We spent a very happy half-term weekend in Shropshire. Some of our friends had been to the area a few years back and recommended it for a short break, so we decided to follow their advice.
We stayed in a cottage (a converted mill) -- in the hamlet of Vennington, about 30 minutes from Shrewsbury. It was lovely -- lots of wooden beams and floors, white walls and a wood burning stove, just perfect for cosy nights in.
As for sightseeing, we visited Ironbridge -- to admire the iron bridge, of course. It is quite hard to imagine that this now picturesque, steep valley was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution -- but it was.
There are several museums to visit in and around Ironbridge, but being on a short break, we visited just one -- Blists Hill. This is a living museum, which recreates a small Victorian town, complete with mine and working steam railway. The 'residents' (staff who are dressed in the clothing of the day) are very knowledgeable and eager to answer any questions that you might have. We really enjoyed our visit here, finding the museum both informative and entertaining. This is a really good way to engage young people with history.
We also visited Shrewsbury, which is a lovely medieval market town. We spent a long time wandering round the abbey, which is beautiful, and enjoyed lunch in one of the cafes on the market square.
Finally, we managed to fit in two National Trust properties -- one on the way there and one on the way back. Attingham Park is a Palladian mansion -- we particularly enjoyed the extensive and very interesting 'below stairs' area here. Wightwick Manor is a Victorian manor house, built and furnished in the style of the Arts and Crafts movement.
We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend in Shropshire and, if you are looking for a short break somewhere in the Midlands, would certainly recommend it.