Ludlow, with it’s castle perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the River Teme in South Shropshire, is the quintessential English market town. Stand outside the 15th century Feathers Hotel with its famed timber frontage and you could imagine yourself back in the 19th, 18th or even 17th century, so little has this mix of medieval and Georgian houses and shop fronts changed.
Ludlow is known chiefly for its castle, and its food, although it’s also a great base for exploring some wonderful countryside. Here’s a rundown of some of the best places to visit.
A classic ruin dating back to the 11th Century, with massive curtain walls towering over the river below, a keep, a circular chapel, and other buildings added through the ages. Used as a palace for much of its life, Ludlow Castle remains a spectacular destination and needs several hours to fully appreciate it. Opening times vary although the castle is usually open from 10am to 5pm and sometimes 7. But as it’s used for quite a few events, be sure to check the castle website first.
St. Laurence’s Parish Church
From a distance, the massive square tower of St. Laurence dominates the little market town, yet once in the narrow streets many visitors struggle to find this soaring perpendicular-style edifice. (Tip: take College Street north from Castle Street.) The church dates back to the Norman era although it was remodeled in the 15th Century. Two features of note are the bells – St. Laurence’s has a ring of 8 while most English churches have only 6 – and a particularly attractive stained glass window in St. John’s Chapel.
Rivers and Bridges
Ludlow sits just south of where the Corve joins the bigger Teme and the river is crossed by two ancient stone bridges. To see the river, and for some wonderful views of Ludlow, walk down Broad Street from the center of the town and cross Ludford Bridge. Perhaps stop for a pint at common From here you can enjoy marvelously photogenic views of Ludlow. Then follow the road around to Dinham Bridge where in summertime children paddle in the shallow water. From here climb back up the hill to the castle gatehouse.
Food and drink
Visitors are often surprised to learn of Ludlow’s reputation for culinary excellence. There is fine dining at Ludlow Food Centre. Set in a building that looks like a centuries-old barn, this modern store offers an astonishing array of locally grown and prepared food and drink.
Movies and shows
Someone staying in Ludlow might wonder if there’s anything to do of an evening besides eat and drink. The answer is yes, visit the Assembly Rooms. Located at the corner of Mill Street and High Street, this restored 1840’s building is used to show movies and plays almost every night of the year.
Ludlow is a superb example of a traditional English market town. With a castle, scenic views, a market and wonderful food, there’s something to entertain every visitor. Just remember to bring a camera and your appetite!