Set amidst the glorious Shropshire countryside, Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire, is one of England's finest historic market towns. Black and white timber mansions dating back to the 1400's line the narrow medieval cobbled streets of the town centre, among the finest of these being Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery. Visitors will find a wide selection of specialist shops, including antique centres and art galleries spread throughout the historic central area.
However, Shrewsbury has plenty by way of modern entertainment, too, courtesy of its cinema and theatre. Explore beautiful parks and gardens and take advantage of twenty miles-worth of cycle routes, or get out and about on foot by enjoying the many and varied walks and treks. Moreover, when you need to relax and unwind, call in at one of the area's popular old-style inns, traditional pubs or modern restaurants and select from a range of cosmopolitan cuisine. Should you be fortunate to arrive in August you will be able to visit the world famous annual Shrewsbury Flower Show, held in the town's Quarry Park.
The early Saxon settlement (7th century) occupied two small hills built on a defensive site occupying the only land entry into Shrewsbury within the loop of the River Severn. Later under the control of the Normans the remaining land approach was fortified by the magnificent Shrewsbury Castle. As with most of the Welsh Border towns the occupants lived in constant fear of the inhabitants of Wales as is evidenced by the massive fortresses built during this period.
Roger de Montgomery, during the reign of William the Conqueror, built the oldest parts of Shrewsbury Castle between 1066 and 1074, and there were further additions over several centuries. Over the next two hundred years the Welsh continued to harass and attack the English Border towns. The Welsh leader Llywelyn II was killed in 1282 and a year later, his brother David was defeated and brought to Shrewsbury where he was hung, drawn, and quartered on the High Cross on Pride Hill. His body parts were dispersed around the country and his head sent to the Tower of London.
Shrewsbury Abbey Church: On a more peaceful note, Shrewsbury Abbey Church, founded by the Normans in 1083, is still a place of worship. God has been worshipped there for over one thousand years, initially in a small Saxon church and subsequently in the great Benedictine Abbey Church of SS Peter and Paul, which was founded by Roger de Montgomery, a relative of William the Conqueror.
Museums: Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery occupies two adjoining buildings; one of which is timber-framed (originally built as a merchant's warehouse in the 16th or early 17th Century) and the other a stone and brick building of about 1618 (the mansion of the merchant William Rowley). At the museums, you will be able to find information on Charles Darwin, probably Shrewsbury's most famous son, born at The Mount at Frankwell in Shrewsbury in 1809.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
Followers of Cadfael, the medieval monk portrayed on the television programme of the same name can take the “Cadfael Trail.” A booklet “In the footsteps of Brother Cadfael” can be picked up from the Shrewsbury Tourist Information centre. The booklet outlines three short walks: a walk through the Town; a tour of the Abbey of St Peter and Paul; and a walk through the Abbey grounds and Foregate, with short extracts from the Cadfael books.