Amazing things to do on a day trip to Shrewsbury

Friday, 3 May 2024

Discover the treasured and traditional British town of Shrewsbury, where you’ll be won over by its charming cobbled streets, medieval buildings and quirky independent retailers.

Wherever you wander through this quintessentially British market town, you’ll stumble across new hidden streets, quaint specialist shops and pretty views. You’ll also discover its rich history as you spot the statues of influential figures, well-preserved mediaeval buildings and the imposing sandstone castle.

Shrewsbury is located to the west of Birmingham, with the River Severn winding through it, which has nine bridges stretching over the water. Amongst the peaceful green spaces throughout the town is the venue for the longest-running flower festival in the world, which pops up once a year in mid-August – the Shrewsbury Flower Show. This is why this Midland gem is sometimes known as the Town of Flowers.

Hop on a trip by train to Shrewsbury, which has direct trains from Birmingham New Street.

Spend a day in the pretty country town of Shropshire using our ultimate guide of things to do in Shrewsbury in order to guarantee an amazing trip.

Explore Shrewsbury Market Hall

Whether you’re looking for gifts, a bite to eat, a wardrobe refresh or unique handmade homeware, Shrewsbury Market Hall has it all. Arrive as the doors open at 8:00 for a pick-me-up at The Bird’s Nest or Bloomers Bakery. Take home a contemporary masterpiece from ArtKDuffy or some personalised engraved glassware from L and E Designs . For something old school, head to Steady’s for vintage clothes or vinyls from White Rabbit Records .

Tuck into some street food at the vendors who serve up dishes inspired by global cuisines. Browse the fresh seafood and organic wine or satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolicious . Everything you need, and didn’t know you needed can be found in this vibrant and energetic market, which began in the Victorian times. Visit any time between 8:00 to 16:00, Tuesday to Saturday and browse the 60 independent and innovative traders.

Distance from station: 0.4 miles.

Highlight: The food is exquisite so make sure you stop for at least a quick snack.

Find the secret beauty spots

Hunt out the Instagrammable, historical beauty spots around the town, like impressive 16th-century architecture and quaint streets. Particularly magical during the crisp winter months but eye-catching all year round is Fish Street, which you might recognise from the 1984 Christmas Carol movie. Discover more of these narrow cobblestone passageways, which date back to the Middle Ages, called shuts, including Bear Steps, Golden Cross Passage and Gullet Passage.

Soak up the scenery from the arched 18th-century Welsh Bridge, the fairytale-like Laura’s Tower or through the lookout at Shrewsbury Abbey. Snap a photo next to the white and wooden timber-framed Henry Tudor House and stop for an al fresco drink or dinner at the 16th-century Shrewsbury Square.

Highlight: Snap some arty photos of the historic streets and pretty views.

Distance from station: All within 0.7 miles.

Discover the town’s unique historical attractions

You’ll be struck by the quaint and old England appearance of the preserved mediaeval town centre, which is lined with dramatic timber-framed buildings. Dotted with historic statues like Hercules, Robert Clive, and Charles Darwin, this time-honoured town celebrates its past from mediaeval times, the Industrial Revolution and the English Civil War.

Naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin lived 27 years of his life here. You can follow The Darwin Trail to discover the places that sparked the inspiration and curiosity which enabled him to see the world from a new perspective. Brave the underground Georgian tunnels of the 1793 Shrewsbury Prison and see what it was like behind bars. Hear tales of executed criminals and the ghostly stories behind its title as the second most haunted prison in the world.

Highlight: If you’re not sold by Shrewsbury Prison already, it’s known as the most interactive prison in the world and the most notorious Victorian prison in the UK.

Distance from station: All within 0.7 miles.

Feel inspired

Channel your inner creativity with a range of activities in Shrewsbury and a visit to its artistic attractions boasting masterpieces from local, national and international artists. You can follow the Shrewsbury Arts Trail if you want to see it all or stop by at top attractions.

Admire the sculptures, paintings, photography and installations in the rotating exhibitions at Bear Steps Gallery . You could also attend numerous art events throughout the year, like workshops and talks. Purchase some handmade creations from local craftspeople in the likes of No.61 and The Visual Art Network . For the ultimate interactive creative venue, head to The Hive for wellbeing projects, gigs, hands-on experiences and exhibitions.

