Before COVID hit my British staycation list wasn’t that long. Yes, I wanted to see a few towns here and there, but I had always focused my main efforts in travelling abroad. When we were told we weren’t allowed to travel abroad, that all changed, and I researched the best places to go, that would allow me to still get my travel fix but also remain in the UK.
This is when I came across Shropshire, not only was it brought up in a lot of my google searches, but it was also highly recommended by my friend who said she had fallen in love with the place. I had also been to this side of the country during a trip to Herefordshire earlier this year and loved it. So with all these 3 factors combined, I knew I had to make a trip to Shropshire.
The county of Shropshire is located in the West Midlands, not too far from Birmingham and is along the England-Wales border. Over 300,000 people call Shropshire home and after visiting here myself it’s hard not to see why.
Shropshire is also home to The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is one of 46 AONB’s in the UK and covers almost a quarter of the Shropshire county.
The Shropshire Hills is loved by both locals and tourists due to its ample walking and hiking routes and its magnificent and lush green views. As mentioned previously, The Shropshire Hills run along the welsh border so it’s no surprise that the landscape here is just as beautiful and breath-taking as those you might find in The Welsh valleys.
If you are not an adventure lover or thrill-seeker, then have no fear. Shropshire county has lots more to offer. With vibrant towns, cute little villages and an abundance of history, there is lots more to see and do here.
When is the best time to visit Shropshire?
Shropshire is the kind of place that you can visit all year round. Whether you are after a nice sunny stroll or getting cosy in a pub by the fire during the colder months there is something to suit all of your needs.
Naturally, during summer you have the best chance of enjoying a walk and hike in nice temperatures and seeing the best/clearest views. We went during the autumn, the heavens opened throughout all of our hike and my boyfriend slipped about 5 times, but the autumnal colours that we got to see across the valley was a great consolation prize.
What is the best way to get to and explore Shropshire?
The best way to and explore Shropshire is by Car. Yes, there are lots of train routes that go into the main towns such as Telford and Shrewsbury. There are also local bus routes that will take you all over the county. However, exploring by car is the most cost and time-effective option.
Where is the best place to stay in Shropshire?
We stayed at The Crown Country Inn. As I mentioned earlier my friend told me how much she had loved Shropshire and staying at The Crown Country Inn had a major influence on her positive experience.
The location is idyllic, situated in the quiet, rural town of Munslow in the midst of the Shropshire Hills and it is just a short drive from many of the amazing walks in this area.
To top this amazing place off the host’s and staff were so friendly, attentive and welcoming and they also have the cutest dog.
Budgeting for Shropshire
During my experience in Shropshire, I found that prices are similar to that of London. We paid around £5 for a pint, £6+ for a glass of wine or prosecco, £9/10 for a cocktail and around £10-£15 for a single dish. However, as with anything I only experienced a small pocket of Shropshire so I can’t speak for a lot of the towns here.
Best places to eat and drink in The Shropshire Hills
To be completely honest with you, we ate all of our meals at our accommodation at The Crown Country Inn. Apart from lunch where we would stop off at the odd cafe to grab a toastie and a coffee. Breakfast was included in our booking and as for dinner, If you ever stay at the Crown Country Inn you will understand why we didn’t try anywhere else (think hearty pub grub with a delicious twist). Oh and I mustn’t forget a special mention for their cocktails, my favourite here was the Baileys Mint Martini and the Vanilla Silks.
The top things to do in Shropshire
Ironbridge is a large village situated on the River Severn. As the name might suggest one of the towns main attractions is its iconic iron bridge. It was built in 1779 and was the first Ironbridge in the world. Other things to do in Ironbridge include visiting one of its many museums, or if you’re up for something a little more adventurous , you can go rafting along the River Severn.
The Town of Much Wenlock holds some of Shropshire’s best history. It played a huge part in the revival of the Olympic Games.
Dr William Penny Brookes created the “Wenlock Olympic Games” in 1850, this, in turn, inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin to create the “International Olympic Committee” in 1894 which led to the first Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896.
You can visit the Much Wenlock museum and The Guildhall to find out all about its history.
If you have time, you can also visit the Wenlock priory. You will need tickets so make sure you research beforehand.
Visit the Town Of Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is yet another one of Shropshire’s beautiful towns. There is lots do here. If you are fascinated by crime and criminals you can head to the old Shrewsbury Prison. If nature and plants are your thing, then you can walk around the grounds of The Quarry or Attingham Park. Finally, if you are hungry after all of that exploring, you can grab a bite at the Shrewsbury Market Hall.
Go on a hike
There are walking routes in abundance across the Shropshire Hills. The question is which route to take? Three of the most popular walks in the Shropshire hills are as follows:
Both Carding Mill Valley and Caer Caradoc can be accessed from the town of Church Stretton. Whereas The Stiperstones walk is located in Shrewsbury.
Pictured below is Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd and one of it’s most popular sights- the Lightspout Waterfall.
Visit the the town of Bridgnorth
The town of Bridgnorth is an interesting one. The River Severn actually splits the town into two parts – The high town and the low town.
The best place to view this is at the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway. Not only is this a great view but you can take a ride on the funicular railway which is said to be the oldest, shortest and steepest in the country.
Other things to do in Bridgnorth include visiting the Bridgnorth Castle and the Severn Valley railway line.
Visit Ludlow Castle
Ludlow Castle is an old medieval ruin, first erected in 1461. It was firstly a Norman fortress, that over time developed into royal palace that served royalty for over 350 years. Ludlow Castle now serves the town as a major tourist attraction as well as a place to hold most of the towns festivals. If you want to visit here then there is no need to pre-book, just make sure you check the opening times on their website.
Have a spa evening and Fishmore Hall Hotel & Spa
After all that hiking and exploring you probably deserve a rest, and there is no better place to do it than at the Fishmore Hall Spa. They have a sauna/steam room and a hot tub that looks out over the Shropshire countryside. They also have a range of treatments and spa packages to choose from. We went for the ‘Dip and Dine’ which included a 55-minute full-body massage, full use of the spa facilities and a 2-course meal at the hotel restaurant all for £80.
If you are looking for more staycation inspiration then check out my guide to Bradford-On-Avon.