs.
We're particularly proud of our foodshops, not forgetting the indoor market on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (nasty 1960's building, alas, but good stuff inside). The Roman Vineyard at Wroxeter and Tanners wine merchants head up a good selection of sellers and hostelries who will make sure you don't go thirsty.
Please click the link to view an interactive street map of Shrewsbury Town centre >>
For more information about visiting Shrewsbury, please contact Shrewsbury Visitor Information Centre.