Days Out - Crossing the Shropshire Hills

By Dan | Apr 16th, 2023 - 8:00pm

Post Banner

I have spent plenty of time adventuring around the Shropshire Hills and its neighbouring attractions, exploring the nooks and crannies, the less travelled paths and the many elevations and descents in between. But I know plenty of people who, even though they only live a short journey away, have never taken the time to appreciate this beauty spot - so today's day out is designed with introducing newcomers to the area with a nice day out all across the hills, starting and ending with two of my favourite towns and visiting a bunch of highlights in-between. Of course, you should not be limited by the boundaries of the "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty", with plenty of great things to see and do within a short journey of the borders of the hills - we will technically be spending quite some time outside of the boundaries of the AONB, but all well within a short drive. Today's journey is a route from North to South (don't worry, the route works equally well in reverse!), taking in some great towns, amazing history and some of the greatest viewpoints the area has to offer. Don't feel limited by this route - naturally, if you feel the urge to explore or follow some brown signs then feel free, this day out is a taster for someone who has maybe never set foot in this nature reserve and wants a good, full day of adventure in and around the Shropshire Hills; I'm certain that if you follow this route, you will find plenty of other gems along the way that will keep you coming back to the Shropshire Hills and its neighbouring attractions for years to come...

We start at one of two ends along the A49 that bisects the Shropshire Hills pretty perfectly for today's purposes. The route here starts in the North at the brilliant Market Town of Shrewsbury, but as mentioned you can very easily do this in reverse by starting in the equally wonderful Market Town of Ludlow. As you may already know, Market Towns are typically historic and often very beautiful places in their own regards, well deserving of a day out all by themselves. Still, this day out is all about getting out and seeing the hills so we will be aiming to take a little time in each of these to get a taste of what they have to offer, before venturing into the wilderness.

Getting to either is fairly straightforward, Shrewsbury sits just beyond the end of the M54 and has good train and bus links to places further afield. Ludlow, on the other hand, is smaller than Shrewsbury so it may be a little more limited in connections, but it still offers train links and bus routes - both towns are linked together by the aforementioned A49, so if you opt to ignore some of the detours I mention going forward then this will be an altogether easy road trip if you choose to drive. The detours may be trickier to reach by public transport, but trains run straight alongside the A49 too, so you can still see the major stops without problems.

First stop: Shrewsbury

So we have made many trips to Shrewsbury, and while it isn't technically within the Shropshire Hills, it is just a short drive from its northern borders and is chock-full of things to see and do, so I don't think you will mind stretching your day out to see this great spot first. The town is loaded with shopping opportunities, with a wealth of great independent shops to tour around, plus being situated on that beautiful long meander of the River Severn means you can always take a walk around The Quarry and The Dingle to start your day off right.

If you want some more ideas, I gave a breakdown of a sunny day we took exploring the town below, but if you are looking for the major attractions, check below...

We will be stopping along the way at 3 major stops, Shrewsbury being the first, so grab a nice bite to eat from one of the many great choices before considering some of your options for attractions around the town...


Things to see in Shrewsbury

While the town itself has plenty of beauty spots and things to do, two major attractions stood out to us on our multiple trips here. The first and perhaps more obvious attraction is Shrewsbury's castle - this castle is a great starting point for anyone visiting the town for the first time, with its picturesque grounds abloom with gorgeous flowers to the fascinating displays inside, if you want to spend an hour learning a little about the history then you will be hard pressed to find something more appropriate.

Those looking for something a little different may want to check out Shrewsbury Prison. This too has a great depth of history to explore, but having been active right up until the modern day it can be a taster of what active prisons can be like inside. It was fascinating, if a little bleak, but something I whole-heartedly recommend you check out.

A quick detour...

If you find yourself heading away from Shrewsbury earlier than expected, you could take a quick detour before heading south to a couple of lovely attractions around Telford. If you want some additional great views, the Wrekin sits prominently amongst flat lands and is perfect for some great landscape shots. If you would rather check out a touch of history in equally stunning surroundings then Ironbridge is just a stone's throw beyond the Wrekin and well worth a visit, it is a quiet little town with plenty of great walk opportunities around the gorge.

Cutting across the hills: Carding Mill Valley in Church Stretton

So, we have now started to venture south, and as the terrain has gotten more interesting and signs pointing out attractions have begun to litter the road you will probably be excited to see what you can find - luckily, you are approaching one of my favourite places in the area: Carding Mill Valley. Right at the heart of the town (you guessed it, another Market Town) of Church Stretton is the National Trust managed attraction that gives great links to walk along the sides of the Long Mynd and beyond, but has one major waterfall walk that is a lovely little escape into nature. Follow the streams, tackle the terrain and be rewarded with the postcard-worthy Lightspout Waterfall.

Before you get too settled it will be time to move on, if you are dead-set on crossing the hills in one day, why not grab a bite to eat while you explore the town - fill your stomach and relax in one of the many little cafés, or grab a light bite to fuel you up your next hike - whatever suits!


Again, we are really just scratching the surface of this area and hopefully, you spotted some options nearby worth visiting - even just a quick hike up any of the nearby hillsides, you are sure to discover something memorable. There is one place in particular we recommend taking a short detour to...

Another great stop nearby

Finished your adventure to the waterfall and want some more awe-inspiring walks in nature? The Stiperstones is a short drive from Church Stretton and offers some distinct vistas well worth your time. The almost alien-like stone structures jutting up out the ground are really distinct, and the little loop here is a great addition for anyone looking to do a little bit more walking...

Whether you choose to tackle the Stiperstones or not, it is now time to move onto our final destination of the day...

Ludlow is a great little town, sat on the River Teme and with a beautiful castle you have all you need to really end the day well (and a perfect way to mirror your beginnings in Shrewsbury). It's much smaller than Shrewsbury town, but this makes it a perfect place to unwind after a long day of hiking and adventuring. The castle is another one of my favourites, but every alcove and avenue tucked away around this town ooze charm and offers the chance to discover another new independent shop or eatery. Find somewhere to grab your last meal of the day, and round out the adventure with a belly full of great food and a great taste for what the Shropshire Hills has to offer...


Places mentioned in this article

Share This Post

Always stay up to date

Never miss a post! Click the button to get notified on your device whenever new content goes live.

When you click the button your browser may display a prompt to display notifications, if this doesn't display you may have already disabled notifications.

We will never spam you, and only ever push notifications when we have something for you!

Turn on Notifications
Something went wrong
Notifications enabled!
Something went wrong - your browser may be blocking notifications.