The town of Shrewsbury is a historic medieval settlement situated in Shropshire, only nine miles away from the Welsh border and surrounded by the Shropshire Hills. This guide covers some of our favourite things to do in Shrewsbury and around Shropshire

What’s going on in Shrewsbury?

Although it may look like a sleepy town with a rural backdrop, there’s a lot going on in Shrewsbury.

It’s an wonderful place for family days out with the kids with activities happening throughout the year, but if you prefer something a bit more peaceful then there are walks through beautiful gardens and parks. Not to mention historical sites like castles, churches and buildings of interest, like the home of Charles Darwin.

We also have a whole host of independent shops, and cafes for when you’re feeling peckish or in need of a caffeine fix. Then there’s our river the Severn, the longest river in the United Kingdom, which encases the town centre.

So here it is, our definitive list of things to do in Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury Attractions

1. The River Severn

The River Severn is the star attraction of Shrewsbury, and she’s carved her name into the town making it the place that you see today.

You can discover Shrewsbury along the River Severn with our self-guided walk: A meander down Shrewsbury’s River Severn

Things to do in Shrewsbury - Walk along the River Severn

2. Sabrina Boat

A relaxing way to experience the River Severn is on our passenger boat, Sabrina. Enjoy breathtaking views from Spring through to Autumn on our daily cruises which last approximately 45 minutes.

Every Tuesday as the light fades to dusk, we run our much-loved Tuesday evening dinner cruise. We offer a large selection of dinner options from one of our four partner, all of which are just a short walk away.

If you’re looking for something even more laid back then the Sunday lunch cruise is for you; a 45-minute cruise where you can appreciate the spectacular views along Shrewsbury’s River Severn. Once we’ve docked it’s just a five-minute walk to The Bucks Head Inn. On arrival, they’ll serve your delicious 2-course Sunday lunch making a fitting end to a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

Probably the most unique of all the things to do in Shrewsbury is our music-themed boat cruises. Each cruise lasts around 3 hours, departing at 7:30pm with DJs spinning classic tunes to suit the evening’s theme. Once docked, we party until midnight.

Other theme nights include the Summer BBQ cruise, wine and cheese tasting, gin masterclasses and a range of other events.

Kingsland Bridge Shrewsbury

3. Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

A must-see for any visitor to Shrewsbury.

Situated in the old Music Hall, the Shrewsbury Museum has recently undergone a multimillion-pound redevelopment. Here you’ll discover:

  • The geology that formed Shropshire’s breath-taking landscape.
  • Shrewsbury’s humble beginnings, the involvement in the English Civil War, and plans for future development of the town.
  • How the River Severn made Shrewsbury one of the most important towns in the United Kingdom

No visit is the same; there are always lots of different things to do at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. Highlights include touring exhibitions and children’s activities, perfect for family days out in Shrewsbury. Not to mention a range of arts and crafts workshops, performances, and a host of unique festivals.

Find out what’s on at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

4. Attingham Park

Attingham Park is a National Trust site on the outskirts of Shrewsbury and is one of the best places to visit in Shropshire for the whole family. It features an elegant Regency mansion set in a great estate which includes a deer park, walled gardens and acres of beautiful country park.

Highlights of the mansion include an impressive picture gallery, atmospheric dining room and breathtaking boudoir.

If you’re visiting in Spring, then you’ll be in for a treat. Bluebells transform the woodland with a carpet of blue, attracting tourists from across the UK and beyond.

Attingham Park Day out with the Kids

Attingham Park” by Tony Hisgett is licensed under CC BY 2.0

5. Shrewsbury Historic Church Trail

A real highlight of Shrewsbury is the historic church trail.

Enjoy a self-guided trail around the town which includes St. Chad’s Church, the largest round church in the UK which overlooks The Quarry. Learn about its controversial history and the part Thomas Telford played in the original St. Chad’s Church.

Shrewsbury Abbey, home to TV series Brother Cadfael, is on the outskirts of Shrewsbury situated near the English bridge.

Visit the beautiful St. Mary’s Church where you’ll find an interesting plaque above the right-hand side of the main entrance.

And Shrewsbury’s Catholic Cathedral, although not as grand as some of the other Churches, it’s a place of intrigue.

