A recent article by The Sunday Times correspondent Christina Lamb, labelled Shrewsbury as ‘England’s most festive getaway’.
Heart & Arrow Tattoo Studio in Shrewsbury won the Shrewsbury Town Centre Christmas Window Display Contest in 2020. In Picture L>R: Joe Worrall, Abbie Fletcher and Casi Worrall
Now businesses in the county have celebrated the positive endorsement by the national title, revealing why Shrewsbury is such a ‘magical’ place in the Winter.
In the full-page spread, published on December 11, Christina relayed her experience of travelling to the medieval Shropshire town during December of 2020.
She highlighted the array of independent shops with ‘twinkling lights’, as well as the timber-fronted houses, hour-long river cruise and museums to explore.
Christina was staying at the Prince Rupert Hotel at the time, covering the story of the business taking in more than 100 rough sleepers as part of the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme.
Mike Matthews, owner of the Prince Rupert Hotel in Butcher Row, seconded Christina’s view, stating Shrewsbury was a ‘magical place’ in the winter.
“I may be biased but I’m not surprised that Shrewsbury was ranked so highly in this research, because it really does come into its own at this time of year.
Shrewsbury pictured at the Christmas Light Switch on this year.
“We have a lot of guests at the hotel who love coming to Shrewsbury during the winter to explore the town centre’s narrow streets, shuts and passages, and of course the plethora of cosy bars, cafes, restaurants and shops.
“The overall shopping experience in Shrewsbury has become a huge reason for both visiting the town and staying overnight. Especially our abundance of independent shops which offer something unique to any other town centre.
“When you add the Christmas lights and festive atmosphere, it’s easy to see why Shrewsbury came out as one of the most picturesque towns in the UK for a winter visit.”
“The town obviously made a significant impression on Christina,” he said, “what she also found fascinating were the 660 listed buildings, with a skyline punctuated by spires and steeples; dressed for Christmas it is difficult to beat the atmosphere and delight Shrewsbury exudes.
“I can’t think of a better independent endorsement of the town. Perhaps we ought to send her a selection of properties, in case she wants to put down roots here.
“The town is not only a very pleasant place to be, but we are lucky enough to retain many of our artisan and independent shops, restaurants and coffee houses.”
Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, which promotes the businesses and projects of the town, said: “One of the undoubted strengths of Shrewsbury is our wealth of independent retailers and hospitality businesses.
“Visitors always comment on the uniqueness of Shrewsbury – you genuinely cannot get the same shopping experience anywhere else.
“As the festive period gathers pace, Shrewsbury is a fantastic place to do your Christmas shopping, and Small Business Saturday is a very welcome national campaign to shine a light on the UK’s thriving independent sector.
“Despite the success of independent businesses, times are also challenging right now, so we would like to encourage everyone to come into their local town centre and support their local traders.
“Christmas is such an important time of year for our town centres, and it’s encouraging to see reports that shoppers are beginning to rediscover their love of high street shopping.
“Whilst online shopping can be convenient, there is just no substitute for exceptional the customer experience and expertise provided by our local businesses – and we very much support Small Business Saturday.”
To read the full article by Christina, visit thetimes.co.uk/article/the-twinkly-town-thats-englands-most-festive-getaway-0h7n53chb.
By Megan Howe