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Historical sights, exciting attractions, stunning views and more: 50 reasons to be proud of Shropshire

By Cathy Stanworth | Features | Published:

From historical sights to picturesque landscapes and exciting attractions - Shropshire has a lot to offer.

South Shropshire Hills

Here, we give you 50 reasons to be proud of the region...

1. Telford Town Park is always a great place to take the family to for an enjoyable day out - and it’s free. It has five play areas including a trim trail, spiders web climbing frame, rocket slide and toddlers sand pit area. There is also a play area with wheelchair access, an aerial ropes course, a mini golf adventure course, seasonal water play, fishing pools, learning zones, nature and heritage trails, a sensory garden, a local nature reserve, Telford Cycle Centre, the superb Wonderland, a visitor centre with a snack bar, floral gardens and a packed events programme.

2. The strikingly picturesque and romantic ruins of Whittington Castle near Oswestry are steeped in much history, tales of bitter border warfare, romance and legend. It hosts events and has a tea room and bookshop. A small village community acquired a 99 year lease to manage the Castle that sits in the village centre. The Trust is delighted to announce that a £1.5m project to repair and restore Whittington Castle has been completed with the assistance of a £950k grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Telford Town Park

3. Picturesque Bridgnorth is split into Low Town, on the edge of the River Severn and High Town, being conveniently connected by the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway. On the very peak of High Town are the remains of the Bridgnorth Castle, next to St Mary Magdalene Church, and in the centre of the High Street is the seventeenth century Bridgnorth Town Hall. Also located in the High Street is the Northgate Museum, while on branching streets visitors will find many other historic buildings such as Bishop Percy’s House.

4. With over 700 years of history, Chirk Castle is the last castle from this period still lived in today, with its many occupants have left behind lavish interiors and a beautiful and eclectic collection. The state rooms include a 17th-century Long Gallery, grand 18th-century saloon with rich tapestries, servants’ hall, and the restored East Range, containing the library and 1920s style Bow Room showing off Chirk Castle’s connections to high society. The award-winning gardens cover 5.5 acres.

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5. Built for the first Lord Berwick in 1785, Attingham Hall and its beautiful parkland were owned by one family for more than 160 years. As their fortunes rose and fell they proved themselves to be spenders, savers and saviours - providing a fascinating story of love and neglect whose mark still stands in Attingham’s rooms today. Enjoy seeing everything from the flashy but flawed Picture Gallery roof that contributed to the bankruptcy of the second Lord Berwick, to the prized paintings of the cattle that the fifth Lord loved.

Chirk Castle

6. The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Church Stretton features hills, rolling farmland, woods and river valleys in a varied and special landscape which is rich in geology and wildlife and ingrained with heritage. Off the beaten track and tranquil, this is a living, working place, loved by locals and visitors alike for its quality of environment, for walking and activities of all levels, and for relaxation and inspiration.

7. The Battlefield Falconry Centre in Shrewsbury has a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy. There are over 30 different birds of prey to see including some wonderful species of owls, falcons and hawks. All of the birds are provided with the highest accommodation and they are cared for in a beautiful environment with spectacular surroundings. The centre is aiming to make it the number one attraction in Shropshire for a falconry centre of its kind.

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8. Telford Ski Slope is next to the Madeley Court Sports Centre on the outskirts of Madeley, Telford. There are two dry slopes: an 85-metre main slope with draglift and a nursery slope. Open practice is available for all those who can turn, stop, and use the lift. A range of lessons are available: “Tinies” is for children aged 3-5; “White Tigers” is a fun coaching session for ages 6-15; the adult ski school is suitable for beginners to advanced; daytime ski schools are for the over 50s; snowboard lessons for ages 8+; and family lessons and race training.

9. If ice skating is more your kind of thing, there are hours of fun to be had at Telford Ice Rink at Quentin Gate. You can practice your skills on the rink that have been used by Dancing on Ice stars Beth Tweddle and Lukasz Rozycki, not to mention the all-conquering Telford Tigers ice hockey team.

Telford Ice Rink

10. Hoo Farm is a family-run countryside attraction nestling in 32 acres of woodland and paddocks in the heart of rural Shropshire. It offers a fun day out for all the family with a strong message about conservation.

11. The impressive ruins of Moreton Corbet Castle, at Moreton Corbet, Shawbury, are the product of over 500 years of building. The earliest surviving remains are those of a stone castle begun in about 1200, including a fine gatehouse.

