If you’re looking to get away for some quality time with someone you love, head to Shropshire. The county has all sorts of places to stay that are perfect for kindling or reviving a bit of romance in a relationship.
We’ve picked out ten that are really special for a getaway à deux. Spread right across the region, they are all very different, and include country-house hotels, inns, a very fancy bed and breakfast and self-catering boltholes. We’ve also given some ideas for lovey-dovey things to do in each of the county’s areas.
The name of this tranquil, family-run country retreat means “head of the valley”. Virtually on the English/Welsh border, a short drive from the market town of Oswestry, the stone Georgian rectory enjoys swoon-inducing views of the Welsh hills. The hotel is a perfect base for an energetic couples’ break; notes are provided for a host of walks starting from the front door. Several bedrooms have double whirlpool baths, perfect for restorative and romantic soaks.
More information: Pen-y-Dyffryn
This is bed and breakfast at its most luxurious. Your accommodation is a wing of Combermere Abbey, a 19th-century, Gothic-style manor with Tudor origins on the Shropshire/Cheshire borders. There are just two sumptuous Nina Campbell-designed bedrooms. Breakfast is served by the resident house manager in a dining room overlooking a vast, bird-rich lake. Guests can explore the estate’s 1000 acres of parkland, ancient woodland and delightful walled gardens. Combermere also has smart self-catering cottages, mostly converted from old stables; one of the smaller cottages would also make for a lovely romantic getaway.
More information: Combermere Abbey
Go for an arm-in-arm stroll along the shores of the photogenic Mere at Ellesmere, one of nine lakes that together comprise Shropshire’s mini Lake District. Or how about renting a canal boat for the day from Whitchurch and pottering along the Llangollen Canal? Contact ABC Day Boat Hire
This 16th-century inn turned into stylish boutique hotel is a strong contender for the most romantic place to stay in Shrewsbury. Contemporary furnishings combine to great effect with the building’s historic features, such as flagstone floors and a plethora of blackened beams. The minimalist bedrooms are cream and white in tone. Some have inviting modern four-poster or wrought-iron beds, and the Loft Suite also has a sexy slipper bath tub. With a chic bar and an oak-beamed restaurant serving some of the best food in town, you may struggle to leave the premises. But you may be tempted by the excellent shopping on the doorstep; the hotel is on historic Wyle Cop, the longest, continuous row of independents in the UK.
More information: Lion & pheasant
A quirky self-catering home designed for two, set in a splendidly rural and private spot on the vast Raby Estate. The Grade II-listed octagonal tower was built back in 1607 as a little banqueting house – the main house was destroyed by a fire and never rebuilt. Small but beautifully formed, The Summer House has a wooden spiral staircase linking its two floors. The views, out over an orchard and the surrounding fields to the Wrekin and Shropshire Hills, are quite something, and you can walk down to the nearby River Severn. The remains of the important Roman city of Wroxeter are two miles away, and the bright lights of Shrewsbury a 25-minute drive.
More information: The Summer House
In Shrewsbury, follow the lovely riverside walk along the looping and scenic River Severn between the English and Welsh bridges, or pootle around town seeing the sights effortlessly on electric bikes. Outside Shrewsbury, the glorious grounds of Attingham Park are just perfect for a rural romantic walk.
This award-winning little holiday home fully lives up to its name. From its lounge and bedroom it enjoys views of the famous iron bridge, iconic symbol of the Industrial Revolution. The 18th-century brick townhouse is quaint, cosy and smartly furnished – ideal for holing up in for a few days while exploring the many sights in the Ironbridge area. It’s a mere two-minute stroll to the bridge, which is illuminated in the evenings, and tea rooms, pubs and restaurants are also yards from the door.
More information: Ironbridge View Townhouse
This amazing house – an artistic and beautifully put together bolthole for two, set on a steep cobbled street in the market town of Bridgnorth – has to be seen to be believed. Not only is the railwayman’s cottage unique for having been turned into a work of art by its former owner and artist, Anthony Dracup, but it also comes complete with a sandstone cave, carved out by Dracup and transformed through his vision of vaulted ceilings and pillars.
More information: Dracup’s Cottage
In Ironbridge, bond together on a paddling adventure in a canoe, kayak or mini raft: book with Shropshire Raft Tours. In Bridgnorth, take the very short but memorable trip on the charming cliff railway, which has been transporting passengers between the High Town and Low Town since 1892.
Looking for an upmarket and peaceful retreat? This immensely characterful restaurant with rooms will fit the bill. Hidden away down back lanes 15 minutes’ drive from Ludlow, it is fashioned out of medieval and Georgian farm buildings, with flagstoned floors and exposed beams everywhere. The nine luxurious bedrooms, some with grand four-poster beds, are set around a beautiful flower-filled courtyard. With former Masterchef finalist Nick Bennett at the helm of the restaurant, the elaborate food – think tasting menus and three AA Rosettes – is some of the best on offer in Shropshire. The property is ideal for walkers too, with circular walks direct from the property, including the idyllic Downton Castle Walk.
More information: Old Downton Lodge
This country-house hotel just outside Ludlow has lots to commend it. Public spaces and bedrooms have elegant Georgian proportions, the unflashy décor is soothing and light; and the food – whether fine dining in Forelles restaurant or in the more casual bistro – is highly rated. But for a romantic break, arguably the hotel’s outstanding feature is its spa. Occupying a separate wooden building in the hotel’s garden, it has treatment rooms that can be set up for couples, along with a steam room and sauna and an outdoor hot tub overlooking the adjacent fields and the Shropshire hills beyond.
More information: Fishmore Hall
Bishop’s Castle is a delightfully sleepy little market town, and the pick of the places to stay here is The Castle Hotel. Dating from the early 1700s, it’s located up at the top of the town, with no passing traffic and fantastic views out over the Shropshire hills from the terrace of its wonderful garden and many of the bedrooms. The romantically inclined may want to book one of the rooms with a roll-top bath in the bedroom itself, and for dinner request a table in the cosy snug bar area. The generously-portioned, pub-style food is excellent.
More information: The Castle Hotel
This country inn on Shropshire’s southern fringes gets rave reviews for its relaxed atmosphere and food. But the big draw for romantics is its Garden Rooms. For adults only, these three freestanding, wood-clad units have stylish, contemporary furnishings, hand-made super-king-size beds, snazzy log-effect gas fires, Alexa devices, and, best of all, hot tubs out on their private decks. On top of all that there’s also a natural swimming pond, big enough doing lengths and used year-round. Exclusively for the use of those staying in the Garden Rooms.
More information: The Baron at Bucknell
Address your emotional needs at the Poetry Pharmacy, a bookshop – but much more besides – in Bishop’s Castle. Visit the ever-so picturesque ruins of Wenlock Priory and its topiary-filled cloister garden. Keen walkers will have scores of opportunities to take in the autumn hues on the glorious Adstone Hill walk, with its views of the Long Mynd to the east and Stiperstones ridge to the west. Starting at the Bridges pub in Bridges, the three-hour walk climbs south over Adstone Hill along the Shropshire Way, then drops down through tree-lined avenues to the historic village of Wentnor, before returning back to Bridges.