Shropshire is a country brimming with boutique hotels and historic manor houses – here is our author's pick of the best.
Bishop’s Castle SY9 5BN; 01588 638403
In 1899 artist H Thornhill Timmins described this Georgian hotel as ‘one of those large, roomy caravansarys’. It’s just as inviting today with a secluded garden and daily changing menu. The 12 en-suite bedrooms are reached via a lovely Georgian staircase. Due to the age and style of the building, staying here may present access problems for people with mobility needs – although the kind staff will help you as much as they can.
Fishmore Rd, Ludlow SY8 3DP; 01584 875148
A privately owned spa hotel with luxurious and individually styled bedrooms and suites – many of which have views through large sash windows into the south Shropshire countryside. The bathrooms are sumptuous too. In Forelles, Fishmore Hall’s restaurant – with its vista of green fields to the Clee hills – head chef Joe Gould and team serves imaginative fine-dining dishes.
Goldstone Rd, Market Drayton TF9 2NA; 01630 661202
Located about halfway between Market Drayton and Newport, this country house hotel is one of the finest places to stay in Shropshire. The hall dates to medieval times, but was bricked over in the Georgian period to give a more formal appearance. An Arts and Crafts makeover in the late 1920s resulted in great open fires and oak flooring. The bedrooms are spacious and well-proportioned, while bathrooms feature powerful showers and separate big baths. Outside are five acres of gardens open to residential guests as well as those just visiting for lunch or afternoon tea – including an extensive kitchen garden that supplies the restaurant.
Weston SY4 5UZ; 01630 685242
With sweeping staircases and four-poster suites indoors, and 88 pristine acres of gardens outside, this sprawling and beautiful 18th-century mansion house is perfect for a short break in the north Shropshire countryside, or perhaps for exclusive use for a wedding.
Lion & Pheasant Hotel
49–50 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury SY1 1XJ; 01743 770345
Widely regarded to provide the best fine-dining restaurant experience in Shrewsbury, the menu at the Lion & Pheasant is always exciting and makes clever use of the season’s freshest produce. This central Shrewsbury venue is also an AA-rated three-star hotel, with 22 individually styled, comfortably appointed rooms and the promise of an excellent breakfast in the morning. There are also two self-catering options in Shrewsbury managed by the Lion & Pheasant: see the website for more details.
Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel
Rhydycroesau near Oswestry SY10 7JD; 01691 653700
A classic ‘retreat’ hotel near Oswestry and the Welsh borders, Pen-y-Dyffryn prides itself on combining excellent food with high-quality accommodation. The hotel restaurant has held its two AA-rosette standard for more than 20 years. Peace and comfort come as standard in the country house, which resides in a hillside setting away from passing traffic. Thick stone walls and comfortable beds almost guarantee you a good night’s sleep. To the west are the Welsh mountains, with some of the most impressive sunsets in this part of the world.
The Old Rectory
Lowe Hill Rd, Wem SY4 5UA; 01939 233233
This sunshine-filled Georgian house a few minutes’ walk from Wem town centre was requisitioned during World War II, with its main part used as a hospital for American soldiers (and the elegant banister, according to the tales, used for sliding down by nurses). Now it’s a comfortably elegant hotel with 14 individually styled rooms.
Soulton, near Wem SY4 5RS; 01939 232786
Soulton Hall is an Elizabethan manor house set in a country estate – which includes a farm and 50-acre oak wood – near Wem. You can stay in one of four rooms in the house itself: it’s full of character dating back more than 500 years, with mullioned windows, oak beams, panelling, sloping floors, even a secret door. Further ground-floor, accessible accommodation awaits guests in the converted Carriage House, Cedar Lodge and cottages.
Discover more of Shropshire's boutique hotels in our Slow Travel guide: