Great British boltholes: Inside the family-owned 16th-century hotel in historic Shrewsbury that’s a joyful jumble of heritage features
- The Mail on Sunday’s Jennifer Cox checked into The Lion & Pheasant, which sits on Shrewsbury’s high street
- The hotel is an ‘airy blend of white walls and limed-oak beams’ complemented by Scandi-chic decor
- Jennifer loved her Loft Suite, which had a ‘sprawling’ bed overlooked by a mezzanine-set slipper bath
Visiting Shrewsbury is like taking a crash course in England’s architectural history. In the charming Shropshire market town, looped almost entirely by the River Severn, timber-framed medieval buildings rub shoulders with Gothic churches, grand Elizabethan houses and Regency inns.
Who knows, maybe the evolution of architectural species gave local boy Charles Darwin some ideas…
Historic pedigree goes way back here, as demonstrated in 2018 when local metal detectorist Bob Greenaway unearthed a 3,000-year-old sun pendant of pure gold. It is on display at the Shropshire Museum & Art Gallery and joins a Bronze Age exhibition at the British Museum in February.
The Lion & Pheasant sits on Shrewsbury’s steep high street, which showcases dozens of the town’s 800 listed buildings
Heritage: The beautiful loft beams in one of the hotel’s 22 light and airy rooms
The family-owned Lion & Pheasant is another joyful jumble of heritage features ranging across the lovingly restored 16th Century building.
Owner and interior designer Rachael Chidlow has done a cracking job. Far from the cramped, dark interiors you often find in period properties, the hotel is an airy blend of white walls and limed-oak beams, complemented by low sofas and clusters of Scandi-chic chairs. No wonder the bar is packed with locals each night.
We love our romantic Loft Suite, tucked into the beamed eaves with a sprawling bed overlooked by a mezzanine-set slipper bath.
And dinner in the candlelit dining room is equally romantic. Our creamy cured salmon starter is followed by deliciously tender duck breast with black garlic and showstopping 21-day matured Shropshire beef with mushroom duxelles. For dessert we had a moreish kind of deconstructed Black Forest gateau.
The Mail on Sunday’s Jennifer Cox enjoyed a three-course meal in the ‘romantic’ candlelit dining room
The Lion & Pheasant sits on Shrewsbury’s steep high street, which not only showcases dozens of the town’s 800 listed buildings, but a thriving community of independent cafes, shops and artists.
Grabbing bikes from Shrewsbury Ebike Hire, we follow a trail out through The Quarry: a 29-acre, 16th Century park whose spectacular autumn colours are partially courtesy of legendary celebrity gardener Percy Thrower, who was parks superintendent for 28 years.
We cycle out on to Shropshire Union Canal towpath, discovering medieval villages tucked into glorious countryside. Shrewsbury certainly is a real treasure.
Mixture of styles: Pictured is the chic bar area, which Jennifer says is packed with locals each night
The USP: A historic, stylish base from which to explore Shrewsbury’s heritage architecture.
The rooms: Elegant and unfussy, each of the 22 bright, airy rooms and four self-catering apartments has bags of original features complemented by neutral silks, linen and Scandi-chic decor.
The food: Local suppliers are given hero status across all menus, from Severn & Wye Smokery fish at breakfast to Corbetts’ apple glazed pork tenderloin at dinner.