Ludlow is a planned Norman town, an architectural delight, with some 500 listed buildings, mainly half-timbered or Georgian. Visit St Laurence's Church, sometimes described as 'the Cathedral of the Marches and one of only 18 churches to have been accorded a Five Star rating by Simon Jenkins in his book, England's Thousand Best Churches. The ashes of the poet A.E. Housman, author of 'A Shropshire Lad', are buried in the churchyard.
Wander around Ludlow Castle, begun in 1085 under the command of Roger de Lacy, a Norman knight loyal to William the Conqueror. Today it provides the backdrop to the town's Art and Shakespeare Festival in June/July, its renowned Food Festivals in May and September, and the Medieval Fayre in November.
There has been a market in Ludlow for over 900 years. Awarded 'Market of the Year' in 2011, it thrives today, whilst an Antiques and Flea Market takes place every other Sunday in Spring, Summer and Autumn
A walk over Whitcliffe Common will provide spectacular views of the town and the nearby Mortimer Forest is criss-crossed with footpaths. Visit castles, gardens and stately homes cared for by the National Trust and English Heritage, or enjoy a day at Ludlow Races. Alternatively, spend an hour or so reading in front of the wood-burning stove at The Merchant House during the winter months, or relax in the garden in summer, watching the river and the butterflies.
Ludlow's reputation for local produce and fine dining will not disappoint. Local bakers, butchers, greengrocers, specialist food, fish and cheese shops abound, and Ludlow's acclaimed Local Farmers' Markets are held in Castle Square on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month.
Visit the award-winning Ludlow Food Centre, set in the Earl of Plymouth's Oakley Park Estate on the outskirts of Ludlow. It supplies home-reared beef, lamb, and Gloucester Old Spot pork, along with a selection of game, vegetables and fruit from Shropshire and the surrounding counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Powys.
Eat in traditional pubs or visit excellent Thai, Japanese and Indian restaurants. Bask in the splendour of Fishmore Hall or Dinham Hall; relax over vegetarian food or tapas at The Parkway; enjoy morning coffee or afternoon tea in De Greys or Ludlow Castle Tea Rooms - the choice is yours.
The Green Café offers wonderful lunches on the banks of the River Teme at Dinham Millennium Green, in the shadow of Ludlow Castle. Under the direction of Chef/Proprietor Clive Davis, The Green Café is recommended in both the Michelin Guide and The Good Food Guide.
And for a really special occasion, why not book at one of Ludlow's two world-famous restaurants, La Bécasse or Mr Underhills! Both are within walking distance of The Merchant House!
"Has there ever been a visitor to Ludlow who hasn't wished they lived there?"
Jeremy Paxman, 2009