This guide covers some of our favourite things to do in Shrewsbury and around Shropshire.

What’s going on in Shrewsbury?

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.

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

It’s a 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 partner restaurants, 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 recently underwent a multimillion-pound redevelopment. Here you’ll discover:

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

No visit is the same to the former music hall; there are many 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. Shrewsbury Library

This is probably one of the most photographed areas of Shrewsbury and for a special reason. This is the site of the old Shrewsbury School and more importantly where Charles Darwin boarded from the age of nine.

Outside of the entrance to Shrewsbury Library, you’ll find a statue of Charles Darwin himself. Darwin didn’t like mainstream academic subjects of the time, and he wrote of the Shrewsbury School:

“Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than Dr Butler’s school. It was strictly classical, nothing else being taught, except a little ancient geography and history.”

In some ways, there’s an irony in the position of the sculpture of Charles Darwin with his back turned to the building.

But as such an avid reader, one has to wonder if he would have his back turned to the former school that is now the site of Shrewsbury Library.

Charles Darwin Walk in Shrewsbury

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. The Quarry

Perfect for wandering through on a summer evening or any time of the year for that matter, Shrewsbury’s Quarry Park 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. Many years previous this area was a quarry ditch where a young Charles Darwin would spend his time pondering over fossils he would find.

It’s thanks to Percy that the Quarry Park is now home to the Shrewsbury Flower Show which is one of the town’s 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 Park. A whole weekend of fabulous, locally sourced food and drink, all offering delicious samples so you can try them before you buy.

Along with the many festivals in the Quarry Park, you’ll find some hidden gems in Shrewsbury’s town centre. LOOPFEST, a free one-day live music and arts event is held across many locations including Shrewsbury Library, inside a variety of independent shops and pubs from the Wyle Cop down to Victoria Quay and into Frankwell the other side of the Welsh Bridge.

The Quarry, Shrewsbury

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

8. 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 insider 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

Shropshire Attractions near Shrewsbury

9. 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 that 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

10. 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

11. 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

12. 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 built by Thomas Telford who also designed the Dunkled Bridge that opened up the possibilities of trade to northern Scotland.

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.

Entertainment in Shrewsbury

13. Theatre Severn

Theatre Severn is a modern theatre with a traditional feel where audiences can enjoy performances in drama, dance, music and comedy. Home to a 650-seat main auditorium, the venue attracts some of the best touring productions and companies renowned at both a national and international level.

Take a look a what’s on in Shrewsbury at the theatre

Theatre Severn

Theatre Severn” by JThomas is licensed under CC BY 2.0

14. Albert’s Shed

A newer face in the town of Shrewsbury, Albert’s Shed has quickly gathered a reputation for being the place for gigs in Shrewsbury. It’s smaller than the Theatre Severn but has a strong focus on supporting local musicians and touring artists who play original live music in Shropshire.

Alberts Shed Live Music Venue

15. Old Market Hall

The Old Market Hall is an excellent one-room independent cinema owned by the town council Theatre Severn group. Not only will you find their collation of films and movies to be refreshingly inciteful, but the building is quite something else. We recommend taking a look at the clock mechanism at the back of the café, it’s quite a timepiece.

We also recommend looking a look beyond the norm, to find the cool and unusual things to do in Shrewsbury and discover a town with hidden stories that time forgot.

Old Market Hall in Shrewsbury

Old Market Hall” by Jeremy Bolwell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

16. Shrewsbury Festivals and Events

One thing Shrewsbury is not lacking in is the range of festivals and events that happen each year.

Some of the most notable festivals include the Shrewsbury Regatta, one of the oldest events in the rowing calendar taking place between the English bridge and the boathouses on the opposite side of the Quarry Park.

At the end of May, on the Saturday of the Spring Bank Holiday the Shropshire County Show takes place at the West Mids Showground and has been there every year since 1875. On the same day newcomer, LOOPFEST takes over Shrewsbury’s town centre. It takes place in multiple locations including Pride Hill, Wyle Cop, The Square, and throughout venues in the town. The event celebrates the cultural diversity of Shropshire through music, art, creativity and living history.

The much loved Shrewsbury Flower Show is held at the Quarry Park in mid-August. At the end of the month, over the August Bank Holiday one of the UK’s top folk events, the Shrewsbury Folk Festival, takes its residence at the West Mids Showground.

Later in the year, the Shrewsbury Festival of Literature celebrates the written and spoken word in all its glory.

See what’s on in Shrewsbury

LOOPFEST is one of Shrewsbury's most popular free events

17. Shrewsbury Town Football Club

Shrewsbury Town might not be the oldest club in the area but they are the most successful in Shropshire. At the time of writing, they are in League One and certainly are an entertaining team to watch if you’re lucky enough to land in our lovely Shropshire town on a match day.

View the latest tickets here

Shrewsbury Town Football Ground - New Meadow

New Meadow” by James Humphreys is licensed under CC BY SA3.0


There are many great shops in the Shrewsbury town centre. Alongside the usual high street names, there is an array of unique fabulous independent retailers. Explore the quirky bookshops, antique shops and clothes shops – there’s something for everyone.

17. Shrewsbury’s Historic Town Centre

Shrewsbury’s town centre is quite a marvel, with over 600 listed buildings spanning across the eras.

The Town Square is possibly the most impressive area with a number of marvellous Tudor buildings. Their iconic black and white timber frames date back to a time of extreme affluence at the peak of the wool trade.

Wyle Cop the street that leads up from the English Bridge is certainly not to be missed, there are more independent retailers on this street than on any other street in England.

As you explore the many independent shops (which outnumber chain stores 2 to 1) you’ll notice lots of little passageways called ‘shuts’ which lead you through Shrewsbury in time traveller-like fashion to discover the town in another light.

Grope Lane is a particular favourite passageway with a seedy backstory, but these days there’s something rather more magical at the end, a shop called Labyrinth which stocks a multitude of official Harry Potter merchandise.

Independent Shops in Shrewsbury on Wyle Cop

18. Market Hall

Shrewsbury’s award-winning market hall is home to many independent retailers, offering fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry and fish, delicatessen, books, china, antiques, contemporary crafts and interior furnishings… to name a few! There are also delicious cafes and eateries to choose from. The market hall is very unique with a modern, quirky take on a traditional indoor market.

Eat & Drink

You won’t starve in Shrewsbury – the town has so many fine eateries you won’t know where to begin. From little sandwich shops, traditional pubs, and fast-food restaurants to European bistros and traditional fine dining, Shrewsbury’s Restaurants have something to suit every palate.

For great Italian food try Osteria Da Paolo; for Mediterranean try The Olive Tree; for excellent traditional British cuisine, we recommend The Loopy Shrew.

If you’re making a trip to Shrewsbury then you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to drink with more than 100 pubs, wine bars, cocktail bars, and clubs in the town area.

19. Albert & Co Frankville

Why not try one of our favourites, Albert & Co Frankville. Café and milkshake bar by day, and trendy cocktail bar at night, it’s the perfect place to indulge yourself. They’re family-friendly up until 6pm and dog-friendly too.

Albert & Co Frankville - A Popular Bar in Shrewsbury

Albert & Co Frankville is the ideal place to visit with your pooch.