In the heart of Shropshire lies the quaint, cobbled streets of Shrewsbury. Birthplace to the brains behind the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin and home to all things English, Shrewsbury is the most gorgeous little weekend getaway. Belle went exploring to find you all the best bits of this beautiful little town for your next country break!
Where to stay
Situated perfectly within the town of Shrewsbury lies this little cultural, boutique bed & breakfast (and the breakfast literally was the best I’ve had since my mother introduced me to dippy egg and soldiers as a child – I assure you it was exceptional). Sprinkled head to toe with absolutely gorgeous decor and hidden historical gems, it was an absolutely mesmerizing place to stay.
We stayed in a Deluxe Room , accessible from just outside the main house. The bed felt like our bodies were being absorbed by unicorn clouds and made falling asleep an easy feat. Me being me, I also managed to forget my phone charger, but the room came with an alarm clock/speaker with a lightning dock for my iPhone – super handy. The gorgeous ensuite bathroom made rising out of our pillowy fortress that little easier (they even had a rubber duck family in case you fancied a bit of bathroom entertainment, which we certainly enjoyed).
In the evening, we returned to the hotel after our dinner and went to snuggle up in the most gorgeous lounge I’d ever seen. There is a help-yourself bar situated here, with an “honesty book” to declare what treats you indulged in – we loved this idea. So, we put on our slippers and cosied up on the gorgeous leather chairs with a big old goblet full of Merlot while Classical FM seduced us in the background – absolutely lush.
Hannah and the team make sure you are looked after at absolutely all times and this was certainly illustrated with the gorgeous breakfast we were greeted with. The full Shropshire breakfast came complete with local sausages and black pudding and it really hit the spot. Along with the option of other favourites; Eggs Royale, Eggs Benedict, Fresh Fruit and a plethora of fruit and cereals we really couldn’t have asked for more. They even let us take one of their home-baked blueberry muffins for our journey home – yum!
Where to eat
CSONS pride themselves on local produce, which at Belle – we LOVE. Their menu changes almost daily depending on what looks tasty and they certainly do not disappoint. With a diverse, dynamic selection of globally-inspired dishes there is literally so many great dishes they have to offer.
I opted for the Smoked Salmon as a starter and the Home-Cured Salt Beef foccacia for my main and it. was. great. The little dollop of creamy heaven you can see on top the salmon was a lemon, mustard yoghurt dressing and it was truly decadent. All the food CSONS had on offer was innovative, creative and delicious – we loved the experience they had to offer. They also made a delicious home-made gingerbread (my favourite thing) ice-cream which truly tickled our tastebuds.
For someone looking for an atmospheric gastropub that attracts the local crowd then The Armoury is perfect. It was vibrantly popular with the locals, with the warmth and comfort of a truly lovely gastropub and was situated right on the waterfront. The menu was fantastic with so much more to offer than just standard pub grub.
The menu is completely diverse with a nod towards an Asian inspiration – from your standard pub grub fish and chips to sesame belly pork and pak choi – there was a fantastic amount of variety. The pork cheek starter was gorgeous made even better with an accompaniment of crackling. I followed up with the signature Malaysian Fish Stew. Absolutely delicious and washed down with some bubblicious rosé prosecco – we had a lovely evening in their company!
Travel Tip: There is actually also a road in Shrewsbury called “The Armoury”. It is a solid 40 minute power walk from the restaurant and leaves you on the doorstep of some very friendly residents. This is not an alternative dining experience – turn back and head toward the marina for the true Armoury.
What to Do
I’m a huge museum nerd and I can’t get enough of filling my brain with cultural snippets. The Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery was one of the best museums I have ever visited to date. There was a section specifically dedicated to Shrewsbury in the Roman era which provided an incredibly informative look into life back then. On display was a plaque of (original) text from this time, written in Latin. We were honoured with the company of a gentleman who volunteered at the museum who translated it for us and explained where the “Times New Roman” font actually originates. With so many different areas and interactive features, there was much to see and do. Sometimes I think museums can run the risk of being repetitive or un-engaging however Shrewsbury museum was the total opposite. With videos to watch, fabrics to feel, stories to listen to – there is so much to learn in this tiny town in Shropshire.
Top tip: make the time to speak to the volunteers who are dotted around – the gentleman who shared such excitement and his knowledge with us made the whole experience so much richer – Thank you!
Shrewsbury is iced with some beautiful local shops as well as a hub for all of your favourites – so there is plenty of room for spending! On a Saturday, the town square is home to a market of all the local traders including a chap from Shropshire who makes the best Pork Pie (with Black Pudding) that my Dad has ever tasted (and he’s a tougher critic than Ramsay). Make sure to take a little coffee break at Ginger&Co., run by a local couple (The Husband is the “Ginger” and the wife is the “Co.” ) who have mastered the perfect coffee blends – and cakes.
Take a Sunday stroll in the Quarry park in Shrewsbury which is absolutely gorgeous (especially in the springtime sunshine). Head to the centre of the park and you’ll find the beautiful enchanted gardens, full to the brim with nature and stunning flowers – it was an English garden at its best! Or, take a trip to Shrewsbury Castle (although not on a Sunday, we made that mistake and they are closed on Sundays). There are so many alleyways and cobbled streets to explore, you are sure to get your quintessential English country fix.
If you’re after a quaint and scenic weekend in the country, Shrewsbury is the destination to head to. Currently home to an exhibition of photographs dotted around the town honouring Charles Darwin – now is the time to book your trip!
For information and further details, contact Original Shrewsbury at www.originalshrewsbury.co.uk