Shrewsbury – 24 hours of things to do and where to eat

Shrewsbury is a beautiful county town in Shrophire, famed for being the birthplace of naturist Charles Darwin. Nestled in a loop of the River Severn, the town is home to more than 600 listed buildings, including castles and Abbeys.

Half-timbered Tudor houses line the labyrinth of streets, alongside medieval, red-brick buildings and churches showcasing elaborate stained-glass windows. It’s certainly a picturesque place to visit, and as it’s only an hour or so away from Staffordshire, it’s ideal for a day trip or, as Jake and I did, a weekend getaway that wasn’t too long of a drive.

The historic centre offers a great selection of independent cafes, retailers and restaurants, with so much to see and do, including ghost tours and canoeing. Jake and I visited in early April, staying at the nearby Riverside Cabins. Here’s how we spent a day in Shrewsbury town centre.

Read more: A Weekend Spa Retreat and Afternoon Tea in Shrewsbury

The Cat’s Pyjamas

The Cat’s Pyjamas is one of Shrewsbury’s hottest new bunch and cocktail destinations, having openeing in March 2022. The venue is the little sister to Blind Tiger, the speakeasy on Hills Lane, and the team have done a brilliant job with the place.

Located in the idyllic 16th century Square, the jazzy disco themed venue serves up coffee, cakes, waffles and open sarnies under the glitter of a disco ball, with pink walls and house plants galore. It’s a dream.

I ordered the bacon waffles while Jake opted for the bacon sarnie, which featured old smoked streaky bacon from Maynard’s farm shop with bloody mary sauce and butter on Shresbury’s Bakehouse sourdough. Meanwhile, my waffle was the size of a dinnerplate and as thick as a doorstop piled with crispy bacon with a pot of maple syrup for drizzling or dunking.

The brunch bar has a really bustling vibe with upbeat staff and an energetic playlist and it definitely gets you in the party mood for the rest of the day.

Sabrina Boat Cruise

One of the nicest, fastest and most relaxing ways to sightsee in Shreswbury is via the River Severn aboard Sabrina – a triple deck, modern passenger boat with knowledgeable skippers and a covered top deck.

The 60-passenger capacity boat offers 45 minute cruises from Victoria Quay, sailing down to the English bridge and doing a loop of Shrewsbury, with the skipper offering an entertaining commentary pointing out historical buildings and sharing interesting facts about the area.

Tickets for the trip cost £9.50 per adult, and it definitely gives you inspiration for things to do throughout the afternoon, if you’ve not planned a thorough itinerary.

The boat is named after thy mythical figure Sabrina, which is Latin for Severn, and the goddess has her own statue in the sunken garden in The Quarry Park.

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery

A weekend away can be expensive, so we always try to get a few free activities into our schedule to save some cash – and the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery (SM&AG) is an insightful and interesting free-to-enter museum that’s suitable for all ages.

The grand building sits proudly in the town square and is host to a full programme of activities and exhibitions, including a beautiful Ladybird Book Exhibition during our visit. There’s also roman and medeival exhibitions across the two floors, filled with paitings, artifacts, fossils and ceramics.

Some of my favourite discoveries were in the ceramics section, as I do love a bit of pottery, hailing from just up the road in Staffordshire. Their ceramics collection consists of around 3,500 pieces of pottery and porcelain, mainly from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. It includes examples of famous tea sets and tiles made by local companies such as Caughley, Coalport, and Maw’s & Co., who sold their ware around the world.

The Loft

The Loft Coffee House and Cakery launched in May 2019, going takeaway-only during the pandemic before relocating to it’s new home on Market Street, Shrewsbury.

Alongside tea, coffee and cold drinks, the cafe also serves homemade cakes as well as waffles, bagels and specials. While it’s a relatively small venue, it’s a cosy spot to grab a coffee while you plan where to head next. The staff are so friendly and helpful, and the service was really quick, too.

I ordered a chai latte – which is my go-to as a non-coffee drinker – and Jake went for a Coca Cola. While ordering at the counter, I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the days fresh bakes and added a ‘Hippo Blondie’ to our order. The bake was less blondie and more of a cake, but still extremely delicious, topped with hazelnut buttercream and a Kinder Happy Hippo.

Our total order was around £8 so it was very well priced for the quality and location, and is definitely somewhere I’d visit again for food.

