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Shrewsbury (Shropshire)

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A view of the town square and old corn market.

Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire in England. It's a very traditional market town, with a lot of mediaeval architecture and feel to the town. Historically, Shrewsbury was a vital town in the wool trade with Wales and due to its extremely good strategic geography, it was used as a garrison town and was part of the "Ring of Iron" of Edward Longshanks.

Typically, the name is pronounced as "Shrewsbury" by local residents, or "Shrowsbury" by outsiders.

Understand[edit]

Shropshire is a large and rural county in what is known as the Welsh Marches. The border with Wales is only 9 miles away and there is considerable Welsh influence in the county. The town even has a Welsh name - Amwythig - and many other towns in Shropshire have Welsh names as well as their English ones.

The population of the town is now just over 70,000. It is not the largest town in Shropshire - that is Telford.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

With the demise of 'Wrexham & Shropshire Railways' in early 2011, Shrewsbury no longer has a direct rail link with London. However, there are frequent trains from London Euston to Birmingham where there are connections to Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury's railway station is a large, imposing, Victorian building, opened in 1848. It is located on Castle Gates, right next to the castle, just north of the town centre, within easy walking distance of the town centre, shops and many of the town's attractions. Shrewsbury acts as an interchange for many rail lines, including the beautiful Heart of Wales line and Cambrian Coastal line and Shrewsbury is easily reached by rail from most of England and Wales. There are frequent services to Manchester, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Crewe, and other services to Chester, Wrexham Aberystwyth, Swansea, Pwllheli, and Cardiff.

The famous Heart of Wales Line runs between Shrewsbury and the sea-side city of Swansea, passing through some of Wales' most spectacular scenery and picturesque towns during its three hour and forty minute journey. Trains depart Shrewsbury at 05:19, 09:05, 14:05 and 18:05.

By car[edit]

Access is best via the M54 from the West Midlands conurbation, then the A5 from Telford. Parking in the town is notoriously difficult, therefore Park & Ride schemes operate National Park and Ride Directory, which enable the visitor to park outside the town in a large car park and then take a bus costing £1 per person (children under 16 are free; students 50p), into the town centre. The park & ride bus goes all round the town centre, and has stops outside most attractions, shops, etc. Park & Ride car parks are located at Meole Brace (to the south of the town), Harlescott (to the north), and Oxon (Shelton) (to the east).

By bus[edit]

Shrewsbury is on the route of the London - Aberystwyth and the London - Wrexham coach services (operated by National Express).

There are various local bus services, mainly linking Shrewsbury with other towns and villages in Shropshire and the surrounding area.

Get around[edit]

Park and Ride services from Oxon, Harlescott and Meole Brace to the town centre and back (Monday-Saturday) (free parking at Oxon, Harlescott and Meole Brace). Other bus services go from the bus station in the town centre to places in town and further out in the county.

Cabs available at the train station on Castle Gates. Otherwise there are numerous taxi companies.

Roads inside the town centre are to be avoided if travelling by car. Please park outside the town centre in the many car parks available - St Julian's Friars, Abbey Foregate, Frankwell, etc.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Shrewsbury Castle and Shropshire Regimental Museum, Castle Gate (adjacent to Shrewsbury Railway Station), (shropsrm@zoom.co.uk). Museum open Tu-Sa and Bank Holidays 10:00-16:00; grounds all year round, M-Sa 09:00-17:00 & summer Sundays. Shrewsbury Castle was built in the eleventh century but now belongs to Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council, and houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum, and an exhibition about the history of the castle. The grounds are also pleasant to walk in and explore. Also site for outdoor drama productions and other events in the summer. £2.50 for museum (Senior citizens £1.25; students, local residents and under-18s FREE; entry to grounds only FREE).
  • Rowley's House Museum, Barker St SY1 1QH, +44 1743 361196 (museums@shrewsbury.gov.uk, Fax: +44 1743 358411). Until 26 May and from 11 Sep-22 Dec Tu-Sat, 10:00-16:00; From 27 May-10 Sep M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 10:00-16:00. This seventeenth-century house on Barker Street houses the municipal art gallery (on the ground floor) and museum (on first and second floors). The museum charts the development of Shrewsbury as a city from pre-historic times to the modern day in an interesting series of exhibitions. Each room in the museum takes a different period and attempts to recreate what Shrewsbury was like at that time. FREE.
  • Music Hall, The Square SY1 1LH (located in the centre of Shrewsbury, behind the Old Market Hall), ☎ +44 1743 281281 (mail@musichall.co.uk). Open: Depends on production. This is Shrewsbury's main performing arts venue. There is no resident company - performances are either touring productions or local amateur productions. The age of the building and lack of backstage space limits the types of performances which are able to be produced here, and for this reason, a new arts venue is being planned for Shrewsbury to replace the Music Hall. The Music Hall also houses Shrewsbury Tourist Information Centre. Entry price: depends on production.
  • Old Market Hall, The Square SY1 1LH, ☎ +44 1743 281281. Open from 10:00. Films usually show at approx 14:30, 17:30 and 20:00 daily. Originally opened in 1596 as a Market Hall in the centre of Shrewsbury, this Elizabethan building is now an arts cinema showing foreign-language and artistic films of considerable variety. There is also a cafe-bar and digital arts exhibition. £5 for films (£3.50 for students, over-60s and disabled people. FREE for Digital Arts exhibitions and cafe-bar).
  • St Chad's Church (in the south part of the town centre, opposite the Quarry Park), ☎ +44 1743 365478 (info@stchadschurchshrewsbury.com), . Summer M-Sa 08:00-17:00, Winter M-Sa 08:00-13:00 (From 13:00 the outer vestibule and St Aidan’s chapel are open until 17:00). Church dating from 1792, has a unique circular nave.
  • St Mary's Church, ☎ +44 1743 357006. M-F 10:00-17:00; Sa 10:00-16:00. Stained glass windows dating from 14th-19th century.
  • The Quarry Park
  • St Julian's Church
  • St Alkmund's Church
  • Theatre Severn, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY3 8FT (next to Welsh Bridge.), 01743281281, [1]. Depends on production. Now the main theatrical presence in Shrewsbury, Theatre Severn opened in 2009. It regularly hosts a variety of acts, and it is worth checking their website to see what is on the schedule.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Learn[edit]

