Read our guide to the best attractions for children in Shropshire
Shropshire is a fantastic country for children and families with lots of lovely outdoor space and attractions to explore.
Here are some of the best family days out, in no particular order. Have you tried any of them?
1. The Sabrina Boat (Shrewsbury)
The Sabrina Boat
Take a relaxing boat trip along the River Severn in Shrewsbury.
This triple-decker modern passenger boat carries 60 people
Address: Sabrina Boat, Victoria Quay, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 1HH.
2. Hawkstone Park Follies (Shrewsbury)
Hawkstone Park Follies
Explore 100 acres of parkland with magical follies, bridges, towers and caves, to spark children’s imaginations.
Address: Hawkstone Park Follies, Weston-under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 5JY.
3. Park Hall Farm (Oswestry)
Park Hall Farm
There’s lots to do at this award-winning farm park with hands-on animal activities, two indoor play barns, adventure courses, woodland walks and a lovely lake.
Children can drive electric cars, visit the Victorian School, Iron Age Roundhouse and Welsh Guards Museum.
Address: Park Hall, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 4AS.
4. British Ironwork Centre (Oswestry)
Statue at The British Ironwork Centre
This is the biggest display of decorative metalwork in the UK from suits of armour to animal sculptures and lamps.
It also features live work from the some of the best artists and blacksmiths in the country.
There’s over 60 acres of land to explore, a cafe, ice cream parlour, shops, sculpture park and an outdoor children’s adventure play area.
Address: The British Ironwork Centre, Whitehall, Aston, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 4JH.
5. Ludlow Castle (Ludlow)
This ruined medieval fortification overlooking the River Teme, was one of the first stone castles to be built in England.
There are also shops, a tea room and a walk around the outside of the castle with lovely views.
Address: Ludlow Castle, Castle Square, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 1AY.
6. Severn Valley Railway (Bridgnorth)
Severn Valley Railway
This 16-mile railway in Shropshire and Worcestershire, runs along the Severn Valley from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. It operates full-size, mainly steam-hauled passenger trains.
Most of the route follows the course of the River Severn.
Address: There are six stations https://www.svr.co.uk/Stations.aspx
7. Blists Hill Victorian Town (Madeley, Telford)
Blists Hill Victorian Town
This open-air museum recreates the sights, sounds and smells of a Victorian Shropshire town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Address: Blists Hill Victorian Town, Legges Way, Telford TF7 5UD.
8. Enginuity Ironbridge (Telford)
This interactive design and technology centre has lots of interactive exhibits great for children aged up to 12.
Address: 10 Wellington Rd, Coalbrookdale, Telford, TF8 7DX.
9. Shewsbury Canoe Hire (Shrewsbury)
Explore the River Severn from a canoe, which can be hired from two locations – Shrewsbury Quarry Park and Attingham Park.
10. Shrewsbury Prison (Shrewsbury)
Shrewsbury Prison was built in 1793 and has been home to thousands of criminals.
Now it is open to the public with guided tours, evening ghost tours, escape events, prison experience events and history days.
Address: Shrewsbury Prison, The Dana, SY1 2HR.
We stayed at a fabulous holiday park when we visited Shropshire read our review and see our exclusive video tour : Review: Love2Stay – a fantastic holiday park in the middle of Shropshire with loads for children to do (and dogs)!
For more ideas see the official tourism website for Shropshire Visit Shropshire.
Read our review of this popular park and mill near Manchester
What is it?
Quarry Bank Mill, also known as Styal Mill, is one of the best preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution.
Built in 1784, it was the inspiration for Channel 4’s popular drama, The Mill.
Now it is a museum of the cotton industry where visitors can discover the story of mill workers and how the Industrial Revolution changed the word.
It is set amid lovely gardens to explore.
Where is it?
Quarry Bank Mill is in Styal, Cheshire, south of Manchester Airport, on the bank of the River Bollin, which provided water to power the waterwheels.
What did we think?
The gardens are very child friendly and the short walks and playgrounds are good too. The mill is interesting and fun but may be a bit much for younger children.
Recent improvements have made the gardens far more child-friendly and accessible.
The paths are new and varied, the 43 steps down towards the river proves a popular counting challenge for our little ones.
The stroll along the River Bollin is fun with weirs and colourful trees and flowers lining the route. It is an easy, safe and manageable place to explore.
There are plenty of places to stroll around
The play areas
There are two main play areas. A traditional playground with small slide, fireman’s pole and a few swings. It is small and gets packed on busy days.
There is also what they call a natural play area. This has logs to carry, tree stumps to step across and a muddy hill to scramble up.
Despite falling over and getting covered in mud, on our last visit, both areas took up an action packed 20 minutes each.
(NB The mill is closed until some time during summer 2018 for major works to install a lift).
The mill is a fun experience although best suited to those over six.
They have volunteers explaining what life was like in full costume and you can watch hand spinners at work.
The scale of the pump room and water wheel are amazing. There are good exhibits on how they made clothes in the Victorian era and many of the exhibits are hands-on.
Hands-on exhibits take you back in time inside the mill
The water works
If you head away from the mill toward the large weir, there is another short walk around a lake.
It is not a taxing stroll, you can spot birds and fish in the lake, or take a footpath towards open fields above the site. Watching the machines control the water flow keeps little eyes interested.
Quarry Bank Mill is a good wet and dry weather option. On a sunny day the gardens and walks are beautiful, on a rainy day the museum is fascinating.
Our top tip
*Eat at the garden cafe and then go for a riverside stroll in the woods next to the garden.
Quarry Bank information
Food: There are two cafes on site. The main cafe has a bit of a canteen feel but the cakes are tasty.
The new garden cafe is in a much nicer location and serves all its food and drink in disposable crockery to be kind to the environment.
Opening hours: Open daily, the estate is open 8am to 6pm, attractions open from 10.30am. The Mill is closed until summer 2018 but everything else is open.
Cost: Entry costs £50.50 for a family ticket, adults £20.25, children £10. Free for National Trust members.
Best for: ages five to 12.
Time needed: At least two hours, more if you want to take in all the talks and activities in the mill.
Access and restrictions: A lift is currently being installed so that for the first time the whole mill will be accessible to everyone.
Address: Quarry Bank, Styal Rd, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4LA.
(The pictures in this article are courtesy of National Trust Images).