The Quarry Park

Created in 1719, The Quarry is Shrewsbury’s beautiful, 29-acre parkland, which can be found sat in the pocket of the River Severn to the south-west of the town. Since the 16th century, it’s been a pictureqsue place for a family picnic or a walk with the dog.

Earlier in the day our Sabrina boat skipper had told us some facts about the park, including that there are 300 lime trees that are protected in the park, and if one needs removing, it must be replaced. There’s a beautiful war memorial at the top of the park, and at the opposite end of the path stands a statue of Hercules with his back to the river. Good job, really, else he’d be flashing all the boat passengers.

Inside the park is the Dingle, which is a sunken garden cultivated by world renowned gardener Percy Thrower, who served as Parks Superintendent for 28 years. The absolute materpiece of a sunken garden is beautiful to walk through, and looks like something from a National Trust property, boasting ornate borders, colourful bedding plants, shrubs, trees and water features.

Alongside the museum it’s another fabulous free attraction to while away an hour or two with an ice cream or a cuppa.


Shrewsbury reminds me a little of York in the sense that there are just so many hidden gems to shop in, tucked away in little alleys just waiting to be discovered.

The Vault is an absolute must for vintage fashion lovers, where shoppers can pick up a new-old jacket or 60s dress. Similarly, there are dozens of little antique shops dotted around where you could spend forever finding weird and wonderful pieces – the charity shops are pretty great too.

Jake particularly loved Music Bros taking in all the guitars and pondering which to buy next, and then there are also Labyrinth brings Harry Potter to Shrewsbury for fans of the franchise.

I’d love to head back and visit The Darwin Centre for some more high-street shopping, but we also did pop into Waterstones and Superdrug on our way to Dough and Oil.

Dough and Oil

I made my first trip to Dough and Oil with a group of friends back in 2019, so I was really excited to head back. At the time, I’d ordered pancakes and vowed to try one of their drool-worthy pizzas next time – so here I was, sticking to my word, albeit three years and a pandemic later.

Dough and Oil originated in Shrewsbury’s Market Hall but quickly outgrew the space and opened the town’s first city-style urban eatery over on Castle Street. Outside sees oil drums and hanging baskets with trailing plants and picnic benches, inside sees that same industrial vibe with an injection of colour, mostly pink and red.

The pizza menu is pretty extensive, from the Margo (a classic margarita), to the Phillipo with tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy nduja salami, piquante peppers and rocket. Jake and I both ordered the Roni, featuring tomato sauce, mozzarella and venison pepperoni, both of which cost £12. The pizzas are made fresh with a delicious sourdough base and quality ingredients. I’d go as far to say they serve up the best pizza within at least a 30 mile radius.

The restaurant also do takeaway which means if there are any leftovers (there wasn’t) you can take the rest home with you. The dessert menu is small but expertly crafted, each containing an ice cream, which seemed to be just what I was craving after my salty, doughy pizza. I went for the Sweet Vegan which was £5, containing lemon sorbet, vegan meringue and berry compote.

If we were staying out later, we’d have definitely headed downstairs to their basement for a cocktail, or over to their sister venue, Oil, just across the road. Though having not been gives me an excuse to return again soon.

Riverside Cabins

We ended the evening relaxing at our accommodation at Riverside Cabins, around 20 minutes from the town centre. The boutique self catering cabins are right on the River Perry, offering a cosy woodland escape that’s beautiful all year round.

The site opened in 2020 and has even been recognised in The Guardian’s top 30 cottages and campsites – and it’s so easy to see why. Individually styled, these hygge lodges each have their own ready-to-hop-in hot tub that’s maintained at around 38 degrees for the duration of your stay, so you can go for a dip whenever you fancy.

After letting our meals settle, Jake and I went to relax in the hot tub during a gorgeous golden hour listening to the sounds of the river and nature rustling in the trees.

Inside our cabin – which sleeps four, but had the bank beds folded up for the weekend – there was a large double bed, balcony, galley kitchen, bathroom and a wetroom, which was perfect for showering off after getting out of the hot tub.

At the end of the night, you can follow the glamp-site path to the edge of the quarry where a log fire is lit, or relax with the latest season of whatever your watching on Netflix back at the accommodation.


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Staffordshire, UK

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