Staying at the Old Vicarage - useful information and places to visit

Helen

Staying at the Old Vicarage - useful information and places to visit

Sightseeing
A real jewel of a place, a fortified Manor House from the thirteenth century, near complete with it’s roof on and rooms to explore. You can easily spend a couple of hours on your visit, maybe rounded off with a tasty lunch in the new cafe now located off the car park
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Stokesay Castle
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A real jewel of a place, a fortified Manor House from the thirteenth century, near complete with it’s roof on and rooms to explore. You can easily spend a couple of hours on your visit, maybe rounded off with a tasty lunch in the new cafe now located off the car park
A small but interesting castle famed as the scene of a bloody civil war siege. Recently restored it is a good place to visit if you take the back lanes towards Ludlow
Hopton Castle
A small but interesting castle famed as the scene of a bloody civil war siege. Recently restored it is a good place to visit if you take the back lanes towards Ludlow
Clunton and Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun, Are the quietest places Under the sun. A.E.Housman. This really says it all, the words of the famous author of ‘A Shropshire Lad’. Clun is a village with a lovely ruined castle, well worth a visit, a medieval packhorse bridge and several excellent tea shops. We particularly like ‘The Maltings’. Only ten minutes down the road from the Old Vicarage and a good place for a short trip or visit to one of the pubs, the White Horse or the Sun, both excellent. A bit further down the road is Clunton with another excellent food pub, ‘The Crown’.
Clun
Clunton and Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun, Are the quietest places Under the sun. A.E.Housman. This really says it all, the words of the famous author of ‘A Shropshire Lad’. Clun is a village with a lovely ruined castle, well worth a visit, a medieval packhorse bridge and several excellent tea shops. We particularly like ‘The Maltings’. Only ten minutes down the road from the Old Vicarage and a good place for a short trip or visit to one of the pubs, the White Horse or the Sun, both excellent. A bit further down the road is Clunton with another excellent food pub, ‘The Crown’.
Montgomery is another beautiful small town with yet another of the castles that dominate the ‘Welsh Marches’. Castles essential to defend England from the marauding Welsh! This one sits high on a rocky outcrop above the town with views to die for (on a clear day!). The town is equally charming with several excellent places to eat, ‘The Castle Kitchen’ is our favourite with soup and a cheese scone always good on a chilly day, cakes in the summer. Don’t miss ‘Bunners’, a famous hardware shop where you can buy anything from a box of pins to a tractor. This is a proper old fashioned shop with ups and downs, ins and outs. Think ‘Ollivanders’ wand shop from Harry Potter and you will get the idea!
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Montgomery
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Montgomery is another beautiful small town with yet another of the castles that dominate the ‘Welsh Marches’. Castles essential to defend England from the marauding Welsh! This one sits high on a rocky outcrop above the town with views to die for (on a clear day!). The town is equally charming with several excellent places to eat, ‘The Castle Kitchen’ is our favourite with soup and a cheese scone always good on a chilly day, cakes in the summer. Don’t miss ‘Bunners’, a famous hardware shop where you can buy anything from a box of pins to a tractor. This is a proper old fashioned shop with ups and downs, ins and outs. Think ‘Ollivanders’ wand shop from Harry Potter and you will get the idea!
A good day out for sightseeing, shopping and eating out
Ludlow is a fabulous historic town with what has been described by Nikolaus Pevsner as having some of the finest streets and buildings in the country. Don’t miss the famous Feathers Hotel, the ancient castle, once home to Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur, St Laurence’s church which dominates the town and the many street markets. Ludlow is a brilliant place to spend the day with lots of good quality independent shops and excellent places to eat.
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Ludlow
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Ludlow is a fabulous historic town with what has been described by Nikolaus Pevsner as having some of the finest streets and buildings in the country. Don’t miss the famous Feathers Hotel, the ancient castle, once home to Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur, St Laurence’s church which dominates the town and the many street markets. Ludlow is a brilliant place to spend the day with lots of good quality independent shops and excellent places to eat.
Shrewsbury is the county Town of Shropshire and is steeped in history. It lies in a loop of the River Severn and as a result has a rather confusing one-way traffic system. Check out the map carefully before you go and plan where to park. You may choose to use the park and ride bus. Unlike Ludlow which is mostly independent shops, in Shrewsbury you will see all the high street favourites, but delve a little deeper and you will find charming cobbled lanes and leafy corners to sit and watch the world go by. Don’t miss Bear Steps near St Alkmunds Church, the wonderful St Mary’s Church (excellent cafe), and the medieval Market Hall in the centre of town. Also in the market square is the town museum.
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Shrewsbury
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Shrewsbury is the county Town of Shropshire and is steeped in history. It lies in a loop of the River Severn and as a result has a rather confusing one-way traffic system. Check out the map carefully before you go and plan where to park. You may choose to use the park and ride bus. Unlike Ludlow which is mostly independent shops, in Shrewsbury you will see all the high street favourites, but delve a little deeper and you will find charming cobbled lanes and leafy corners to sit and watch the world go by. Don’t miss Bear Steps near St Alkmunds Church, the wonderful St Mary’s Church (excellent cafe), and the medieval Market Hall in the centre of town. Also in the market square is the town museum.