Shrewsbury is home to Shrewsbury School, a public school, where Sir Philip Sydney, Charles Darwin, Michael Palin, John Peel, Nick Hancock and Michael Heseltine were educated. It is on a large commanding site ("Kingsland") just south of the town centre overlooking the loop of the Severn. The school was once located in the town centre, in the buildings that are now the main county library on Castle Street. Opposite it on the other side of the river is Shrewsbury High School, a private girls day school. However the majority of the town's resident children attend one of the town's seven comprehensive schools. The comprehensive schools of the town include:

  • The Priory, which was formerly a grammar school for girls.
  • Meole Brace School, which currently carries the status of Science College.
  • The Corbet School
  • The Wakeman School, geographically the closest school to the town, situated next to the English Bridge, alongside the Severn and being adjacent to the Gay Meadow football ground. The site was previously 'Shrewsbury Technical School' which was attended by the famous war poet Wilfred Owen.
  • The Grange
  • Sundorne
  • Belvidere
  • The Mary Webb School serves many inhabitants of Shrewsbury, although is, in actuality, located in the large village of Pontesbury, to the south-west.

The post-16 education is handled by Shrewsbury Sixth Form College and Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology.

Work[edit]

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Shrewsbury Fairtrade Shop, 8 St Johns Hill, Shrewsbury, SY1 1JD. Sells a variety of craft and gift items from around the world, cards, Fairtrade food & drink.
  • Darwin Shopping Centre and Pride Hill Shopping Centre [2]
  • Riverside Mall
  • Sundorne Retail Park
  • Meole Brace Retail Park

Eat[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Shrewsbury Hotel, Bridge Place / Mardol Quay
  • Hole in the Wall, Shoplatch / Gullet Passage
  • Coach and Horses, Swan Hill / Cross Hill
  • Montgomery's Tower, Claremont Bank

Mid-range[edit]

  • ASK Italian, High St
  • Golden Cross, Princess St / Golden Cross Passage
  • Pizza Express, Mardol

Splurge[edit]

  • Drapers Hall - St Mary's Sq
  • Renaissance - The Square
  • The Cornhouse - Wyle Cop
  • Peach Tree - Abbey Foregate
  • The Armoury, Victoria Quay / Victoria Ave

Drink[edit][add listing]

As a historic town Shrewsbury is well-endowed with traditional pubs serving various real ales, many of which are Shropshire-brewed.

  • Golden Cross, Princess St
  • Dun Cow, Abbey Foregate
  • Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop
  • Cromwells, Dogpole
  • Loggerheads, Church St. Particularly rustic boozer with creaking wooden panels, various rooms and corridors and little to remind you of the 21st century. Also sells a good range of real ales.
  • Three Fishes, Fish St
  • King's Head, Mardol
  • The Grove Inn, Belle Vue

Cafés[edit]

  • Café bar in Old Market Hall [3] -Nice cafe and free Wi-Fi in the centre of town.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • Shrewsbury Hotel, Smithfield Road
  • Prince Rupert Hotel, Butcher Row
  • Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop
  • Lord Hill Hotel, Abbey Foregate
  • Travel Inn, Emstrey Business Park

Splurge[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Shrewsbury is comparatively safe relative to towns of a similar size; there is rarely a noticeable police presence in the town. Friday/Saturday evenings in the town centre are typical of any modern British town; night life activity is focused in the Claremont St/Bridge St and Raven Meadows area. Visitors should exercise caution when visiting The Quarry area at night.

Cope[edit]

Get out[edit]

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