- Countryside Hills and hamlets
- Countrylife Gourmands, gardeners and golfers
Fabulous food, history-rich regions, and an array of outdoor pursuits: Shropshire is something of a crowd-pleaser.
Rewind to the early 19th century, and this peachy patch of the West Midlands was a pretty lively place to be. By the banks of the River Severn, men groaned and strained over the world’s first cast-iron bridge. In Shrewsbury, little Charles Darwin was busy bird-shooting, beetle-hunting and earning the nickname ‘Gas’ at school (pungent early experiments). In the handsome hamlet of Much Wenlock, athletes limbered up for the sporting games that would set the modern Olympics in motion. These days, the county is a calmer proposition. Shoppers shuttle around the market towns and farmers’ markets, stocking up on the freshest local produce; golfing, horse-riding or hiking is about as industrious as it gets here. If even that sounds like too much effort, relax: sip some cider, nibble some blue cheese, and pick which Michelin-starred restaurant to dine in.
Planes Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool airports are all about an hour’s drive from Shrewsbury. You can catch a train from both Birmingham and Manchester airport to Shrewsbury (www.thetrainline.com).
Trains There are regular services from the West Midlands to London Euston (change at Wolverhampton or Birmingham International); alternatively, go via Hereford or Newport (South Wales) to Paddington, or from Birmingham (Moor Street or Snow Hill) to Marylebone (www.trainline.com).
Automobiles Shropshire is on the border of North Wales, surrounded by Cheshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. It’s around three hours from London, two from Manchester and only 50 minutes from Birmingham. Shropshire connects to the M6 and motorway network via the M54. The A49, A5, A53, A458 all make Shropshire easily accessible. It’s definitely worth having a car so that you can explore the area's market towns and pretty villages.
- Taxis It’s easy to hop in taxis at the main transport hubs but if you want a car on the go, try Central Taxis (+44 (0)1743 441144) or Vincent’s Taxis (+44 (0)1743 367777), both based in Shrewsbury..