Church Stretton rose to prominence as a spar, Stretton Water’ (now stocked in Waitrose!!), and is predominantly a Victorian town. A good range of shops including the large ‘Stretton Antiques Centre’, always good for a mooch and several excellent places to have lunch. My favourites are ‘Berry’s Tea Rooms’ (look carefully down a little side alley to find this) and ‘Jemima’s Kitchen’, just out from the centre on the road towards Litttle Stretton. Very good Indian restaurant ‘the Jaipur’. If you fancy a bit of exercise there are lovely walks through Rectory Fields, just behind the church or (probably drive) to the outskirts of town to the Cardingmill Valley, a National Trust beauty spot. If you have walking boots and the energy, leave the car and walk up onto the Long Mynd, or the Long Mountain, a massive granite hill formation riven with deep gulleys and topped with heather moorland. To get back to Bishops Castle, if you are a good driver and extremely brave, take the Burr Way, a steep and narrow road from the back of Church Stretton up onto the top of the world, honestly on a clear day you can see the Atlantic! Spot the wild white horses that live up there and see gliders drifting over the tops. If you are really brave, indeed a tad foolhardy, descend the other side down the Port Way to Asterton, a near vertical descent where my triathlete brother-in-law, an experienced cyclist, had smoke coming off his brakes!!!! (Often closed in winter......phew!). A more sedate route down is towards ‘Bridges’ where you will find a cozy riverside pub to calm your nerves.
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Church Stretton
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Church Stretton rose to prominence as a spar, Stretton Water’ (now stocked in Waitrose!!), and is predominantly a Victorian town. A good range of shops including the large ‘Stretton Antiques Centre’, always good for a mooch and several excellent places to have lunch. My favourites are ‘Berry’s Tea Rooms’ (look carefully down a little side alley to find this) and ‘Jemima’s Kitchen’, just out from the centre on the road towards Litttle Stretton. Very good Indian restaurant ‘the Jaipur’. If you fancy a bit of exercise there are lovely walks through Rectory Fields, just behind the church or (probably drive) to the outskirts of town to the Cardingmill Valley, a National Trust beauty spot. If you have walking boots and the energy, leave the car and walk up onto the Long Mynd, or the Long Mountain, a massive granite hill formation riven with deep gulleys and topped with heather moorland. To get back to Bishops Castle, if you are a good driver and extremely brave, take the Burr Way, a steep and narrow road from the back of Church Stretton up onto the top of the world, honestly on a clear day you can see the Atlantic! Spot the wild white horses that live up there and see gliders drifting over the tops. If you are really brave, indeed a tad foolhardy, descend the other side down the Port Way to Asterton, a near vertical descent where my triathlete brother-in-law, an experienced cyclist, had smoke coming off his brakes!!!! (Often closed in winter......phew!). A more sedate route down is towards ‘Bridges’ where you will find a cozy riverside pub to calm your nerves.
The Bog Visitor Centre is in the Old School of an abandoned mining village right on top of the world, a short walk from the Stiper Stones. A perfect place to stop for a comfort break, light lunch, tea and cake. Leave the car and take to the hills. The most magnificent views and a good place to leave the less energetic whilst you go for a walk. Good disabled access. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am - 5pm
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The Bog Visitor Centre
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The Bog Visitor Centre is in the Old School of an abandoned mining village right on top of the world, a short walk from the Stiper Stones. A perfect place to stop for a comfort break, light lunch, tea and cake. Leave the car and take to the hills. The most magnificent views and a good place to leave the less energetic whilst you go for a walk. Good disabled access. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am - 5pm
The best hardware/homeware shop in the world, if you are a Harry Potter fan, think Ollivanders Wand Shop. A real rabbit warren of rooms and passages selling everything from a drawing pin to a tractor!
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Bunners - R H Bunner & Son Ltd
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The best hardware/homeware shop in the world, if you are a Harry Potter fan, think Ollivanders Wand Shop. A real rabbit warren of rooms and passages selling everything from a drawing pin to a tractor!
Lovely gardens with excellent courtyard cafe, plant sales and gift shop. Dogs welcome. Glenservern has been closed since Covid so do check their website to see what is going on!
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Glansevern Hall Gardens
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Lovely gardens with excellent courtyard cafe, plant sales and gift shop. Dogs welcome. Glenservern has been closed since Covid so do check their website to see what is going on!
Massive selection of books, old and new. Good lunches. Dogs welcome
Aardvark Books
Massive selection of books, old and new. Good lunches. Dogs welcome
Jaipur
6 Sandford Ave
Very nice place for a meal on the road towards Newtown, about 20 minutes drive
The Sarn
Very nice place for a meal on the road towards Newtown, about 20 minutes drive
Food scene
Excellent lunches and teas. Full of character in side with small sun-trap courtyard at the back
Berry's
17 High St
Excellent lunches and teas. Full of character in side with small sun-trap courtyard at the back
Another lovely place for lunch. Characterful and lovely garden in fine weather
Jemima's Kitchen at Victoria House
48 High St
Another lovely place for lunch. Characterful and lovely garden in fine weather
Really nice place for lunch. Full afternoon teas if booked in advance. Vineyard tours
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Kerry Vale Vineyard
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Really nice place for lunch. Full afternoon teas if booked in advance. Vineyard tours
Something different..........
Well every small town needs one........but (so far), only Bishops Castle has one! If you are feeling blue, sad or distressed, pop into the Poetry Pharmacy to find a remedy. The brainchild of Deborah Alma, the ‘Emergency Poet’, the pharmacy opened in 2019 dispensing all manner of literary embrocations. All this plus the most delicious coffee. Pop in and treat yourself to some poetical perfumes! Excellent gift to those ‘hard to buy for’ friends!! On a more serious note, check out their website for literary events, maybe even another holiday to bring you back to this wonderful place!
Poetry Pharmacy
36 High Street
Well every small town needs one........but (so far), only Bishops Castle has one! If you are feeling blue, sad or distressed, pop into the Poetry Pharmacy to find a remedy. The brainchild of Deborah Alma, the ‘Emergency Poet’, the pharmacy opened in 2019 dispensing all manner of literary embrocations. All this plus the most delicious coffee. Pop in and treat yourself to some poetical perfumes! Excellent gift to those ‘hard to buy for’ friends!! On a more serious note, check out their website for literary events, maybe even another holiday to bring you back to this wonderful place!
Really interesting plant nursery with spectacular show gardens. Free tea and coffee or visit the nearby Derwen Garden Centre (an associated family business), for an excellent lunch, shop and more plant sales.
Dingle Nurseries Ltd
Really interesting plant nursery with spectacular show gardens. Free tea and coffee or visit the nearby Derwen Garden Centre (an associated family business), for an excellent lunch, shop and more plant sales.