12. The National Cycle Museum in Temple Street, Llandrindod Wells, is home to over 260 cycles from an 1818 hobby horse, Victorian solid-tyred machines, classic lightweights to the latest carbon-fibre designs. They also have an online library.

13. Always a hit with the kids, The Severn Valley Railway is a full-size standard-gauge railway line, running regular, mainly steam-hauled, passenger trains between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth in Shropshire, a distance of approximately sixteen miles.

14. Lakeside Plant and Garden Centre - often called the 'Best Kept Secret in Telford' is also home to a dedicated Exotic Zoo, which is home to a range of unusual animals who would otherwise have been homeless. It is very popular with schools and families.

15. The Hawkstone Park Follies is an historic woodland fantasy with cliffs, crags, caves, deep woods and a series of extraordinary monuments built over 200 years ago. After years of neglect the magical landscape was lovingly restored and reopened in 1993.

Bridgnorth Castle

16. Shrewsbury has its own 29-acre parkland known as The Quarry. Throughout the year you’ll find a host of events taking place, including the carnival, Shrewsbury Regatta and Dragon Boat Racing to name just a few. At its centre lies The Dingle.

17. With a world-class collection of aircraft, special exhibitions, films,artwork, engines, missiles, photographs, medals and uniforms and research and education facilities, RAF Cosford Museum takes an innovative approach to telling the stories of the RAF.

18. A big draw to families, The Telford Steam Railway is a heritage railway located at Horsehay, Telford, formed in 1976. The railway is operated by volunteers on Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter to the end of September, and at Christmas.

19. The Old Oswestry Hill Fort was built and occupied during the Iron Age (800 BC to AD 43) and is one of the best-preserved hillforts in Britain. A fine example of a multiple rampart hillfort, it is one of a dense band of hillforts in eastern Wales and the Marches.

20. Popular with walkers of all ages and abilities, The Wrekin rises south of Wellington as a well-known landmark. It has fantastic views, a challenging but manageable climb and beautiful natural surroundings close to town, and is understandably popular.

21. Founded in about 1148, Lilleshall Abbey is an Augustinian abbey that became a private residence after the Reformation, and was severely damanged during the Civil War during a Parliamentarian siege. Despite that, much of the church survives.

22. Situated in the 18th century Home Farm buildings, Acton Scott’s Historic Working Farm, near Church Stretton, is a wonderful attraction for all the family. Conceived by Thomas Acton more than a generation ago to keep alive 19th century farming practices. Tom’s foresight has helped to preserve many traditions that might otherwise have been lost to modern day farming techniques.

Whittington Castle

23. Covering as much as 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of heather-covered hills with stunning views of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Welsh hills, Carding Mill Valley is an important place for wildlife, geology and archaeology.

24. The world’s first Iron Bridge was erected over the River Severn in Ironbridge in 1779. This pioneering structure marked a turning point in English design and engineering; after it was built, cast iron came to be widely used in construction.

25. Stokesay Castle is the finest and best-preserved fortified medieval manor house in England. The castle was constructed at the end of the 13th century by Laurence of Ludlow, who at the time was one of the richest men in England.

26. A must for the green-fingered, Dorothy Clive Gardens, near Market Drayton, are informal and inspiring. Areas of interest include a new winter garden, an edible woodland, a woodland quarry with waterfall, an alpine pool and seasonal borders.

27. Dudmaston Hall, near Bridgnorth, has an enchanting wooded parkland, sweeping gardens and a beautiful house. The gardens provide amazing vistas and tranquillity while the orchard is the perfect place to relax and for the children to let off steam.

28. At the Mere at Ellesmere you can enjoy a gentle stroll overlooking The Mere, watch the many water birds that flock there and relax over tea and cake in the historic Boathouse. The Mere is the largest of nine meres and mosses that can be found in Shropshire.

29. The Severn Valley Country Park is a Green Flag award winning country park at Alveley, near Bridgnorth. It has a teashop and toilets, three way-marked trails, parking and a play area and is on the National Cycle Network (Route 45).

30. The Green Flag award-winning Severn Valley Country Park at Alveley has 126 acres of beautiful accessible countryside. It has regular team-led activities for kids, and safe, fun play ground for the kids to let off steam. Enjoy a drink and a snack in the cafe.

31. The Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre is based in the stunning Shropshire Hills. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, it is the perfect place to begin your exploration of the area.You can experience the Shropshire Hills Through Time exhibition.

