Upton Cressett is a secluded hamlet deep in the Shropshire countryside, but lies within four and a half miles of historic Bridgnorth and four miles of the pretty market town of Much Wenlock. Next to the Hall is the historic Norman church of St Michael with its 12th century wall paintings and famous 12th century font.
The Hall is reached along a winding narrow country lane that ends at the historic Upton Cressett estate. After visiting Upton Cressett with the artist John Piper for Shropshire : A Shell Guide (published 1951), John Betjeman wrote that the hall was ‘best approached by foot, horse or bicycle; only so can its peace and various landscape be appreciated’.
Upton Cressett remains a haven of peace and rural beauty today – an ideal place to explore Shropshire and the Heart of England, from the gastronomic centre of Ludlow to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, the Shropshire hills and many other historic houses and gardens, including the Dower House Gardens in nearby Morville of Dr Katherine Swift (author of the bestselling book The Morvile Hours) and the world famous nursery gardens of David Austin Roses.
Bridgnorth, four miles away, is an attractive market town famous for its funicular railway and the many flights of steps which connect the High and Low Towns. Regular steam trains also run from here along the Severn Valley Railway. The town has many charming pubs and bistro restaurants, as well as high street shops, a supermarket and a cinema.
Much Wenlock, five miles away, has been voted the second most beautiful town in England. You can stroll around the ruins and grounds of the ancient Wenlock and Buildwas abbeys (Wenlock Abbey was one of the most important in the 15th century), go antique shopping, visit the local Olympian museum, browse for second hand books (Wenlock Books won the coveted Independent Bookseller of the Year award in 2006) or go shopping at the artisan shops and galleries or the traditional butcher, Ryan’s, that has won a national award for Best Butcher in Britain.
Half an hour’s drive away to the south-west is historic Ludlow, one of the gastro capitals of England with award winning Michelin restaurants, secluded gastro-pubs, historic market square and famous castle ruins where the two ‘Princes of the Tower’ were brought up in the late 15th century. In April 1483, the eldest of the two princes is reported to have stayed at Upton Cressett on his fateful journey to the Tower of London after the death of his father Edward IV.
To the north-west, also half an hour away, is historic Shrewsbury, birthplace of Charles Darwin, with its old cathedral, market squares, theatre and riverside restaurants.
Local Gastro and Pub Highlights
The Half Way House Inn
Landlord – Peter Williams
This 16th Century free house is a former coaching inn around 3.5miles from Upton Cressett Hall. It can be reached within an hour by foot. Peter the landlord started Shropshire’s first gastro-pub over twenty years ago and still does most of the cooking himself. The pub’s Steak and Ale puff pastry pie is locally acclaimed. Peter serves a good selection of local beers and there is a good wine list, as well as SKY sports in a TV room. The inn has a charming open fire and fabulous old-fashioned stable style wooden front doors.
The Acton Arms, Morville
Telephone: 01746 714 209
This old pub – featured in the Good Pub Guide – is around 2 miles away and can be reached in around 45 minutes by foot with a lovely walk that cuts through the ancient wood of Meadowley and reaches the pub via the National Trust grounds of Morville Hall and church. Perfect for a drink in the garden in the summer, or for stopping by as part of a longer local walk to include the Dower House Gardens in Morville of Dr Swift. Excellent curry. The walk back to the Hall up Meadowley Bank is quite challenging.
Railwayman Arms, Bridgnorth
Severn Valley Railway Station, Hollybush Road, Bridgnorth
Telephone: 01746 760920
The Railwayman’s Arms is a cosy local jewel, owned by the Severn Valley Railway, which originally opened in 1861 before the railway itself and has never closed. The atmospheric is located on platform 1 of the heritage railway in Bridgnorth. There are eight hand pumps serving a selection of local and national real ales. In the summer, you can sit with a pint on a platform bench and admire the old steam trains as they pull in and out of the picturesque station.
The Raven Hotel, Much Wenlock
Telephone: 01952 727251
With two AA Rosettes, you usually need to book in advance to get a table at The Restaurant due to the popularity of the hotel’s superb restaurant, boasting fine modern British cooking under head chef Jason Hodnett. The Raven Hotel is a former 17th century coaching inn that offers superb English cuisine – from the best local sources and with seasonal ingredients – in a charming environment with plenty of local character. Head chef James Hodnett has appeared on the Great British Menu television show.
The Boyne Arms, Burwarton (on the Bridgnorth-Ludlow road)
This quintessentially Shropshire pub forms part of the Viscount Boyne estate and is located in the pretty rural village of Burwarton. A booking for lunch or dinner can be combined with a trip to the historic town of Ludlow. There is an option of a traditional dining room or more informal food served in the bar area. The pub is about nine winding miles through glorious countryside from Upton Cressett. There is a large selection of local ales along with a beer garden with children’s play area.
