On the border between England and Wales, Shropshire is the sort of picturesque place you’d expect the English countryside to be. With no major cities, the towns and villages of the county come across as pastoral and quaint. However, just because you think it may look sleepy, don’t pass it by or think that there’s only nature to see here. Shropshire has many interesting places to visit from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to landmark spots in world history. We’ve identified the top ten places we think you should visit below and you can let us know anything we’ve missed in the comments.
Three Tuns Brewery
You might be wondering why a brewery made this list, and the truth is that Three Tuns is actually the oldest licensed brewery in the United Kingdom. The brewery was founded in 1642, and the main brewery building is a Victorian structure that is Grade II listed. As is true for most breweries, three Tuns has its own tour; you can take to learn more about its history and even sample some of the wares.
Much Wenlock Museum
One of five towns in Shropshire, Much Wenlock is home to a very important part of sports history. It is here that Dr. William Penny Brookes conceived of the modern Olympic Games, beginning with the Wenlock Olympic Games in 1850 and then reaching out to the organizers of the Olympic Games revival in Athens that led to the first modern Olympics in 1896. The Much Wenlock Museum has exhibits dedicated to the town’s connection to the games and area history.
Offa’s Dyke represents an ancient part of Shropshire history. This earthwork boundary dyke was likely constructed by King Offa of Mercia in the 8th Century and follows the real boundary between England and Wales. Now in the care of English Heritage as a protected monument, the earthwork is about a mile walk from English Heritage’s car park, and there is a footpath you can take long it for a good walk in the country.
Weston Park is an excellent example of a Carolean country house. It was constructed in 1671 and for a time served as the home of the Earls of Bradford until the 7th Earl gave it to the nation. The house itself is a Grade I listed structure while the property also includes a Grade II listed Orangery, Grade II listed stable blocks, and landscape gardens designed by Capability Brown.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Ironbridge Gorge was formed by a glacial overflow in the last ice age. It was once known as Severn Gorge due to the fact that the River Severn flows through it, but the name changed after the construction of the Iron Bridge in 1779 that was the first of its kind in the world. The nearby Ironbridge Gorge Museums help to inform visitors more about the area’s history and importance to the Industrial Revolution.
Wroxeter Roman City
Viriconium, the Roman name for Wroxeter, was once the fourth-largest Roman city in Great Britain. Wroxeter Roman City is an English Heritage site committed to preserving this important piece of the nation’s past and features ruins of a bathhouse, townhouse, and market hall as well as a museum with exhibits and artefacts showing what life was once like here.
RAF Museum Cosford
If you have a love of all things that fly, you’ll want to check out the RAF Museum in Cosford. In addition to exhibits focused on the history and responsibilities of the RAF, you can see actual RAF aircraft up close including the Hawker Hurricane, the Sopwith Pup, Supermarine Spitfire, Harrier, Bristol 188, Avro Vulcan, and more. RAF Museum Cosford also has interactive exhibits on a flight that will help keep the little ones entertained and a VR experience that gives you the chance to fly a virtual Spitfire.
Shrewsbury Abbey was originally founded in 1083 by the Benedictine Order. A good bit of the original Norman abbey managed to survive a fire in the 16th Century while the rest was rebuilt in the Romanesque style. The abbey has played an important role in English history, serving as a place of pilgrimage and the meeting spot in 1283 for the first Parliament where the Commons had a legal role. Today, it continues to serve as a parish church and in literature was home to the mystery-solving monk, Brother Cadfael.
One of the last surviving fortified manor homes in the UK, Stokesay Castle was mostly built during the 13th Century. It has many wonderful features, including the 17th Century gatehouse, the courtyard, high walls, and a moat. Now in the care of English Heritage, you can wander through the home to see how life was lived here over the centuries and how the building changed over time. They also have a lovely tea room where you can stop for a respite.
Shropshire Hills AONB
Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a wonderfully preserved natural environment that takes up roughly 310 square miles and nearly one-fourth of the county of Shropshire. Within its borders, you can find a vast array of wildlife, large hills perfect for hiking, and ancient attractions such as Offa’s Dyke and Ludlow Castle. With so much to offer, it is unquestionably the number one place to visit in Shropshire.