For anyone coming to visit Shrewsbury, whether it’s the first time or the fiftieth, it’s always worth taking the time to explore the medieval buildings, walls and attractions of this most picturesque of towns. Between the castle, abbey, churches and Tudor houses, there are plenty of photo opportunities dotted around town. Then, when you’ve had your fill of sightseeing, there’s all these activities for you to tuck into, too.
Activities in Shrewsbury
If the sun’s shining, and you have a spare hour or two, take yourself away from the town centre and enjoy a walk around The Quarry. It’s the name of the stunning 29-acre park overlooking the River Severn, which dates all the way back to 1719.
Sitting right at its heart is The Dingle, a haven for horticulturalists, created by world-renowned gardener Percy Thrower. Fittingly, The Dingle is the home of the Shrewsbury Flower Show, which the Guinness Book of Records recognised as the longest-running flower show in the world, and for two days every August comes alive with more than 3 million flowers. That’s not all; in July, The Quarry also hosts Let’s Rock Shrewsbury, a hugely popular retro music festival. Plus, in June, it’s one of the focal points of the Shrewsbury Food Festival, which regularly features some of the favourite places to eat in Shrewsbury.
Old Market Hall
Old Market Hall
Your alternative cinema option is the Old Market Hall. It sits right at the heart of Shrewsbury, in The Square, the town’s historic focal point. The Old Market Hall building dates back to 1596. Over the years, its role changed from market house to warehouse, to corn exchange, to dancehall, to lecture theatre, to courthouse, to air raid shelter, and even hosted a travelling crocodile exhibition. Today, it’s been refurbished and is now used as a cinema – or rather a film and digital media centre. It runs a regular program of films from around the world, and also welcomes guest speakers from the digital media industry. Pay a visit and enjoy a movie in one of Shrewsbury’s most historic buildings.
Climbing The Walls
Another excellent indoor activity comes in the form of Climbing the Walls. No prizes for guessing what it is. Spread across more than 8,000 square feet, this state of the art climbing centre caters to all ages and abilities. The ‘Tall Walls’ rise 12 metres above the ground with endless routes for you to attempt. The ‘Action Walls’ have been carefully and creatively designed to challenge everyone from budding amateurs to bonafide mountain climbing moguls. Alternatively, for the daredevils that want to do away with harnesses, there’s also 200 square metres of bouldering walls to really test your mettle.
Towering over the town, Shrewsbury Castle is one of the top attractions in Shropshire. While the castle dates back to 1070 and the reign of William the Conqueror, the impressive red-brick structure that we see today is a far cry from the original fortification. It underwent extensive repairs in the 17th and 18th centuries before being purchased by the Shropshire Horticultural Society and given to the town. It now houses the collections of the Shropshire Regimental Museum Trust, including weapons, uniforms, medals and pictures dating back to the 18th century.
If you’re staying at our Shrewsbury Town Centre hotel, the castle is less than a five-minute walk away, so it's well worth paying a visit, even if it’s just to take in the panoramic views from Laura’s Tower.
Shrewsbury Abbey, like the castle, was built during the reign of William the Conqueror. While Henry VIII destroyed much of the original 11th-century abbey, some of its Norman features still survive today, while extensive restoration projects helped to return this former Benedictine monastery back to its former glory. Clearly, these walls contain a lot of history and the local tour guides do an incredible job in helping to bring it to life, with tidbits of fascinating information about the abbey, its stained glass windows, and religious artefacts.
Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery
Last on our list of great days out in Shrewsbury is a trip to the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. It was founded in 1835 and, despite having a number of different homes over the years, can be found in the former Music Hall, a stunning Victorian building on The Square. Spread across three floors, you can explore collections covering everything from the Roman period, the English Civil War, and Shropshire’s industrial revolution. The gallery also does a great job of highlighting the life of Charles Darwin, who was famously born in Shrewsbury.