From revamped Victorian schoolhouses to restored railway stations, Shropshire is blessed when it comes to idyllic B&Bs. Here is a pick of our local author's favourites.
Soulton Rd, Wem SY4 5BG; 01939 232577
This elegant Georgian house is close to the train station and all the amenities offered in the quiet but charming market town of Wem. Owners Wendy and Gary offer five guest bedrooms, all en-suite. Adults preferred, although accompanying children aged over ten are welcome too.
Big Bear Lodge
Hendre Villa near Melverley SY10 8PH
This Canadian-style wood-clad lodge has three luxurious en-suite rooms. Here you can enjoy a real log fire in winter months or, in warmer weather, take your drinks outside to the balcony. The four acres of Melverley land in which the lodge rests, on the border with Wales and in sight of the Breidden hills, also has heated glamping pods and a small camping/caravanning park.
Broome Park Farm
Catherton Rd, Cleobury Mortimer DY14 0LB; 01299 270647
Stay in four-star B&B comfort in one of two double en-suite rooms on a working farm on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border (not far from the wonderful Hobsons Brewery). Sausages and bacon come from the farm’s own pigs; eggs are laid daily by the resident hens; and owner Catherine makes her own jam from fruits grown in the garden.
Weston Under Redcastle SY4 5JY; 07734 544617
Overlooking Hawkstone Park, this private country residence and luxury B&B cuts a distinctive shape across the Shropshire plain, with its red sandstone walls and three interlinking towers. It was built in the 1820s by Lord Rowland Hill. Here you can enjoy not only your spacious guest room but also use of the West Lounge with its wood-burning stove and grand piano, and the Billiard Room, complete with full-size table. Outside are three acres of mature gardens, including a Victorian walled kitchen garden. In the morning breakfast is a locally sourced affair, taken seated around a large Regency table. Dinner may be available by prior arrangement.
Ferndell Bed & Breakfast
14 Underdale Rd, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 5DL; 01743 344949
Just ten minutes’ walks from Shrewsbury town centre is the lovely Victorian home of Sarah and Stuart and their family. Here, at Ferndell Bed & Breakfast, you can stay in one of two spacious en-suite bedrooms, enjoying Sarah’s homemade chocolate cake upon arrival and an AGA-cooked breakfast in the morning. Creative workshops are held in its sunny kitchen.
Hopton House B&B
Hopton Heath SY7 0QD; 01547 530885
You’re in excellent hands at this idyllic B&B within walking distance of Hopton Heath station and the ruins of Hopton Castle. Owner Karen Thorne runs masterclasses for would-be B&B owners, who travel from afar to tap into her expertise. All rooms have super king beds and en-suite with double-ended bath and powerful shower; luxury after a day in the hills.
The Isle Estate
Isle Lane, Bicton SY3 8EE; 01743 851218
Four miles from Shrewsbury and set in a bow of the River Severn, the Isle Estate at Bicton is an excellent place to holiday with your horse, thanks to livery and a thousand-acre cross-country course with plenty of natural fences. It’s also a luxurious B&B, with three rooms renowned for their deluxe furnishings, restful décor and mixture of tasteful antiques and modern comforts. Breakfast is taken in the oak-panelled dining room.
The Library House
11 Severn Bank, Ironbridge TF8 7AN; 01952 432299
At this grade II-listed Georgian townhouse in central Ironbridge, owners Sarah and Tim Davis have a simple ethos: ‘we do it the way we would like it done for us’. Fully licensed, the B&B has a charming south-facing garden for guests’ use; the terrace at the top has calming views over Ironbridge’s distinctive rooftops to the wooded slopes of the gorge beyond. The four bedrooms have been tastefully restored, reflecting the owners’ love of 18th- and 19th-century furniture and artwork.
Long Mountain Centre
Rowley, Pleasant View SY5 9RY; 01743 891274
Long Mountain Centre organises riding lessons, hacks, pony camps, bridleway riding and riding holidays. The eco-friendly centre has six centrally heated, spacious two-bedroom log cabins set among 54 acres for riding and walking, and can accommodate your horse on-site. Non riders are also welcome to holiday here, of course.
Ludlow Mascall Centre
Lower Gladeford, Ludlow SY8 1RZ; 01584 873882
Once a Victorian school and now run by an educational charity, Ludlow Mascall Centre offers simple, comfortable accommodation in central Ludlow – ideal for groups, events and functions. Breakfast is available in the on-site café from Tuesday to Sunday, or you have foodie, lovely Ludlow on your doorstep.
The Old Rectory
Wheathill WV16 6QT; 01746 787209
Country-house B&B housed in a classic Georgian rectory. Walkers and riders are welcome: muddy clothing can be left in the boot room, the house is located on a bridleway that leads to the Jack Mytton Way, and there’s space to accommodate horses and dogs. A small sauna awaits tired muscles after a day out riding or walking. In the evening you can order a supper tray or – by prior arrangement – sit down for a three-course candlelit dinner. Most of the food is homegrown or very local. There’s a small wine cellar and honesty bar.
