Looking for Shropshire Towns to visit? The Bumper Crew has it covered! Aside from Shropshire having loads of lovely towns to visit, it’s a little under the tourist radar, so it’s not often jam-packed with people. And it’s sparsely populated for the size of the county, leaving plenty of space for you to enjoy the county. Shropshire is one of England’s least densely populated counties, with fewer than 324,000 people spread over 3,487 km². That is less than 93 people per km² for the fact finders among you.
Shropshire is also a wonderful county to drive around. You can drive miles on lovely roads without stopping, and the scenery is beautiful with all the rolling hills and gorgeous landscapes. Located in the West Midlands region of England, Shropshire is known for its picturesque countryside, historic towns, and castles. It’s regarded by many as the birthplace of industry because it’s home to Ironbridge Gorge – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The county’s main town is Shrewsbury, famous for its medieval streets and incredible architecture, which we’ll talk about shortly.
Folk from Shropshire are called Salopians, which isn’t a great name at all, but there are some great folk from Shropshire. Please keep reading to find out who they are! Finally, did you know Shropshire doesn’t have a city? It’s one of a dozen counties in England that isn’t home to a city and helps contribute to Shropshire’s unique charm. So, read on to discover the very best Shropshire towns to visit!
The Best Shropshire Towns to Visit
1 | Shrewsbury
Topping our list of the best towns to visit in Shropshire is Shrewsbury. As you already know from our introduction, Shrewsbury is the main town of Shropshire. You won’t know that we’d go as far as to say Shrewsbury is one of the loveliest towns in the UK. The beauty of Shrewsbury is that it’s big enough to be interesting, with plenty of things to do, but small enough to have maintained its charm.
Shrewsbury has a fascinating history and was the birthplace of a super-famous scientist you might have heard of – Charles Darwin. He was a naturalist who developed the theory of natural selection and is regarded as one of history’s most famous biologists. And you can catch a glimpse of him in bronze in front of Shrewsbury Library.
There are plenty of things to do around Shrewsbury, from wandering the medieval streets to visiting a prison, taking a boat ride, and even finding Ebeneezer Scrooge’s grave! A visit to Shropshire wouldn’t be complete without a stroll around this beautiful town, so make sure it’s on the itinerary for your visit!
2 | Ludlow
Wrapped in beautiful countryside, Ludlow is another must-visit town in Shropshire, where you can experience a taste of England’s rich history and heritage. Ludlow is a medieval market town in the south of the county known for its rich history and heritage. The town is surrounded by the River Teme, the perfect location for yet another of Shropshire’s castles. For a small town, there are plenty of things to do in Ludlow to occupy you for a few hours, including a visit to Ludlow Castle, a museum, a wonderful church, lovely walks, some tremendous independent retail, a brewery and plenty of incredible old architecture to gawp at.
There’s a famous quote about Ludlow by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams: “Ludlow is the loveliest town in England”, and there’s definitely some truth to it. The town is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and beautiful Broad Street, which leads to BroadGate and the River Teme. And if you’re a foodie, Ludlow is the place for you! Ludlow hosts a nationally acclaimed food festival in the summer, which claims to be the original food festival, which started back in 1995.
3 | Ironbridge
Ironbridge sits within Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s famous for its iron bridge, which was built in 1779 and was the first arch bridge in the world made of cast iron. Ironbridge is also widely considered the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. But there’s plenty more to Ironbridge and Ironbridge Gorge than just a bridge.
The Gorge is pretty big, given it encapsulates a few other towns besides Ironbridge. And there are a surprising number of things to do in Ironbridge Gorge, especially if you’re interested in Britain’s industrial past. There’s even a place called Blists Hill Victorian Town, a living museum that brings to life the world of Victorian Britain with streets, shops, and crafts from back in the day, like the printers and blacksmiths. It’s one of the best open-air museums in the country!
4 | Bridgnorth
Next up is Bridgnorth, which happens to be located a few miles down the River Severn from Ironbridge in the Severn Valley. It’s another wonderful town in Shropshire with plenty of things to do to keep you occupied for a few hours. Bridgnorth’s little claim to fame is the castle ruins lean at a 17-degree angle, three times more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Granted, the ruins aren’t quite as impressive as the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Bridgnorth was also where the world’s first paying passenger locomotive was built.
The town is split into two, High and Low Town, but most of the interesting stuff is in High Town. See if you can find the face in the rocks at Lavington’s Hole at the bottom of High Town. You’ll also find a funicular railway and a heritage railway in Bridgnorth, plus a cool ice cream shop that serves from a tiny caravan! Check out our things to do in Bridgnorth to discover everything the town has to offer!
5 | Whitchurch
Nestled in the picturesque countryside of northern Shropshire sits Whitchurch. It’s Shropshire’s most northern market town (which runs every Friday!), and definitely worth a visit. Although Whitchurch isn’t very big, it’s a delightful place bursting with character, charm and friendly locals. There’s an abundance of independent cafes and retailers, adding to the town’s appeal. There are also a few other bits to do besides indulging in retail therapy and dosing up on caffeine, including a visit to the lovely St. Alkmund’s Church or taking a stroll around the picturesque Georgian Jubilee Park or along the Shropshire Union Canal, which is a 10-15 minute walk out of the town centre.
Whitchurch’s roots stretch all the way back to the Roman times, and although you will find little remaining from the Roman period, you will find loads of interesting architecture from later periods, with wonky windows and walls dotted about the town. Whitchurch also has a couple of festivals worth visiting, like the Whitchurch Food and Drink Festival or the Blackberry Fair (they happen in May and October, respectively). And interestingly, the famous Lands End to John O’Groats cycle routes passes through Whitchurch.
