The town of Bridgnorth in South East Shropshire has a lot to offer anyone who is passing that way, it is also well worthwhile making a detour just to visit, or even choosing the town for a day or weekend trip. Bridgnorth is situated on the banks of the river Severn; it has a high town and a low town, plenty of pubs, quite a few shops, lots of olde world charm, plus a fair few other attractions besides. The town dates back to Saxon times, and high town is built on sandstone cliffs over 100ft high. High town and low town are connected via a set of steps, or for those who prefer not to exert themselves there is the cliff railway, which is the oldest and steepest in Britain so they say. The fare (return) on the cliff railway is 60p for both adults and children over 5 years old. I can recommend it just for the experience of being hauled up a very steep hill by thick cables! The views from the top are beautiful, you can look down on to parts of low town and the river Severn, and out on to the surrounding countryside. There is another way up or down from the high and low towns, and this is called the Cartway, it is a steep street, once used when Bridgnorth was a port. There are at least a couple of dozen hostelries in the town, where you can have a drink, and real ale enthusiasts are well catered for, or a reasonably priced meal, plus accommodation, with prices to suit every pocket. There are several pubs alongside the river, and in summer you can sit outside and admire the scenery, including the wonderful bridge which spans the Severn. Two annual events in Bridgnorth are The Haydn Festival for those who like a bit of culture, and the Bridgnorth Folk Festival for those who prefer something a little more colourful. Many of the streets contain timbered buildings, all very well preserved and each with it’s own individuality and history, some of the most notable are – Bishop Percy’s House in
Cartway, he was Bishop of Dromore in the mid 1700’s. The house was actually built in 1580, but is not open to the public, it is now the home of Bridgnorth Boys Club. The Town Hall, which stands on stilts and was built in 1652, extremely well preserved and containing many important artifacts inside. Located in High Street. Northgate, also in High Street, a gatehouse, the last remaining of the medieval town walls, originally built in the 11th century. Now the Northgate Museum, run by Bridgnorth and District Historical Society. Castle and gardens, the leaning remains of the Norman Castle keep, located in West Castle Street. Lavington’s Hole, this is not a house, but a series of caves inside the sandstone cliffs, these were named after Colonel Lavington, a Parliamentary soldier in the Civil War. It was supposedly built with the intention of blowing up St Mary’s Church where the Royalists had hidden their ammunition! Located near the Cliff Railway Station. Lastly I cannot forget the Severn Valley Railway, a preserved Steam Railway with a workshop, a snack bar, bar, shop, ticket office, signal box, all manned by keen enthusiasts. You can take a steam train ride to Bewdley in Worcestershire, or a shorter ride to the first station en route at Hampton Loade, getting off the train and catching a return train back to Bridgnorth. The shorter journey is about four miles, and the cost for the return ticket is £4.80 per adult and £2.60 for children over five years old. This is a must to visit, just to experience the nostalgia of a bygone age, and of course if you have children they will love it! The Railway is open all year round. There are many little alleyways to explore, with café’s, art gallery, gift shops, unusual clothes shops, Woolworth’s, some excellent charity shops, shoe shops and sportswear shops, banks, and on Saturday the town is bustling with a really good market.
The surrounding area is one of rolling English countryside, with many more attractions such as Daniels Mill which is a working Water Mill offering guided tours, the gorgeous village of Badger only several miles away, with it’s village pond and thatched houses. Ludlow is also within easy reach, another historic town with a Castle. Visit http://www.virtual-shropshire.co.uk/visitora/index.html for general information about Shropshire and its attractions Or http://www.svr.co.uk/ for information on the Severn Valley Steam Railway I am sure you will have an enjoyable visit if you decide to go to Bridgnorth, thanks for reading.