The Old Station
Leaton, near Bomere Heath SY4 3AP; 01939 290905
This former railway station, built in 1847, is on the Shrewsbury to Oswestry bus route and might suit a car-free break in mid and northwest Shropshire. Six en-suite guest bedrooms are each named after Great Western Railway steam engines. The ground-floor Clive of India room is accessible for guests who use wheelchairs. Breakfast and pre-ordered evening meals are served in the dining room, once the station waiting room, while the guest sitting room used to be the booking office. When the weather is fair you can sit outside on the old platform.
The Poppy House
20 Market Sq, Bishop’s Castle SY9 5BN; 01588 638443
This light and sunny licensed tearoom and restaurant in Bishop’s Castle is also a four-star B&B with two charming double rooms and two larger family rooms. You can even enjoy breakfast in bed if that’s what takes your fancy.
The Quarry House
Church Rd, Newcastle-on-Clun SY7 8QJ; 01588 640774
At the end of the Clun valley is this relaxed and friendly B&B in a converted barn, with three clean and comfortable guest bedrooms. It’s a perfect stop for several long-distance footpaths: the Offa’s Dyke Path and the Shropshire Way run close by – and you can also pick up a scenic walk into Clun with its interesting church and real-ale pubs.
The School House B&B
Chapel Lawn, Bucknell SY7 0BW; 01547 530836
From their Victorian former schoolhouse in the Shropshire Hills, Clare and Dave offer a warm welcome, locally sourced breakfasts, and lots of ideas for exploring the area. One of their three comfortable rooms – Brineddin (named after the oak woodland behind the house) – is a suite with its own cosy lounge. Order a ‘bedroom picnic’ and make yourself comfy.
High St, Grinshill SY4 3BL; 07706 047230
Formerly a destination pub known as the Inn at Grinshill, this gorgeous Georgian house now provides overnight accommodation – plus breakfast, light meals, afternoon tea and dinner, if arranged in advance. Sorrel House has six en-suite rooms – each individually styled in an understated, elegant way, with TVs artfully hidden. Owners Kevin and Viki have made their new setup very flexible: you can hire the whole house for a family reunion, for example, and bring your own food. A happy retreat house in gloriously wooded Grinshill.
Ternhill Farm House
Tern Hill, Market Drayton TF9 3PX; 01630 638984
This former farmhouse close to Market Drayton is one of my favourite B&Bs in Shropshire – all oak beams, polished wood and luxurious Egyptian cotton bedding. Owners Jo and Mike Abraham have made Ternhill Farm House supremely comfortable and welcoming, earning AA five-star B&B status. It has an honesty bar, and you can pre-order snacks and sandwiches for your stay. But if you’re there on a Friday or Saturday night, don’t miss the chance to book in for chef James Sherwin’s Wild Shropshire tasting menu.
Timberstone Bed & Breakfast
Clee Stanton SY8 3EL; 01584 823519
Timberstone combines comfortable accommodation with delicious food (owner Tracey used to work for lauded chef Shaun Hill). Four en-suite rooms with fine linen await guests, or a cosy wooden cabin with private hot tub. Breakfast features local, homemade, organic and fair-trade ingredients. Dinner is available to book.
© Townhouse Ludlow
Broad St, Ludlow SY8 1NG; 01584 877143
This elegant B&B on one of Ludlow’s quintessential Tudor streets has nine en-suite bedrooms and suites, each with exposed beams and period-style furnishings. The icing on the cake (or perhaps the butter on the sourdough) is that breakfast is served at nearby Smoke House Deli and Cicchetti Bar. The Turkish eggs are sublime.
48 High St, Church Stretton SY6 6BX; 01694 723823
Victoria House is home to popular café Jemima’s Kitchen, winner of the inaugural Visit Shropshire Hills cream tea competition. This elegant, comfortable townhouse has six guest rooms and is an excellent place to fuel up with a locally sourced breakfast before a bracing walk on the Long Mynd.
Wenlock Edge Riding Centre B&B
Hughley SY5 6NT; 01746 785645
Brushing up against Wenlock Edge, this B&B also offers riding lessons, lets you own a pony for a day or take your own horse on a guided hack or a ride out with a pub lunch (for you!). There are three rooms (one with a four-poster bed), allowing you to holiday with your horse.
Shineton St, Much Wenlock TF13 6HT; 01952 727600
This former Methodist chapel in the lovely town of Much Wenlock is the place in Shropshire to throw pots: you can take courses in pottery here, either at beginner level or to enhance your existing skills. It’s also a highly popular three-room B&B, cosily fitted out for couples, families or solo guests. The Wenlock Room is particularly special, with a dresser of cutlery, plates and glasses so you can bring a picnic or take-away to your room.
Windmill Cottage Guesthouse
Weston under Redcastle SY4 5UX; 01939 200219
From the 1900s to the 1940s this 17th-century black-and-white cottage served as the village post office. It took the name Windmill from a nearby, now redundant, linseed oil mill. There are four comfortable bedrooms (one on ground-floor level) and in the morning owners Lorraine and Gino will serve you a full Shropshire breakfast.
Find out more about Shropshire's hidden secrets in our Slow Travel guide: