A short drive away are the nine glacial meres that make up the ‘Shropshire Lake District’, including Colemere – the only one to have a full circular walk – and The Mere at Ellesmere – the largest and most spectacular – where, after a walk through the gardens and woodland, you can grab a bite to eat at The Boathouse café. The National Nature Reserve at Whixall, Wem Moss, Nesscliffe Country Park and Corbet Wood are all worth a visit too.
With 3500 miles of footpath, Shropshire is superb walking territory. You don’t have to go too far, either – leave your car behind and head off on one of the lovely walks straight from your cottage doorstep, around the ﬁelds on our private farm, stopping off for a well-earned drink at our dog friendly village pub, The Burlton Inn. Maps are provided in the cottages, just in case your navigational skills aren’t fully up to scratch! Just outside Oswestry, on the main A5, there’s the British Ironwork Centre. Open 7 days a week, with free entry and an onsite café, this 5-star Trip Advisor attraction is home to a sculpture park, blacksmiths and falconry demonstrations.
For those who would rather explore on two wheels, Shropshire has a network of cycle routes, with secure bike storage available, on request, at the cottages. You don’t need to worry about bringing your own bikes, though, as they can be hired from A Mere Cycle and delivered to your cottage door. They even have power-assisted electric bikes – so no excuses for every member of the family not having a go!
The mediaeval county town of Shrewsbury, with its Quarry park and famous Dingle garden designed by the late Percy Thrower, and the smaller market towns of Ellesmere, Wem and Whitchurch, are all within 10 miles, each with farmers markets and an array of independent shops and cafés. If you want to venture a little further, the beautiful city of Chester, with its Roman walls, cathedral and mediaeval ‘Row’ shopping, is only about an hour’s drive.
North Shropshire’s 46-miles of canal are a fabulous way of exploring the countryside, with the high point (literally) being Thomas Telford’s magniﬁcent Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, towering 126-feet above the Dee Valley. Daily boat trips are available.
Reopened in 1993 after years of neglect, Hawkstone Park Follies is a magical maze of tunnels, bridges and caves, with walks ranging from 1hour to 3-hours in length, and a host of follies to visit en-route. Worth the entrance fee alone are the views from the top of The Monument – across Shropshire and Cheshire, towards the Welsh mountains. Sensible footwear must be worn and, due to the hilly terrain, wheelchair and pushchair access is limited to the visitor centre and Grand Valley only.
More traditional gardens can be found at the National Trust’s Attingham Park, just outside Shrewsbury, the National Trust’s Erddig, near Wrexham, and, for the more adventurous, the National Trust’s Carding Mill Valley amongst the beautiful Shropshire Hills near Church Stretton.
Our cottages offer a peaceful haven, the ideal spot to get away from the hurly-burly of day-to-day life. But, if you want to relax still further, treat yourself to a spot of coarse fishing at Merrington Course and Carp Fishery at Bomere Heath and The Mere at Ellesmere. For those wanting a slightly more energetic pastime, Hawkstone Park Golf has three courses in extensive parkland surrounding the ruins of a medieval castle.
The low light pollution in Shropshire creates dark skies – perfect for spotting those comets and stars on a clear night, whilst for those that enjoy an evening at the theatre, Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn is a modern, riverside venue with performances including comedy, opera and ballet from both high-profile touring shows and smaller, local companies.
Later in 2017, there will be a relaxing on-site spa for your complimentary use. The facilities will include an indoor heated swimming pool and spa facilities. More details will follow, as work progresses this spring.
With Ludlow, in the south of the county, often considered to be the UK’s food capital, and with farm shops, farmers’ markets and a host of artisan food and drink producers spread right across Shropshire, it’s quite likely you’ll be bitten by the food bug when staying at Burlton Cottages.
Sabrina at Spice Thyme provides cookery lessons here at Charity Farm. The Kitchen Thyme courses are tailored to suit, and draw on the inﬂuences of Cajun and Caribbean cuisines, teaching how to infuse food with herbs, spices and unique ﬂavours. Sit back and enjoy a Demo & Dine Experience, or get stuck in and create your own masterpieces!
If you like the hand-made cushions and lampshades in the cottages, then learn how to make your own at Space to Sew in Shrewsbury. I can certainly vouch for their classes – it’s where I learnt!
Something a little different, and just 6 miles from Burlton Cottages, is the award-winning Tartan Dragon, where Mark Whyte offers (mostly weekend) courses on smallholding, animal management, butchery, curing, smoking and cider making.
Sleap was an RAF airﬁeld from 1943 to 1964. Its WWII control tower is now home to a plane-spotters’ café, a museum and the Shropshire Aero Club, who – if you fancy a distinct change of pace – offer a range of ﬂying lessons.
If you like the idea of getting up in the Shropshire sky, but a plane is perhaps a little too high-tech, Wickers World launch their hot air balloon from the beautiful lakeside setting of Dearnford, just outside Whitchurch.
For those looking for something a little more extreme, another of Shropshire’s wartime airﬁelds, Rednal, near Oswestry, is where you will ﬁnd Hoverdays, an outdoor activity centre providing hovercrafting, 4wheel-drive (and 8-wheel-drive!) experiences, archery and segway riding!