St Chads Interesting Place in Shrewsbury to Visit

6. Shrewsbury Castle

Shrewsbury Castle is the epitome of defensive positions, being surrounded by the River Severn loop. Although the castle’s strategic position was the envy of many an enemy, the original structure was mostly raised during the Norman invasion and gifted to Roger de Montgomery in 1070.

The building you see today was part of the new defences built by Edward 1 during his conquest of Wales in the 13th century.

During the English Civil War, the castle was a royalist stronghold but was sacked after Parliamentarians were let in by a traitor at St. Mary’s Water Gate (known as Traitors Gate). Otherwise, the castle remained an impenetrable fortress.

Restored in 1790 by Thomas Telford, Shrewsbury Castle remained a place of residence until the Shropshire Horticultural Society purchased the building in the early 20th century and is now home to the Shropshire Regimental Museum.

While you’re here don’t miss a chance to see Laura’s Tower; if you’re lucky you might get a chance to walk up the terrace which offers panoramic views across Shrewsbury and the surrounding countryside.

Shrewsbury Castle

Shrewsbury Castle” by Nilfanion is licensed under CC BY 4.0

7. Wroxeter Roman City

Wroxeter is older than Shrewsbury and was once the fourth largest Roman city in Britain. In fact, the people who lived in the Roman City were likely the same people that founded our own town.

Visitors to Wroxeter can take a tour around the fascinating ruins and the museum, and even take an audio tour to reveal how Wroxeter worked in its heyday.

Wroxeter Roman City Shropshire

Wroxeter Roman City” by HARTLEPOOLMARINA2014 is licensed under CC BY 4.0

8. The Quarry

Perfect for wandering through on a summers evening or any time of the year for that matter, the Quarry has been a popular place to visit since the Victorian era.

Believe it or not, many of the sandstone buildings you pass on your sightseeing trip are made from the stones taken from the original sandstone quarry.

These days we have the fantastic Dingle, an ornamental garden which was initially designed by Percy Thrower, the original BBC Gardener’s World presenter.

It’s thanks to Percy that the Quarry is now home to the Shrewsbury Flower Show which is one of the towns biggest events. For two days in August, the Shrewsbury Flower Show boasts beautiful floral arrangements, musical spectaculars and much more.

Another highlight in Shrewsbury’s calendar is the Food Festival, also held in the Quarry. A whole weekend of fabulous, locally sourced food and drink, all offering delicious samples so you can try before you buy.

The Quarry, Shrewsbury

The Quarry Shrewsbury” by Nilfanion is licensed under CC BY 4.0

9. The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Shropshire Hills dominate the landscape surrounding Shrewsbury. Some of the closest of the Shropshire Hills include Caer Caradoc which can be seen towering over Church Stretton not far from the A49. Caradoc is not only one of the most beautiful of Shropshire’s Hills but it’s also home to an impressive Iron Age hillfort.

Looking to the south of Shrewsbury, you’ll find it hard to miss the Long Mynd, owned and managed by the National Trust.

We suggest a visit to Carding Mill Valley, as it’s a perfect place to hang out on warm summer days.

Cranberry Rock - Shropshire Area of Outstanding Beauty near Shrewsbury

10. Ironbridge Gorge

Further along the River Severn is the Ironbridge Gorge. Formed by a glacial overflow at the end of the last Ice Age, it is now the location of the famous Iron Bridge, which was the first bridge in the world to be made of cast iron.

Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so well worth a visit if you’re planning a day out of Shrewsbury.

Ironbridge Gorge Shropshire

Ironbridge, one of the most popular places to visit in Shropshire.

11. Dana Prison

One of the most unusual things to do in Shrewsbury is to visit the Dana Jail.

Although HM Prison Shrewsbury was decommissioned in 2013, the Dana Jail is open for visitors to experience something rather extraordinary. Led by ex-guards you’ll explore the dark history of this Victorian building (which sits on top of the original Georgian building) while looking around the cells, hanging room and communal spaces which give an insiders look at the life of an inmate. You can also take part in one of the exciting escape rooms offered at the new attraction.

Dana Prison Cool Place to Visit in Shrewsbury

Source: Dana Prison. Digital Image. Dana Prison Website