county town of Shropshire, England

Shrewsbury (Welsh: Amwythig) is the county town of Shropshire in England. It is 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. 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. It was the birthplace of naturalist Charles Darwin.

A view of the town square and old corn market.

Understand edit

Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, which 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. As Shrewsbury is the largest town anywhere near most parts of Mid Wales, you may hear Welsh spoken in the streets by some shoppers and daytrippers from over the border. The town even has a Welsh name, and many other towns in Shropshire have Welsh names as well as their English ones.

The correct pronunciation of the town's English name is subject to considerable debate, with some advocating "Shrooze-bury", and others preferring "Shroze-bury". A Latin name for the town, "Salopia", is also often used to refer to either Shrewsbury itself or Shropshire.

The population of the town is 77,000 (2021). It is not the largest town in Shropshire, that is Telford.

Get in edit

By train edit

There are frequent trains from London Euston to Birmingham where there are connections to Shrewsbury.

  • 1 Shrewsbury railway station. 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 seaside city of Swansea, passing through some of Wales' most spectacular scenery and picturesque towns during its 3 hr 40 min journey.

By car edit

Access via the M54 from the West Midlands conurbation, then the A5 from Telford. On-street parking is available in the town centre, but it is extremely limited and expensive, therefore Park & Ride schemes operate, which enable the visitor to park outside the town in a large car park, and take a bus costing £2 return per person (children under 16 are free; students of the local college £1, holders of the English concessionary bus pass £1 after 9:30AM), 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 west). The park and ride service does not operate on a Sunday or bank holidays. There are several cheaper carparks run by the council near the town centre; there is a map and guide to charges available. There is also an NCP car park on Wyle Cop, although this is more expensive than the council car parks.

By bus edit

Shrewsbury is served by the London - Aberystwyth (route 409) and the London - Shrewsbury (routes 410 and 420) coach services (operated by National Express).

There are various local bus services, mainly linking Shrewsbury with the suburbs and other towns and villages in Shropshire and the surrounding area. No local buses run on Sundays or bank holidays.

Get around edit

There are Park and Ride services from Oxon, Harlescott and Meole Brace to the town centre and back (see above). Other bus services go from the 2 bus station in the town centre to places in town and further out in the county.

Cabs are available at the train station on Castle Gates. There are numerous local taxi companies.

Roads inside the town centre are busy. There are many car parks a short distance away from the town centre available, e.g. St Julian's Friars, Abbey Foregate and Frankwell (see above).

See edit

The Dingle, a sunken garden in Quarry Park
  • 1 Shrewsbury Castle and Shropshire Regimental Museum, Castle St, SY1 2AT (immediately next to Shrewsbury Rail Station), +44 1743 358516, . Museum: spring and autumn M-W F Sa 10:30AM-4PM, summer M-W F Sa 10:30AM-5PM, Su 10:30AM-4PM, closed in winter; Grounds: all year round, M-Sa 9AM-5PM and summer Sundays. Shrewsbury Castle was built in the eleventh century. The castle now belongs to Shropshire 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. £4 for museum (seniors £3; children £1, former members of Shropshire regiments and under-5s free). Entry to the grounds only is free..    
  • 2 Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, The Music Hall, The Square, SY1 1LH (in the Square), +44 1743 258885. Municipal art gallery and museum. The museum charts the development of Shrewsbury as a city from pre-historic times to the modern day in an interesting series of exhibitions.    
  • 3 Roman Catholic Cathedral, Town Walls. Pugin church - notable for its fine stained glass by Margaret Rope.
  • 4 St Chad's Church, St Chad's Terrace, SY1 1JX (in the south part of the town centre, opposite the Quarry Park), +44 1743 365478, . M-Sa 8AM-4PM (W -5PM). Anglican church dating from 1792, has a unique circular nave.    
  • 5 St Mary's Church, +44 1743 357006. M-Sa 8AM-4PM. Stained glass windows dating from 14th-19th century.    
  • 6 Quarry Park. Large park next to the river. The local swimming baths are located in the park. There is a children's play area and the Dingle, a landscaped sunken garden. Many events take place in the Quarry throughout the year, most notably the Shrewsbury Flower Show in mid-August. It is advisable to avoid the area at night.  
  • 7 Bear Steps' buildings.
  • 8 St Alkmund's Church, St Alkmund's Square, SY1 1UH, +44 1743 365478. about 10AM-4PM most days. 1100-year-old church in a enviable location. Offers a wide programme of events throughout the year. Nearby Fish Street and the former church of St Julian are worth a look.
  • 9 Rowley's House, Barker St. This 17th-century house on Barker Street houses was the municipal art gallery and museum, is now used by the University.
  • 10 Coleham Pumping Station, Coleham, SY3 7DN. Looking like a non-conformist chapel to industry, this pumphouse completed in 1901 has two massive beam engines to move the city's sewage. They're steamed into motion on selected summer open days.

