Shrewsbury, England Tourist Attractions
Shrewsbury, county town of Shropshire, lies on a kind of peninsula in a loop of the Severn, England's longest river, which is spanned here by two imposing bridges, the English Bridge and the Welsh Bridge.
The old half-timbered houses and narrow streets give this beautiful Tudor town its distinctive atmosphere. As the center of a wide farming area it is a town full of life and activity, particularly on market days.This settlement on the Severn, named Scrobesbyrig by the Anglo-Saxons, had already been founded in the fifth century and was conquered by King Offa of Mercia at the end of the eighth century. Written reference to Shrewsbury as a settlement of 252 houses grouped around the castle and the four churches was first made in the Doomsday Book of 1086. After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror gave the estates to his friend Roger de Montgomery and created him the first Earl of Shrewsbury; he subsequently had the castle built in about 1071 and founded Shrewsbury Abbey. For centuries the town was a border fortress on the frontier with Wales, and in 1220 its defenses were strengthened by Henry III with the erection of a town wall. Edward I, who based his seat of government in Shrewsbury, conquered Wales in 1283, and had numerous fortresses built along the coast of North Wales. Edward VI founded the famous Shrewsbury Public School, which counted Charles Robert Darwin among its former pupils; the satirist Samuel Butler (1612-1680) was headmaster of the school for many years. The poet Mary Gladys Webb (1881-1927), who sang the praises of the former county of Shropshire in her work, lies buried in the churchyard.Shrewsbury has over 600 notable buildings including the castle, which serves as a museum; Shrewsbury Abbey and the birthplace of Charles Darwin. Shrewsbury is also host to a number of festivals each year including the Shrewsbury Flower Show, Street Theatre Festival, and Folk Festival.
The castle, converted into a dwelling-house by Thomas Telford at the end of the 18th century, stands on the northeast narrow side of Shrewsbury. Laura's Tower, named after the daughter of William Poultney, the owner at that time, affords a fine view across the town.
Address: Castle Street, Shrewsbury SY1 5AT, England
Opening hours: 10am-4:30pm; Closed: Sun, Mon
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Gift shop
Shropshire Regimental Museum
Shrewbury Castle now houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum, displaying uniforms and weapons dating from the time of the Napoleonic Wars.
St Mary's Church
The foundation stone of St Mary's Church is thought to have been laid 100 years before the Norman Conquest. After its destruction, work began in 1170 on a new church; the present large building is predominantly in the Early English style. The collegiate church, with its graceful spire, is famous for its magnificent 14th and 15th century glass windows. These include the east window featuring the tree of Jesse, originally located in St Chad's. Equally impressive are the 19 wooden panels depicting scenes from the life of St Bernhard, which were produced about 1500 by the master of St Severin in Cologne and were later sold to St Mary's by Altenberg Abbey in Saxony. Trinity Chapel, completed in 1630, is embellished with glass windows from St Jaques in Lüttlich.
The Abbey Church, built from red sandstone and dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, is all that remains of a Benedictine monastery founded by Roger de Montgomery in 1083. By approaching the Abbey from the English Bridge the striking early-Gothic west tower, decorated with a statue of Edward III, can be admired. The large west window, embellished with coats of arms, dates from Richard II's reign. It is also worth viewing James Pearson's altar (1888) and the many tombs, the oldest of which dates from 1300.
St Alkmund Church
St Alkmund Church is named after the son of the king of Northumbria, and is thought to have been founded by Aethelflede, the daughter of Alfred the Great. Only the medieval tower remains; the nave dates from the end of the 18th century. The colorful east window was created by Francis Eginton in 1795.
St Chad's Church
Shrewsbury's oldest church is the 15th century Old St Chad's Church in Belmont. After its tower collapsed in 1788 the congregation decided to build a new church, the New St Chad's. Designed by George Stuart, New St Chad's was officially opened in 1792.
St Julian's Parish Church
The tower of the former St Julian's Parish Church was completed at the end of the 12th century, while the nave was built by T. F. Pritchard in the Classical style at the end of the 18th century. The church now houses a craft center.
Shrewsbury contains many well-preserved 16th century half-timbered buildings, including the Old Market Hall (1596), Owen's Mansion (1592) and Ireland's Mansion (1580). Abbot's House, a typical 15th century half-timbered house, stands in Butcher's Row, Shrewsbury's oldest street.
Rowley's House Museum
Rowley's House Museum, an impressive half-timbered house built in 1590 and situated in Barker Street, contains an extensive collection of prehistoric, Roman and medieval finds, including exhibits from the Roman settlement of Viroconium at Wroxeter (including a 12th century silver mirror), a late-medieval glass window from the Abbey Church and local costumes.
Clive House Museum (closed)
Clive House, an elegant Georgian house on College Hill, houses a porcelain museum with a fine Shropshire collection of 18th and 19th century Coalport and Caughley pieces. Note also the small collection of watercolors, the Victorian kitchen and other period room settings.
Charles Darwin's Birthplace
A row of old houses line Frankwell Street, which leads north from Welsh Bridge to Charles Darwin's birthplace.
The former quarry, simply called "The Quarry", from which came much of the stone used in Shrewsbury's buildings from the 16th century onwards, is now an attractive park with a small lake and a beautiful flower garden, the Dingle.
Battle of Shrewsbury
The Battle of Shrewsbury, fought in 1403, is featured through various exhibits. The battle was significant as it was the first time that the English longbow was used on both sides. The Battle of Shrewsbury was fought between King Henry IV and a rebellious group led by the Percy family.
Haughmond Abbey is an English Heritage property founded for Augustinian canons in 1135. Very little is left of the 12th C church but the Abbot's Landing, the oriel window the infirmary hall and the chapterhouse are still intact.
Moreton Corbet Castle
Shrewbury International Music Festival
Shropshire Way Walking Trail
This 172mi/277km Shropshire Way Walking Trail runs through the Shropshire countryside, passing the towns of Shrewsbury and Ludlow, as well as Ironbridge and Stokesay Castle.
At Hawkstone Park visitors can explore cliffs, caves, towers, monuments, tunnels, passageways and secret valleys.
Address: Weston-Under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury SY4 5UY, England
Opening hours: Mar 24 to Oct 31: 10am-6pm
Entrance fee in GBP: Adult £10.00
Useful tips: Bring appropriate shoes for hiking and climbing. Admission cost varies. It opens from 10am. until sunset from April to October.
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Mitchell's Fold Stone Circle
Town Walls Tower
Berrington - Cantlop Bridge
Map of Shrewsbury Attractions