The Wheatsheaf Inn, Ludlow
Telephone: 015848 72980
The Wheatsheaf Inn has origins going back to 1668 and first opened as a Public Guest House in 1753. A favourite of William and Laura’s it is tucked away (mainly away from tourists as well) on historic 13th Century Broad Gate at the lower end of Broad Street which is one of the oldest and most attractive streets of medieval Ludlow.
Local Heritage Attractions
Shropshire has a wide selection of historic houses, castles and gardens to visit. Many are open all year.
Upton Cressett Hall, near Bridgnorth
Dudmaston Hall, near Bridgnorth
Daniel’s Mill, Bridgnorth
Wenlock Abbey, Much Wenlock
Buildwas Abbey, near Much Wenlock
Stokesay Castle, near Ludlow
Boscobel House and White Ladies Priory
(where Charles II famously hid up the Royal Oak tree in 1651)
Hampton Court and Gardens, near Leominster
Wightwick Manor, near Wolverhampton
Family Day Out
Severn Valley Railway
One of the country’s most charming vintage steam train lines with a selection of trains (including a refurbished 1930s First Class Dining carriage) that runs along the River Severn between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. This year the line celebrates its 50th anniversary. Wonderful old-fashioned station pub as well called The Railwayman’s Arms.
Ironbridge Gorge Museums
Market Towns and Local Shops
Although some market stalls open under the Town Hall on a Friday, Saturday morning is the big traditional Market Day in the High Street. Dozens of high quality butchers, fresh fruit and vegetable growers, cheese purveyors and an eclectic range of market stalls selling local produce combine to make Bridgnorth market day one of best and busiest in the West Midlands.
Much Wenlock Market – Thursday mornings, Saturdays
Much Wenlock Farmers Market – 1st & 3rd Friday of the month, 9am-1pm.
Beaman’s – traditional butcher, High Street
Keith Alderson – traditional butcher with a farm close to Upton Cressett, Sidney Cottage Drive, Bridgnorth. Keith also runs The Woodberry Down restaurant across the street from his butcher’s shop (70 Victoria Rd, Bridgnorth, phone 01746 762950)
Catherine’s Bakery – High Street
Kev’s Fruit and Veg – High Street, Indoor Market (also good for local cheeses)
Tanner’s Wine Merchants – High Street. Award winning traditional wine merchant
Fish Bridgnorth – a seafood delicatessen and fishmonger which sells fresh Devon crab
Bridgnorth also has a large Sainsbury’s and a Mark’s & Spencer in Low Town
Apley Farm Shop – around four miles from Bridgnorth on the Shifnal road
The Apley Farm Shop near Bridgnorth has quickly established itself as a gourmand’s paradise with much of the produce coming from the Apley estate of Lord and Lady Hamilton. There is also a café/restaurant and the Pigg’s Playbarn to occupy children whilst shopping in the huge farm shop which is sourced from the Apley estate, tenant farms, local suppliers & small food producers. The Delicatessen stocks local cheeses, freshly prepared pies, pastries & sausage rolls. Apley scotch eggs, handmade ready meals, tarts & handmade pâtés made at the Farm Shop.
The Apley Farm Shop also host regular family events, from an annual August Dog Show to Medieval Jousting.
The Ludlow Food Centre
Telephone: 01584 856000
Located directly off the A49 in the village of Bromfield which is 2 miles to the north of Ludlow.
For any foodies on holiday, a visit to Viscount Windsor’s multi-award winning food emporium – close to Ludlow Race Course – is a must. The Ludlow Food Centre is the holy grail for Shropshire foodies and has won many awards for re-inventing the idea of what a food shopping experience can become with ‘farming, food production and retailing infuse together to create a very special environment’.
The pioneering farm shop is sourced by the 8000 acre Oakly Park Estate owned by the Windsor and Plymouth family. All the beef, lamb and Gloucester Old Spot pork comes from the family estate. Around 80% of the local food sourced by the Food Centre comes from Shropshire and surrounding counties.
Bridgnorth Beer Festival
Severn Valley Railway Station
View on Map
Closed Mon-Thu; 11-11 Fri & Sat; Closed Sun
About the Pub
The annual Beer Festival in Bridgnorth, held in early September, Friday4th to Saturday 5th in 2015.
Located in a Marquee by the Severn Valley Railway Station allows you the choice of inside or outside drinking areas. Food from stall holders, usually Pig Roast style, is available. NO music, so come and enjoy the atmosphere of beer and steam railway. Beer of the Festival voting form is also a free Prize Draw entry.
This pub serves many changing beers sourced from national breweries.