Further out edit

  • 11 Wroxeter Roman City, Wroxeter Roman City, Wroxeter, SY5 6PH (sat nav: SY3 6PJ) (6 miles south-east of Shrewsbury), +44 1743 761330. Sa Su 10AM-4PM. At one stage, Viroconium Cornoviorum was the fourth-largest city in Roman Britain. The main attractions today are the remains of the bath house and a tall section of free-standing wall, as well as reconstructed town house, an impressive piece of experimental archaeology using only methods and materials available to Roman Britons. adults £7.20, children £4.30, concessions (students or over 65s) £6.50.    
  • 12 Haughmond Abbey, Upton Magna, Uffington, SY4 4RW (3 miles north-east of Shrewsbury off B5062), +44 1743 709661. 10AM-4PM. Free.    
  • 13 Snailbeach is a village in a landscape convulsed by 19th century lead mines.

Do edit

  • 1 Old Market Hall, The Square, SY1 1LH (in the Square), +44 1743 281281, . Open from 10AM, Sundays 11AM until 15 minutes after last screening. Films usually show at approx 2:30PM, 5:30PM and 8PM daily. It was opened in 1596 as a market hall in the centre of Shrewsbury. This Elizabethan building is now a performing arts venue showing touring or amateur dramatics productions. There is also an arts cinema showing foreign-language and artistic films of considerable variety. There is also a cafe-bar and digital arts exhibition. Film screenings before 5PM £8-9, concessions (children, full-time students and persons of State Pension age) £7-8, evening showings £9-10, concessions £8-9. Free for Digital Arts exhibitions and cafe-bar.
  • LOOPFEST, Shrewsbury Town Centre, . Annual free music festival held throughout the town at various venues.

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 mixed (formerly girls) day school. However the vast majority of the town's resident children attend one of the town's seven comprehensive schools.

For further education, Shrewsbury Colleges Group occupies two sites in the town center - named Welsh Bridge Campus and English Bridge Campus, after the bridges they are located next to. Both of these campuses take on the sites of older secondary schools, both in fact containing nationally protected buildings. The college attracts students from many surrounding towns, including Oswestry and Telford. College students can be seen all around the town center on college days, or in the town's train station.

The University Centre Shrewsbury offers a small range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, accredited by the University of Chester. International students are welcomed from around the world. Shrewsbury Colleges Group also provides various Higher Education courses, in the form of HNC and HND courses.

Buy edit

  • 1 Shrewsbury Fairtrade Shop, 8 St Johns Hill, SY1 1JD, +44 1743 352048. Sells a variety of craft and gift items from around the world, cards, Fairtrade food & drink.
  • 2 Darwin Shopping Centre, SY1 2BW.
  • 3 Pride Hill Shopping Centre.
  • Riverside Mall.
  • 4 Sundorne Retail Park, Arlington Way, SY1 4YA.
  • 5 Meole Brace Retail Park, Hereford Rd, SY3 9NB.

Eat edit

Shrewsbury biscuits
  • Shrewsbury biscuits. The town's own delicacy is a classic English dessert. They are made from dough that contains sugar, flour, egg, butter and lemon zest; dried fruit is also often added.    

Budget edit

Mid-range edit

Splurge edit

Drink edit

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

  • Café bar. In Old Market Hall - a nice cafe and free wifi in the centre of town.
  • 1 The Golden Cross Hotel, 14 Princess St, SY1 1LP, +44 1743 362507.
  • Dun Cow, Abbey Foregate.
  • Cromwells, Dogpole.
  • Loggerheads, Church Street. 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 Street.
  • King's Head, Mardol.
  • Mardol, Belle Vue.
  • 2 Boathouse, New St SY3 8JQ, +44 1743 231658. M-Th noon-2:30PM, 6-9PM; F-Su noon-9PM. Mock-Tudor inn with deck terrace on river bank next to suspension footbridge. Good grills.
  • Hencote Vineyard 2 miles north of town also has a restaurant and glamping lodges.

Sleep edit

Connect 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.

Go next edit

Map of places with Wikivoyage articles nearby

Routes through Shrewsbury
WrexhamOswestry  NW   E  → merges with  Telford/Birmingham
NorthwichWem  N   S  Church StrettonLudlow
ENDS AT   AT BATTLEFIELD ROUNDABOUT  SW   NE  Market DraytonStoke-on-Trent
Llanfair CaereinionWelshpool    W   SE  Much WenlockBridgnorth

This city travel guide to Shrewsbury is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.