Tudor-fronted high streets, rugged hills and a rural way of life make Shropshire the perfect country escape.
Shropshire is an idyllic rural county bordering Wales. It’s a sparsely populated area with hills, rivers and valleys. There are no cities and you can enjoy a rural way of life even in the market towns.
But its peaceful appearance hides a violent history. Border conflicts have left the county pitted with hill forts, earthworks and castles, and the discovery of a new way of smelting iron has marked it with colliery pits and mine shafts.
The average house price is £265,000, although prices of the area’s attractive period homes can be much higher. You can take a look at the latest prices here.
Compare Shropshire to its neighbour Cheshire by reading our guide.
Living in Shropshire: what to expect
Shropshire’s skyline is dominated by the Shropshire Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Many town and village centres seem frozen in time, with black and white Tudor-fronted houses and stone cottages lining narrow streets. Old coaching inns still house traditional pubs serving cask ales. And art galleries and museums showcase the area’s cultural credentials.
Properties include stately Georgian and Victorian townhouses and the occasional new development. Many homes boast picturesque views of the countryside.
Where to start your property search
Urban living: In the county town of Shrewsbury, imposing Georgian townhouses with walled gardens line roads such as St John’s Hill and Abbey Foregate. Victorian property can be found on Sutton Road, while more modest terraced homes are available on Lindley Street and King Street.
Ludlow has a charming mix of listed property. Townhouses with timber features are available on Corve Street with double-fronted versions on Upper Linney and Mill Street. Search areas such as Lower Raven Lane and Pepper Lane for cottages with exposed oak beams.
In the shade of The Wrekin (a large hill) is Wellington, which has attractive 1920s properties, some with mock-Tudor fronts. You can also choose from grand Victorian detached properties with extensive gardens on Haygate Road and more humble 18th-century cottages on Ercall Lane.
Newport sits on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border. Listed late-Georgian properties are located in the heart of the city and barn conversions on its outskirts. There are also various new developments – take a look at the Haversham Gardens development, for example.
Bishops Castle is a typical old English town. If you have the budget, opt for one of the six- or seven-bedroom listed properties on roads such as Church Street. Alternatively, consider a quaint townhouse on Welsh Street.
If you want a more modern town, check out Telford. The fast-growing ‘new’ town is a collection of modern estates, which means there’s a good selection of family and executive homes.
Rural living: If you’re after a more rural way of life, cast your eye over Shropshire’s villages. The most desirable sit within the Shropshire Hills. Cardington rests under Cardington Hill and features pretty stone cottages and narrow winding roads. Look out for stately country homes that are well set back from the road.
Cleehill village also sits within the Shropshire Hills. It’s large detached homes command great views and extended cottages sit alongside generous gardens. Snap up a cottage on Cornbrook for views across to the Malvern Hills and Welsh mountains.
Myddle is an attractive village to the north of Shrewsbury. Hunt for an iconic black and white timber-fronted cottage on Inglenook or a comfortable bay-windowed family home on Glebelands. Some modern detached homes with large driveways are also interspersed between stone cottages.
Getting around Shropshire
By rail: Virgin Trains runs a direct service between Shrewsbury and London Euston with a journey time of two hours and 30 minutes and the Cambrian Line links the county town with mid-Wales.
Ludlow, Craven Arms, Church Stretton and Shrewsbury are connected by the Welsh Marches Line, and the Heart of Wales line calls at Knighton, Bucknell, Hopton Heath, Broome and Craven Arms. There’s also a train service between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.
By car: The A5 and M54 run between Wolverhampton to Telford. The A5 then veers north to Oswestry.
The A49 serves as the main artery through south Shropshire, running between Shrewsbury and Herefordshire. You can also easily access the A49, A53 and A41.
By air: Catch a flight from Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester airports, all of which are about an hour’s drive away. The airports offer domestic and international flights to destinations such as the Dalmatian Coast, Northern Ireland and Phuket.
Things to do in Shropshire
History: Visit Ludlow Castle, which was built by the De Lacys, who arrived alongside William the Conqueror. The castle was later the home of princes Edward and Richard, who were murdered in the Tower of London. It was also where Prince Arthur, King Henry VIII’s brother, died.
The Ironbridge Gorge Museums in Telford tell the story of the Industrial Revolution. The World Heritage site has 10 museums, including Blists Hill, a recreated Victorian town. Make sure you look at the first cast iron bridge - the only one still in action.
Visit the Severn Valley Railway to learn more about the emergence of steam railways. This particular railway operated steam-hauled passenger trains and was completed in 1862. It was closed in 1963 but trains once more run along the Severn Valley.
There’s also Roman history to uncover. Wroxeter (formerly Viriconium) was once the fourth largest city in Roman Britain – a city almost as large as Pompeii. Tour the ruins to see the second century municipal baths and the Roman townhouse built for a Channel 4 TV programme.
Cultural: Contemporary art and craft can be bought and admired at the Twenty Twenty Gallery in Much Wenlock. The gallery hosts art fairs, exhibitions of paintings and prints as well as jewellery and furniture.
Theatre Severn is the principle theatre in the area. Based in Shrewsbury, its programme includes comedy, dance, drama, music, musicals, opera, film screenings, talks and exhibitions. Yet more films and screened exhibitions can be seen at the Old Market Hall, also in Shrewsbury.
Outdoors: Long Mynd and the rocky crags of Stiperstones sit at the centre of the Shropshire Hills. Together, they contain the largest area of heathland in the hills. Time your visit for the late summer and see the hills covered in purple heather.
Explore rare wildflower meadows in the Clee Hills. They were once subject to intense quarrying but are now largely reclaimed by nature. Look out for the peregrine falcons as you follow the Shropshire Way, which trails across Titterstone and Brown Clee.
Views over the Shropshire Hills and neighbouring counties can be admired from the top of The Wrekin, an iconic hill. Walk to the summit to see a large Iron Age hill fort.
Shopping: There’s a selection of independent shops in Shropshire’s 22 market towns, such as Ellesmere, Market Drayton and Oswestry. Narrow streets and alleyways are home to antiques, craft shops, inns, tea shops and traditional grocers, butchers and bakers.
Meanwhile, high street shops can be found in the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres in Shrewsbury.
Food and drink: Ludlow is the key gastronomic destination in Shropshire. It is home to quirky eateries such as Smokehouse, Deli and Cicchetti Bar. This deli/bar serves ethically sourced and sustainable products, including house-smoked meat, fish and cheese.
The Green Cafe is another popular foodie destination in Ludlow. Its seasonal menu changes daily and features dishes such as spiced beetroot, ham hock and smoked chilli soup.
Hearty traditional pub grub can be found in the area’s many inns. The Kings Head in Bridgnorth serves local cask ales in its Grade II-listed, 16th-century coaching inn. Pick from a menu of slow roast pork belly and home-cured gammon.
Bishops Castle is home to The Three Tuns Inn, a brewery established in 1642. It’s believed to be the oldest brewery in the country still in operation and it continues to serve a wide array of real ales.
5 reasons to live in Shropshire
A county packed with history
Countryside filled with wildlife
Listed buildings, stone cottages and grand townhouses
Independent shops, cafés and tea rooms
Bustling market towns and quiet villages
You might also be interested in...
- More UK buying guides
- The 5 things homeowners wish they’d checked before buying
- 8 ways to keep your house purchase on track
- How first-time buyers can step on to the property ladder
- Thinking about downsizing in retirement? Ask yourself these 7 questions
Can you see yourself living in Shropshire? Share your thoughts in the comments below.