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Shrewsbury’s Historic Legacy

Discover the regal splendor of Shropshire’s county town with Tudor homes, mansions, and green pastures

Shropshire’s picturesque countryside is dotted with stately homes, majestic estates, and idyllic farms that capture the quintessentially rural agrarian surroundings, resembling an English landscape painting. Amidst this tranquil setting, one of the most impressive historic places is Shrewsbury that was built with a castle and abbey by Roger de Montgomery just after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The ancient structures have since been replaced by a stone castle that has been rebuilt on the original site.

 

Shrewsbury is noted for its maze of narrow streets, each noteworthy in its own right with a tale to tell. Late nineteenth century English poet, A.E. Housman, had described this quiet place, noting the ‘steepled crest of the Shrewsbury skyline’ that appealingly links the medieval past with the present.

 

No wonder these medieval streets are bound to be of historic significance. Off the High Street is the ancient passageway on Butcher Row that leads to tiny shops, half-timbered houses, and quaint pubs before reaching the secluded square where the spires of St. Alkmund’s Church rise above the town center.

 

Diagonally across from the square is the oldest hotel in Shrewsbury is the Prince Rubert Hotel, which is one of the finest hotels in the area. Listed as a Grade II building, the hotel’s rooms and suites dating from the 12th century and 15th century, have been transformed through over an extensive renovation program.

 

This property displays a rich history of Tudor and Georgian architecture and design. During the mid-17th century, Prince Rupert resided in the Mansion House, which formed part of the Prince Rupert Hotel, along with other illustrious figures of past eras. 

 

Prince Rupert, nephew of King Charles and the grandson of King James I, was a dashing Royalist who lived in the Mansion House when he visited Shrewsbury in an effort to raise troops to fight against the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War. Prince Rupert was dismissed from his commands due to jealous intriguers at King Charles’ court, but his military career was restored after a court martial acquitted him. He later surrendered is sword in 1646 and went into exile at the age of only 26.

 

Prince Rupert’s attention turned towards the sea and he was appointed Vice Admiral of England and subsequently, became Commander in Chief of the Fleet at Sea after the restoration of Charles II in 1660. As a man of many talents, he had various interests within the Arts, and also was a founding member of the Hudson Bay Trading Company.

 

Aptly named after Prince Rupert, the Mansion House originally had a large forecourt, but was later divided into five separate houses. Now, the hotel has been extended and restored with much of its original parts kept, including the stone vaulted cellar and the Jacobean staircase. 

 

This four-star property has been renovated to enhance the overall ambiance of the hotel. The building has been family-owned and managed since 1996 with the current owner installing modern fixtures in every room. 

 

Especially appealing is the choice of accommodations that include modern style rooms or alternatively, period rooms and suites with beautiful four-poster beds, oak paneling, and exposed wood beams. 

 

The hotel now offers 70 bedrooms including historic period suites, 2 superb restaurants, Camelias Tea rooms and an award-winning executive Head Chef.

 

A top feature is The Royalist Restaurant, which serves traditional English dishes that include locally sourced seasonal, fresh produce. The handsome Tudor furnishings, including the medieval suits of armor and beautiful tapestries, enhance the dining experience.

 

In many respects, the medieval setting makes the Prince Rupert Hotel an exceptional property that reflects an integral part of Shrewsbury’s history. This beautifully appointed, luxury hotel, which dates from the 12th century, has become a highly desirable place to stay.

 

The hotel’s central location in the town center provides easy access to many attractions and historical buildings. The medieval Shrewsbury Castle is just 5 minutes’ walk, and The Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is less than 500 m away.

 

Prince Rupert Hotel – tel: 01743 499 955; e-mail: reservations@princeruperthotel.co.uk; www.princeruperthotel.co.uk

 

Shrewsbury is renowned for its cobbled medieval streets, Tudor architecture and many other historically listed buildings. The town provides a number of fascinating sites to explore the surrounding area. Among its top features are two World Heritage Sites, a Roman city, Britain’s first legally constituted Parliament, and the natural beauty of the magnificent Shropshire Hills.

 

Shrewsbury offers hundreds of years of history along with a vibrant, friendly atmosphere. This impressive town is a place to explore the history and traditions in Shropshire. 

 

Locals often describe Shrewsbury as the “Gateway to Wales” since the town is ideally located on the border to Wales.  All of the attractions (listed below), and more are great places to explore while using Shrewsbury as a base.  

 

Shrewsbury’s Top Attractions:

Shrewsbury Castle – The Castle displays a wide range of collections of the Shropshire Regimental Museum Trust, including military memorabilia, weapons and other equipment from the 18th century to present day.

 

Shrewsbury Abbey – this 11th century abbey church was founded by Roger de Montgomery and is the only substantial remain of Shrewsbury Abbey, a great medieval monastery beside the River Severn.

 

Quarry Park – this 29-acre park is on the western bulge of the town’s loop in the River Severn that is ideal for taking a leisurely walk from the town center.

 

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery – The museum and art gallery feature exhibits including collections of fine art from a variety of periods and themes explored. The collections focus on examining how to see and interpret Shropshire.

 

Market Hall – This 12th century market hall, located at the foot of the town’s iconic clock tower, attracts local artisan producers, vintage sellers, and other craft stalls alongside butchers and farmers’ selling fresh produce. Open every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with a few stalls open on Thursday.

 

Farmers’ Market – Over 30 producers offer fresh local meats, cheeses, fruit and vegetables from all over Shropshire. Open on the first Friday of the month in The Square.

 

Darwin Centre – Visit the Museum to learn about Darwin’s thinking on evolution.

 

Darwin Town Trail – Take a tour around the significant places in Shrewsbury that influenced young Darwin.

 

Charles Darwin Cruise – The Sabrina Boat offers this cruise with commentary about Darwin’s life in Shrewsbury.

 

English Bridge – This masonry arch viaduct crosses the River Severn connects the center of Shrewsbury with other areas of the town.  

 

Attingham Park – This 18th century mansion that was built by the first Lord Berwick in1785 includes its own deer park.

 

Wroxeter Roman City – an interesting archaeological site covering an ancient Roman site in Shropshire.

 

River Severn scenic walks – Stroll along the beautiful circular walk around Shrewsbury, visiting the river Severn, and explore the castle grounds and the Quarry Park. Walk on the woodland trails, starting next to the train station at Shrewsbury Castle.

 

Shropshire Hills – Explore these natural landscapes in the West Midlands known for its outstanding natural beauty and one of England’s best-kept secrets. This protected area includes 156 named summits. The highest and the most prominent summit is Abdon Burf (540 m/ 1,771ft.). Among its top features are heathlands, commons, moorlands, and grasslands for exploring. 

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