England’s loveliest town

June 19, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Destination Guide

Ludlow was described by John Betjeman as ‘the loveliest town in England’ and by Country Life magazine as ‘the most vibrant small town in the country’.  Ludlow can genuinely claim to offer something for everyone. Perched on a cliff above the River Teme, Ludlow is surrounded by the unspoilt and beautiful hilly countryside of south Shropshire and the Welsh border country, known as the Welsh Marches, just over an hour’s drive from Birmingham, two from Manchester and three from London.

Sykes Cottages have the best selection of cottages in Ludlow itself, with over ten properties in the town. Cottages4You have over 20 cottages in Ludlow and the surrounding area. English Country Cottages have five quality cottages in Ludlow.

There is almost always something going on: regular festivals take place in or around the Norman castle; speciality markets in the town square; in the season, National Hunt racing; not to mention all the good eating available, including Michelin-starred restaurants and the famous Food Festival in September.

Ludlow bustles with events and festivals throughout the year. Ludlow Festival is held in June/July attracting performers from all over the world. In November the Medieval Christmas Fair is held locally. The main event of the year is the Ludlow Food Festival held every September, with a smaller Spring Festival held in May. The Ludlow Festival takes place in 2013 between 21st and 30th June. An annual Shakespearean play performed in the grounds of the magnificent Ludlow Castle is the main highlight. The castle is a superb setting as the performance begins during daylight and ends under the starry night sky, with shadows falling dramatically during the scenes. The atmosphere is electric as the shadows add an air of mystery acting to heighten the drama on stage. In addition to works by William Shakespeare famous orchestras, string-quartets, brass bands, jazz bands, choirs and solo performances all take place during the festival.

The Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre conjures up romantic visions of Merrie England with jesters and minstrels, carols and wassailing as well as knights in shining armour. The event will be held in 2013 on the 23rd and 24th November with the beautiful medieval castle providing the backdrop.

The centrepiece of Ludlow’s year is the annual Food Festival, probably the best in Britain, which takes place on the 13th to 15th September in 2013. It was Britain’s first successful food and drink festival when it started back in 1995. It has grown considerably since then, yet stayed firmly with the original idea of highlighting the great food and drink that is available in the surrounding area. The festival will feature more than 160 top quality small independent food and drink producers from the Marches, the England-Wales border country and takes place inside the castle. As well as the food producers, throughout Ludlow’s historic town centre there is seemingly no end of food-related events, such as the famous Ludlow Sausage trail, Ale trail and the Festival Loaf trail, not forgetting all the old favourites both inside and outside the castle, including great demonstrations, talks, pudding tastings, markets and more.

The Ludlow Spring Festival was introduced more recently and this smaller event was marketed in 2013 as, ‘a beer festival but better’ with the slogan ‘beer, bangers and bread’. More than 8,000 people from across the UK descended on Ludlow to enjoy the event.

If you can’t make it for any of these events, food lovers will not be disappointed at other times of the year. The town boasts a good selection of speciality food shops and a great choice of restaurants and inns as well as opportunities to visit many of the producers at work in the surrounding area.

My pick of the cottages in Ludlow

cottages in ludlow choice

A charming, 17th century, Grade II Listed townhouse in the heart of Ludlow. Built over three floors, the property is full of charm and character, with a wealth of oak floors, exposed oak beams, wall timbers and an impressive inglenook fireplace with woodburner. The award-winning courtyard area is ideal for enjoying a glass of wine or dining alfresco. Click here for more details.