Kids love animals and luckily Shropshire is full of them. From our four friendly pet lambs here at Charity Farm, to the ducks at The Mere in Ellesmere (duck food can be purchased from the ice-cream shop), to the cows, ponies, pigs, rabbits, sheep, goats and alpacas at Park Hall Countryside Experience, just outside Oswestry! If your children prefer more exotic species, Chester Zoo, with its 15,000 animals in 125 acres of zoological gardens, is less than 40 miles away.
After feeding the ducks at Ellesmere, why not hire a rowing boat for a trip around The Mere? Or, if you fancy a larger vessel, sail from Victoria Quay, next to the Welsh Bridge in Shrewsbury, on Sabrina, a triple-deck passenger boat, on a gentle 45-minute cruise of the River Severn. On the Burlton side of Shrewsbury, near the Harlescott Park & Ride, is Climbing The Walls – ideal for children aged five to 105, especially if it’s raining!
Blists Hill is one of 10 attractions, including four museums, based in and around Ironbridge – the birthplace of the industrial revolution. At Blists Hill, children get to experience an authentic 52-acre recreation of a Victorian town, complete with characters, cottages, shops, places of work… and yet more animals!
A little further afield, the award-winning Royal Air Force Museum at Cosford has one of the largest aviation collections in the UK, with lots of hands-on fun for the children. Best of all, it’s free too!
Shrewsbury Canoe Hire is available from Easter to September, and is located on the River Severn at The Quarry park for 30-60 minute ‘turn-up and hire’ sessions.
Feeling creative? Try your art skills, painting pottery and canvasses. Doodle Alley in Whitchurch is a great indoor activity, comes highly recommended and offers something for all the family.
The Ice Cream Farm is another great day out, especially for little children. The fun factory and JCB diggers are a great highlight, alongside the 50 different flavours of ice cream!
Burlton is one of those places; in the middle of nowhere, but seemingly handy for everywhere. We’re fortunate to have some wonderful places to eat out, and grab a takeaway, all within a short radius of the cottages.
A short walk away is the recently refurbished Burlton Inn, a traditional 18th Century village pub, complete with beams, log fire and warm snug. Food is served daily, whilst dogs are allowed in the bar area and, of course, the large garden.
A couple of minutes in the car is the Red Lion Bar & Grill in Myddle. Again, recently refurbished, the food is excellent so it can get very busy – booking advisable! They offer lunch and dinner seven days a week, local real ales and a selection of 42 wines!
The New Inn at Baschurch established its fine reputation under the stewardship of TV chef Marcus Bean. Now under new ownership, it serves fresh, local, seasonal food, prepared daily. Open Tuesday to Sunday, The New Inn is popular with locals, so, again, booking is advisable.
A little off the beaten track, but easy enough to find and only five minutes from Burlton, is The Moat Shed at Northwood Hall, Newtown. Recently built alongside an ancient double moat (scheduled by English Heritage as being of national importance), you can enjoy wonderful home-cooked, locally-sourced food either indoors next to the log burner or outside on the large terrace. Open Thursday to Monday, 9am to 5pm.
Another great location in which to eat is The Boathouse, overlooking The Mere, and all its birdlife, at Ellesmere. Open daily, The Boathouse is a light and airy café, restaurant and bar with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and an excellent menu.
Baschurch Fish Bar (fish and chips), Wong Lee (Chinese) and Café Saffron at The Admiral Duncan (Indian) – all Baschurch (just 3 miles from Burlton). Café Saffron is also a lovely, award-winning restaurant, open daily.
If you run out of anything during your stay, the closest shop can be found just a couple of miles away in the village of Myddle. It’s a family-run business, open daily, with fresh bread and cake deliveries from Chatwins Bakery in Nantwich.
Another local, family business is Moor Farm Shop, in between Baschurch and Ruyton XI Towns. With their in-house chef and full-time butcher, they offer meat reared on the family farm, including their award-winning sausages, and a wide selection of local produce. There is a tea room too.
If you don’t want the fuss of shopping for dinner, place an order with The Original Supper Box Company, especially as our guests receive a useful 10% discount. Choose from a seasonal selection of starters, mains and desserts – there are weekly boxes and vegetarian boxes too – and Supper Box HQ will deliver simple-to-follow recipe cards and fresh ingredients direct to your cottage door.
Wem is the nearest town and has a deli, two butchers and a supermarket. A little further, in the opposite direction, is the smaller town of Ellesmere, which has a similar selection of shops and a well-supported indoor market on Tuesdays. Shrewsbury is the nearest large town, with a healthy cross-section of small independent shops and larger household names.
If antiques are your thing, the best places to visit are Church Stretton’s Antique Market, with its three floors of different traders, and Dagfields at Nantwich, over the border in Cheshire (but only 45-minutes away) and the largest crafts and antiques centre in the north-west!
Darwin Festival, Shrewsbury.
The Big Busk, Shrewsbury.
Shropshire County Show, Shrewsbury.
Whitchurch Food Festival, Whitchurch.
Ellesmere Food Festival, Ellesmere.
Shrewsbury Food Festival, Shrewsbury.
Oswestry Food Festival, Oswestry.
Shrewsbury Flower Show, Shrewsbury.
Cajun & Zydeco Big Weekend, Welshampton.
Ludlow Food Festival, Ludlow.
Blackberry Fair, Whitchurch.
Shrewsbury Does Christmas, Shrewsbury.