Attingham Park

32. The tranquil ruins of Wenlock Priory stand in a picturesque setting on the fringe of beautiful Much Wenlock. An Anglo-Saxon monastery was founded here in about 680 by King Merewalh of Mercia, whose abbess daughter Milburge was hailed as a saint.

33. Looked after by English Heritage, Wigmore Castle, just outside of Leominster, was once the stronghold of the turbulent Mortimer family. Wigmore Castle was later dismantled to prevent its use during the Civil War.

34. At the great Powis Castle they care for one of the world’s greatest collections of art and historical items. You can discover exceptional statues, furniture and textiles from Europe, India and the Orient. In the grounds you can wander the Italianate terraces.

35. At Park Hall – The Countryside Experience near Oswestry – you can combine animal activities with an exciting mix of play. You can also step back in time to the classroom of the Victorian Era and dress up and experience life in the Victorian School.

36. Coalbrookdale changed the world forever – at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron you can discover how. New trails, galleries and interactives show how iron, and particularly Coalbrookdale iron, changed the course of the world.

37. At Wroxeter Roman City you can discover urban-living 2,000 years ago at Viriconium (Wroxeter) – once the fourth largest city in Roman Britain. You can wander the remains of the bathhouse and explore a reconstructed town house.

38. Discover the brewing magic of the award-winning Ludlow Brewery. Located in a specially converted railway shed, just over 50 metres north of Ludlow railway station, the building has been fully refurbished and houses a 20-barrel brewing system.

39. You can step into the 1870s at the award-winning Judge’s Lodging in Presteigne. Once called ‘the most commodious and elegant apartments for a judge in all England and Wales’, decay beckoned Radnorshire’s disused Shire Hall into obscurity.

40. Ludlow Castle is an outdoor ruin that is a wonderful place to take all the family to. The grounds and towers are great to explore, while a shop and tearoom caters for visitors. The castle hosts the Ludlow Spring Marches Transport Festival on May 12 and 13.

Close up portrait of a barn owl

41. Weston Park is a must-visit to enjoy both the house and its grounds. The house has a team of volunteer guides who are happy to enlighten you with information on the treasures of the rooms, as well as offer anecdotes from times gone by.

42. The extensive remains of Haughmond Abbey, an Augustinian abbey, include its abbots’ quarters, refectory and cloister. The substantially surviving chapter house has a frontage richly bedecked with 12th and 14th century carving and statuary.

43. Jackfield was once at the heart of British tile production and at Jackfield Tile Museum, you can see why. See stunning friezes, epic story-telling panels and a world-class gallery dedicated to British tiles or join a workshops to decorate your own tile.

44. At Enginuity, you can enjoy a fun-filled family day out at this science and technology centre which is packed with hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. Test your reactions against a robot, generate power from water or pull a locomotive by hand.

45. Rocket yourself back to the age of steam and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Victorian age at Blists Hill Victorian Town. You can discover more about Victorian life as you meet the ‘Victorian’ townsfolk and see them go about their daily life.

46. Reopening after March 29, Buildwas Abbey is the impressive ruins of a Cistercian abbey, including its unusually unaltered 12th century church and beautiful vaulted chapter house with a tiled-floored and decorative stonework.

47. Lake Vyrnwy was built in the 1880s to supply Liverpool with fresh water. It flooded the head of the Vyrnwy valley and submerged the village of Llanwddyn. The Lake Vyrnwy Nature Reserve and Estate is a popular spot for ornithologists, cyclists and hikers.

48. At The Dana Prison in Shrewsbury you can walk in the footsteps of prisoners who have been residents of the wings during the last 200 years, during an interactive two-hour prison tour. Tours are guided by ex-prison officers who once managed those very wings.

49. Take to the water on-board a Sabrina Boat Trip. Sabrina is a triple-deck passenger boat which holds 60 passengers in comfort whilst gently sailing around the picturesque River Severn loop. Fully licensed, well stocked bar with afternoon teas available to book.

50.The British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, is a perfect destination for a family day out, and its free! The centre is the birthplace of the famous ‘Spoon Gorilla’ and Knife Angel – the UK’s national monument against knife crime and there’s shopping too.

Cathy Stanworth

By Cathy Stanworth
Commercial Features Writer

Specialising in property for MNA publications. Keen to hear about any interesting homes/interiors/gardening stories.

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