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Good solid walking shoes

The town is a great centre for hill walking so a good pair of walking shoes is a must especially if you plan to take to the hills. The Stiper Stones, one of the oldest rock formations in the country is only a few miles away with the most magnificent panoramic views but extremely rocky so good ankle support is essential. In wet weather a pair of wellies would be useful although good waterproof boots would be fine. Plenty of warm socks and maybe a pack of blister plasters if your footwear is new!
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Clothing

Obviously it depends on the weather but it is always sensible to prepare for the worst then be pleasantly surprised by the lovely sunshine! A warm waterproof/windproof jacket is essential if you plan to go hill walking
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Walking poles

These are useful if out hill walking as the terrain can be quite rocky in places
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Binoculars, field glasses and a camera

The landscape and wildlife is so beautiful, birds of prey, otters and a myriad of wild birds!
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Getting around........

Bishops Castle is definitely off the beaten track. The nearest railway station is at Craven Arms, approximately 25 minutes drive away. There are not really any taxis unless you are travelling from one of the larger town; Shrewsbury or Ludlow perhaps. There is a regular bus service 553, Monday to Saturday from Bishops Castle to Shrewsbury. Getting to Ludlow on public transport is more difficult with the 745 bus service only running on Mondays and Fridays, Do check local timetable on line if you plan to use these. Realistically, if you don’t plan to walk, you will need a car to get around
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Food shopping

There are two small supermarkets in Bishops Castle itself, a small Coop and Spar/garage. Not to be missed is the butchers run by ‘Mr Pugh’ who sells fantastic meat of course but also a selection of fresh fruit and veg, cheeses, bread and cakes. On a Friday 8am - around 12.30pm you can visit the local farmers market held in Lydham Village Hall about five minutes drive north up the A488. Also in Lydham just couple of doors further up the road is Harvest Whole Food with an excellent selection of high quality organic produce, alternative remedies and toiletries.