A Perfect Stranger to Everything in Salop…

Shrewsbury...

Shrewsbury...

We spent a day exploring Shropshire on Saturday, visiting Shrewsbury, Much Wenlock and Ironbridge (which strictly speaking is part of Telford – but it’s far too pretty to suffer that fate). Shrewsbury is a fine old town, where the ancient literally butts up against the modern. At times, those modern parts are ugly 1970s boxes, but at others they are mock-Tudor productions of the 1980s, or rather pretty confections with lots of glass. Theatre Severn, for instance – only opened in March of this year – is a particularly exciting new development for the town, giving the region a proper arts centre which looks very much worth visiting in its own right.

What struck us most about Shrewsbury was how bustling it was, and the satisfying mixture of the usual chains (we had a quick pit-stop in Starbucks, sue us) with prosperous little speciality stores (like one of the three Dickinson’s Period House Shop). Much Wenlock, on the other hand, was far sleepier (though with a nice line in second-hand books and antiques stalls). The big draw here are the ruins of the 12th-century priory, which we didn’t get time to properly explore but which dominated the economic life of this village until the Dissolution. Impressed merely by looking at it over the perimeter fence, we’ve made a note to pay it the attention it deserves very soon.

Ironbridge, meanwhile, is where Anna will be studying heritage management from September. Most importantly, on Saturday we spotted Da Vinci’s

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