6 | Much Wenlock
Up the hill on the other side of the Severn Valley from Ironbridge, Much Wenlock is a charming little town full of character and a rather interesting and surprising connection to the Olympic Games. Remember back at the London 2012 Olympic Games when there was a mascot called Wenlock?
This is why: the origin of the modern Olympic Games can be traced back to Much Wenlock. In 1850, a guy named William Penny Brookes, a local advocate for self-improvement, organised the first annual games in the village as an alternative to the prevailing activities of excessive drinking and fighting. Over time, the games gained significance, and Brookes played a crucial role in establishing the modern Olympics. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1895, a year before the first international Olympic Games were held at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.
Beyond the Olympic Games, Much Wenlock has a few things to occupy you, including the beautiful ruins of Wenlock Priory and some lovely walks along Wenlock Edge. You might even catch a glimpse of a Highland cow.
7 | Bishops Castle
Back down in the south of Shropshire, you’ll find Bishops Castle. It’s a small but quirky town. While wandering around, you’ll notice the colourful buildings, including the spotty house, zip house and a load of elephants. Why are there elephants in Bishops castle? We know you’re dying to find out!
It’s because, during the Second World War, some circuses moved their elephants to Bishops Castle to avoid the bombings in the cities. The elephants were housed in stables at The Castle Hotel. There’s one stable left, which you can stay in, called The Elephant Gatehouse. The best time to visit Bishops Castle is in February when the Art Festival is on. Bishops Castle is also home to the Three Tuns Brewery. According to Visit England, it’s the oldest brewery in the country and the home of real ale since it started brewing in 1642!
8 | Church Stretton
Church Stretton is towards the south of Shropshire and is another small town worth a visit. According to the internet, it’s another market town. It seems that every town in Shropshire is a market town! Anyway, the best thing about Church Stretton is its location – it’s right at the foothills of the Long Mynd. The Long Mynd is renowned for walks, ponies and epic night skies (it’s on the Dark Skies Discovery website!) and is somewhere you can’t miss if you’re an outdoors lover.
Around the Long Mynd, you’ll find a network of footpaths and trails for walking, cycling, and horse riding, and you might even catch a glimpse of a red kite or buzzard if that’s your thing! Church Stretton is also the gateway to Carding Mill Valley, which forms part of the Long Mynd. From there, you’ll find three circular walks and even waterfalls. And if you’re a National Trust member, you can park for free.
9 | Oswestry
Oswestry is another market town in North Shropshire and dates back to Roman times. There are a few interesting things for you around the town. One of which is Oswestry Castle. These days it’s a ruin, but it dates back to the 11th century and is pretty easy to miss. It’s a mound behind some buildings at the top of the town but offers decent views over Oswestry and the countryside. St Oswalds Church is also worth a look, and there’s a fantastic antique shop called Cambrian House Emporium, full of nostalgia for us with a few years under our belt! It’s on the opposite side of the Cambrian Heritage Railway.
But the highlight of Oswestry is Whittington Castle which is not technically in Oswestry (but it’s close enough!), but 3 miles northeast. Whittington Castle is small but remarkable, with an impressive gate and moat and is so picture-worthy you must visit.
10 | Market Drayton
Market Drayton is another small market town (shocker!), but this one is in the county’s northeast. Like many Shropshire towns, Market Drayton has some pretty nice old buildings. There aren’t a lot of things to do there, but it’s worth a wander around nonetheless. If you’re a beer lover, Market Drayton is home to Joule’s Brewery, which you can take a tour around, but only once a month, sadly. The Shropshire Union Canal Main Line also runs through Market Drayton, with canals always offering peaceful walks.
11 | Newport
Last on our list of Shropshire towns to visit is Newport. Newport has a vibrant high street with plenty of independent retail, including trendy coffee shops, tea rooms, and bakeries. There isn’t a huge amount to do in Newport, but it’s worth a visit to wander up and down the high street. And there’s a little cobbled street called St Marys Street that runs behind St Nicholas Church. Take a wander up there. It’s short but sweet. There’s also a canal, but not in the true sense. It’s a lost waterway that isn’t connected to a canal and is more of a nature reserve than a canal these days.
Map of Shropshire Towns to Visit
Below is a map of the best Shropshire towns to visit to help plan your route and itinerary around the county.
10 Facts About Shropshire
- The world’s first iron bridge was built in Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The world’s first multi-storey iron-framed building was Ditherington Flax Mill, built in Shrewsbury.
- The world’s first fare-paying passenger locomotive was built in Bridgnorth.
- Shrewsbury was the birthplace of Charles Darwin.
- The tallest column in England is in Shrewsbury. It’s taller than Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.
- Shropshire is the home of the Sweet Pea flower.
- And the home of the British Hegdhog society.
- There are 660 listed buildings in Shrewsbury.
- England’s oldest brewery in Bishops Castle has been brewing since 1642.
- There are no cities in Shropshire.
Is Shropshire worth visiting?
100% yes! Shropshire is a wonderful county that is underrated. It’s largely under the tourist radar and is sparsely populated, making it a great place to escape the UK’s larger cities. It’s also a wonderful place to explore the great outdoors and has an abundance of beautiful towns and villages, plus a fascinating history.
When is the best time to visit Shropshire?
Shropshire is a beautiful destination all year round. But we’d recommend visiting between spring and autumn. The weather is better for exploring the gorgeous towns and enjoying the outdoor scene, which Shropshire is famous for.
What are some of the most beautiful towns to visit in Shropshire?
What are some of the most beautiful towns to visit in Shropshire? Shropshire is home to many picturesque towns, including Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Much Wenlock, Bridgnorth, and Whitchurch. Each town has its own unique charm and history, with beautiful architecture and plenty of things to see and do.
The Best Shropshire Towns to Visit
- Much Wenlock
- Bishops Castle
- Church Stretton
- Market Drayton
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