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5 days in London and 5 days in Shropshire/Telford area

5 days in London and 5 days in Shropshire/Telford area

Sep 30th, 2009, 11:00 PM
  #1  
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5 days in London and 5 days in Shropshire/Telford area

We are heading to the UK in April 2010 for 10 days (after 5 weeks in Italy/France). It is my second trip to the UK and my husband and 12 yr old daughter's first.

I had thought 5 days in London (museums/shopping etc) and then off to the countryside somewhere. On my last visit we went to Manchester (it was 10 yrs ago and I did not love or hate it). I am fine with the London part of the trip but need some help with the other part.

I have friends in Shropshire (Market Drayton) who have asked us to come and stay and base ourselves there. They can lend us a car and the free accommodation will certainly help with the budget! My question is this... is there enough to warrant 5 days in this part of England and what would you recommend as not to miss.... Should we venture to Wales? Should we stay over night somewhere or just do daytrips.

I have so far come up with Ludlow, Warwick and Conway Castle but they are all a 1.5 hour drive from the look of it. Is these easy drives?

We are interested in seeing some small villages, tumbling down castles, good traditional pubs and if possible a pub quiz night and a football game...

Any help/ suggestions greatly appreciated.
emerald125 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 11:35 PM
  #2  
 
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Your friends are in a surprisingly inaccessible part of Britain.

Though Market Drayton is central, roads immediately west (to the Welsh coast) are slow, the immense amount of stuff 50 miles or so south east (like Warwick) means negotiating the frequently clogged motorway system round Birmingham and though Britain's main north-south highway (the M6) is only 12 or so miles away, it's clogged from about 0530 to 2000 Monday to Friday and for a surprising amount of Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Your friends MIGHT know ways round all this - but most people don't spend their lives driving to tourist honeypots.

Very easily accessible places include:
- Chester
- Shrewsbury
- The Industrial Revolution sites round Ironbridge
- Boscobel House (where Charles II hid in the oak tree)
- the Shropshire countryside (just about the lowest level of light pollution in England, and full of unspolitish villages, though the countryside's cuddly rater than spectacular)

Loads of villages, pubs and quiz nights. Handy for the underperforming football teams in the NW Midlands whose games are a lot easier to get tickets for than the highly-followed teams in Manchester and Merseyside: try Stoke or Wolverhampton in the Premiership, West Brom in what we used to call the Second Division, or Walsall, Crewe, Port Vale or Shrewsbury in the nether reaches.

Beyond that, seek advice. You're practically on the Welsh border, so it's no more than a 10-15 min drive before the nearest bilingual road sign if the novelty appeals. If castles are your thing, I'd think about an overnighter along the whole N Wales coastal castle strip, including Caernarvon and Rhuddlan as well as Conway, since the Snowdonia scenery merits more than a rushed trip
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:10 AM
  #3  
 
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I lived 5 miles from Ludlow for three years in the late 90s. And back in the 80s I worked in sales for a couple of years and Shropshire - the entire county - was my area and I visited every single school, so virtually every single village. OK, it was a long time ago, but Shropshire has some of the most beautiful countryside in England. (I grew up in and live now in the south Cotswolds, and still consider Shropshire more stunning.) And some of the views from Clee Hill to the Brecon Beacons (50 miles or more) are truly spectacular. Also some of those over on the Welsh Borders above Oswestry and Bishops Castle, and the Clun valley.

Flanner has come up with some good suggestions for easily accessible places to visit.

Shropshire is a county of two halves. The northern half which includes Market Drayton, is dead flat apart from the Wrekin (said to have fallen off the devil's shovel or some such folklore). The southern part is steep hills, rolling hills, glorious English countryside, and relatively unspoilt.

I once drove along a gated road somewhere above Bishops Castle and looked down into the valley where a red kite was cruising on the wind. An absolutely incredible sight, never to be forgotten. This was 20 years ago when red kites were still scarce.

Lots of big and grand houses too, because of the wealth that wool brought into the area a couple of centuries ago.

Ludlow is a beautiful market town - the market runs several days a week, with narrow Tudor streets, medieval timbered houses, Georgian houses, a fine example of a perpendicular church, cosy traditional pubs and fine dining at starred restaurants. Google it for the visitors website to find out more.

Church Stretton, Bishops Castle, Much Wenlock, are other towns worth a visit.

There are lots of ruined castle in this part - large ones like Ludlow and little ones like Clun. After all, it is close to the Welsh Borders and the English tried hard to keep the Welsh marauders out! When you see how and where Ludlow is built on the cliff above the river Teme, well it is astonishing! Also Stokesay Castle, a magnificent fortified manor house. You can walk part of Offa's Dyke, climb Caer Caradoc, ramble around the Stiperstones (said to be a witches coven turned to stone). There are also Roman ruins at Wroxeter and somewhere else I can't think of right now.

You could easily spend 5 days exploring Shropshire, but it seems you will also venture to Chester and Warwick. You could also get into central Wales fairly easily, aim for Welshpool and then explore further around there.

Hope this helps a bit, if you have any further questions just ask. Shropshire is a jewel in England's crown.
julia_t is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:35 AM
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You have received some amazing information from flanner and julia. I can't add much since only once have I been to Shropshire to stay more than one day enroute elsewhere. I did self-cater for a week up there - but it wasn't near Market Drayton.

But I will make one suggestion - to maybe consider taking 2 days/1 night and head across to North Wales/the coast. Can't really be done as a day trip from Market Drayton and the castles/mountain of North Wales are more than worth giving up one night of free accommodations IMO.
janisj is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 05:02 PM
  #5  
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Thanks everyone for your help.. I was feeling a little lost as there does not seem to be anything much written about the area in my guidebooks... I am going to head to the library this weekend and see if I can find some larger Britain books....

I will also Google the suggestions above... Thanks so much for the time and effort taken to write to me.

If any of you know of a good website for images of the area I would love to be able to inspire my family and convince them its worth leaving London for.

Janisj - I am considering a night away and dont mind paying for extra accommodation... what would you consider a good town for the overnight stop if we head to Wales?

Thanks
emerald125 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 06:12 PM
  #6  
 
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I envy you - that's a part of England I've always wanted to see (after reading the Cadfael mysteries) but have never gotten to. Based on all my reading Chester is definitely worth a trip and Warwick Castle would be great - esp for a kid. And I'm sure that there must be a lot to see in Wales.
nytraveler is offline  

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