While there are many places to visit in England, Shrewsbury isn’t listed very high on the list of tourist destinations. This can be counted as a plus. This medieval town in the borderlands near Wales offers castles, festivals, abbeys, and beautiful architecture.
The town, located on the River Severn, is a short two and a half hour day trip, according to National Rail Enquiries, from London and well worth the stop.
Shrewsbury is the home a famous fictional detective, Brother Cadfael. The medieval monk, featured in Ellis Peter’s books and later gained a wider audience in the United States on PBS’s “Mystery” did his sleuthing in the Abbey, which was founded as a Benedictine Monastery in 1083.
Visiting the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul is free, and the scenery surrounding the site is beautiful. They do ask that you check in first on the opening times in case there’s a wedding, funeral, or regular services.
Old Market Hall and The Square
Within Shrewsbury’s Square is the Old Market Hall, the former cloth market that’s been refurbished as an arts venue and cafe. Built in 1596, the current square was essentially a pool or bog. Today the square is the centerpiece of the town featuring food markets and holiday and music events.
The cafe bar features teas, cofees, wines, sandwiches except on Sundays, cakes and snacks. It’s open from 10 a.m. until late most days and closes at 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Shrewsbury Castle and The Shropshire Regimental Museum
The high walls of this castle loom large over the town, so it would be hard for any visitor to miss. Visit the grounds, which are free to visit Mondays through Saturdays and open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The museum within the castle, whose oldest portions date back to between 1066 and 1074, includes historic relics of the Shropshire Regimental Museum Trust.
Wroxeter Roman City
Long before Shrewsbury was a medieval town, there was Viroconium, the fourth largest city in Roman Britain. Located five miles east of Shrewsbury, Wroxeter houses second century municipal baths to visit and the ruins of a giant gateway. A replica of a Roman town house was built for a television show and is also available to visit.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington D.C. in Germantown, Maryland.