Highlight: If you only visit one, go to The Hive for an overall taste of Shrewsbury’s creative scene.

Distance from station: All within 0.5 miles.

Take a tranquil stroll

Fringed with round hills and woodland, you don’t have to go far to find yourself in the serene countryside of Shropshire. But natural beauty also fills numerous green spaces within the town, too. Idyllic picnic spots, quiet riverside trails and floral displays can be found in the parklands and gardens here.

Follow the footpaths through the 29-acre The Quarry Park , which sits on the edge of the River Severn. At its centre, you’ll come across the works of world-renowned gardener Percy Thrower, who cultivated the alpine borders, bedded plants, shrubbery and water features. Wildflowers and nature conservation areas can be explored in Poplar Island and the Mousefield Nature Reserve .

Highlight: More than 3 million blooms can be spotted in The Quarry at the end of August each year for the Shrewsbury Flower Show.

Distance from Station: All within 0.7 miles.

Visit the castle

Standing in a prime position overlooking the town is the striking red Norman fortress, Shrewsbury Castle . Encasing the majestic building are perfectly presented gardens with spongy mown lawns and blooming flower borders. The grounds are free to roam around and it’s £5.50 for adults to enter the castle. Within its grand interiors are high wooden beamed ceilings, archways and original features from the 18th century.

Look through The Soldiers of Shropshire Museum to find 1000 years of regimental history through the photographs, uniforms, medals and weapons. During the summer months, the outdoor space turns into an open-air theatre for show-stopping performances and lively entertainment.

Highlight: Don’t miss the former Great Hall.

Distance from station: 0.1 mile.

Seek out the quirky shops

Wyle Cop is a street lined with timber-framed buildings and home to the longest row of interrupted independent businesses in the UK. Pop into Wyle Blue World while you’re there – this unusual artisan store doubles as a cosy bar. Not far from here you’ll find The Parade which houses an array of independent sellers across the two floors of a Grade II-listed building. Or, for big-name brands, venture into The Darwin Shopping Centre .

Highlight: Keep an eye out for wool goods, which the town has been known for throughout history.

Distance from station: All within 0.3 miles.

Eat your way around town

A host of tempting independent restaurants around the town with lovingly crafted menus offer flavours from around the world. For a midday snack, grab a quick bite from Planet Doughnut – they have an enormous range of irresistible doughnuts. Choose from fruity favourites, rich chocolate delights and dessert-inspired flavours – like Red Velvet, cookie dough or winterberry.

Admire the beauty of the town from the Grade II-listed River View Cafe , which offers indoor and outdoor seating to enjoy an afternoon tea, fried breakfast or hearty lunch. Treat yourself to some modern British food made from locally sourced ingredients in the quirky and rustic Loopy Shrew . Enjoy a taste from down under at the Australian and Asian street-food-inspired House of the Rising Sun .

Highlight: Take the opportunity to try a completely new cuisine.

Distance from station: All within 0.5 miles.

Spend your evening entertained

Finish your day with an evening treat, where you can sit back and unwind. From cosy traditional pubs, show-stopping performances and trendy, atmospheric bars, you don’t have to look far to find some late-night leisure.

Behind the velvet curtains of the Theatre Severn , all manner of costumed actors, famous funny faces and up-and-coming musicians appear on centre stage. Take your pick from musicals, opera, pantomime and stand-up. Learn the vino 101 in the chilled-out Glouglou wine bar, watch some live music or take part in a drink and draw class. Browse the moreish cocktail menu in the dimly lit Blind Tiger with rustic stone walls and wooden beamed ceilings.

Highlight: If you’re up for a laugh, Glouglou also hosts drink and draw classes.

Distance from station: All within 0.4 miles.

Handy tip: When you travel with West Midlands Railway, you can get exclusive 2FOR1 deals, 1/3 OFF savings and many other great discounts available at top attractions in and around Great Britain.

Save your pennies for spending money in Shrewsbury and travel for less with cheap off-peak tickets. You can purchase your ticket via the West Midlands Railway app.