Set within a loop of the River Severn, Shrewsbury is practically an island, tucked away from the rest of the world. Perhaps it is this watery protection which has kept the town’s history so marvellously preserved. From its magpie-patterned buildings to its magnificent 11th century castle, there’s a historical story around every cobbled corner (and several ghostly tales too)
Shrewsbury has had many golden ages but its famous black and white buildings are a testament to Tudor times when the town was a hub for wool trading. Relive the era by exploring our ancient “shuts”, or narrow passageways, which bear evocative names such as ‘Peacock Passage’, ‘Phoenix Place’ - and the slightly less appetising ‘Grope Lane’ and ‘Gullet Passage’. Do watch out for fellow history-enthusiasts, though – the most exquisite architectural features and ancient carvings are often above your head, meaning people don’t always watch where they’re going!
But don’t worry if the Tudors don’t do it for you, as Shrewsbury is home to a staggering 660 listed buildings, including Georgian, Norman, Victorian and even Art Deco properties. And that’s without mentioning Shrewsbury Castle, built between 1066 and 1074, which is now a museum dedicated to the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Another building worth a visit is Shrewsbury Abbey, still used for worship a thousand years after it was built, and more recently made famous as the home of fictional medieval detective Brother Cadfael.
In fact, it’s impossible to spend a day in Shrewsbury without discovering its hidden history.
The Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery occupies the old Music Hall: an extraordinary complex of buildings including a rare medieval stone mansion (the only one of its kind in this region). This exciting venue for the town, houses a museum and special exhibitions gallery, together with a cafe bar, shop and visitor information centre.
Or discover the story of the Battle of Shrewsbury at Battlefield 1403 Exhibition Centre. You can also buy locally sourced produce at the farm shop and butchery, taste the delights in Sparrow's Cafe or simply enjoy the fresh air along the Battlefield walk to the historic St Mary Magdalene Church.
Or see the town centre’s Bellstone, a granite remnant of the Ice Age that first inspired Shrewsbury’s most famous son Charles Darwin to study geology; or the site that marks the ill-fated attempt of rope-slider Robert Cadman to cross the river from the spire of St Mary’s on an 18th century version of a snowboard!
Or you could visit Wroxeter Roman City (or 'Viriconium'), once the fourth largest city in Roman Britain, just on the outskirts of Shrewsbury. Take a tour around the fascinating ruins, and explore the Roman Town House, constructed as part of Channel 4’s ‘Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day’.
So why not make like a local, and mix the historical with the new: go for cocktails in a Tudor bar, view modern art at the long-standing Bear Steps Gallery or enjoy a leisurely cappuccino in our 16th century Market Hall?
And whilst you do all that, you can ponder the age-old question: is the town’s name pronounced Shrewsbury or Shrowsbury? To which we supply the age-old answer: yes.
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This is the official tourism and visitor website for Shrewsbury provided by Shropshire Tourism, the official destination marketing organisation for Shropshire - read more