Oswestry & the Welsh Borders

Oswestry, named after King Oswald of Northumbria, who died in AD641. He was nailed to a tree - hence the name "Oswald's Tree". According to legend a passing eagle took a limb but dropped it and where it landed a spring burst forth - St Oswald's Well. Amazing Stuff!

Shropshire is quintessential England, obviously. But as you head towards our northwest corner, you get an inescapable feeling of, well...Welshness washing over you.

For here, around Oswestry, the mountains of Wales embrace our green and pleasant county at no extra charge. and as you delve deeper you'll find a blending of cultures that's created a unique and genuine Anglo-Welsh alliance.

The many remnants of more turbulent times show that Oswestry was once a strategically vital frontier town. An ancient hill-fort - said to be the birthplace of Queen Guinevere - stands proud overlooking the town, and Offa's Dyke marks out the border between these two great nations.

Oswestry is the best place to start exploring the Welsh Mountains and discover the delights of Lake Vyrnwy and the charm of the majestic castles of Powis, Chirk and Whittington which formed part of a later chain of fortifications, and are just down the road. Powis Castle now houses the magnificent Clive of India treasures (booty of a bygone age) and has one of Prince Charles' favourite gardens, whilst Chirk manages to combine magnificent state rooms with infamous dungeons. Whittington, meanwhile, is reputedly the former home of Dick, who later found fame and fortune in countless pantomimes across the land.

These days, few raids across the border involve pillaging, replaced instead by gentler trips of discovery. Visitors can dip freely into one country and out of another - International smuggling of luxury goods is positively encouraged.

As the Celtic mists and forests immediately tell you, here is a land of myth and legend. In the dark ages, all Shropshire was part of the Kingdom of Powys, and the earliest references to a real King Arthur point to his being the post-Roman, pre-Saxon king of this region.

Ancient signs abound. All around lie the wells and springs of saints, blessed with the power to heal believers - or at the very least, to inspire the more cynical. Less holy but every bit as inspiring is the Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall, at 240 feet taller than Niagara and one of the Severn wonders of Wales. It certainly impressed George Borrow who wrote "An immense skein of silk agitated and disturbed by tempestuous blasts. I never saw water falling so gracefully" - a must see or at least worth a visit anyway!

Oswestry has been home to many poets, musicians, eccentrics and villains. The greatest of Great War poets, Wilfred Owen, was born here in 1893. To view the Wilfred Owen Trail around the town please click here.

However, it must have been a blushing crow to the English teachers at the local Grammar School (now Oswestry Heritage centre) when they produced the Reverend Spooner, of Spoonerism fame.

The ability of the Reverend to get his words tupsy-torvy was legendary. His dinner toast to Victoria, "our dear old Queen"("our queer old dean"), for example, came out quite, quite differently. Could it be that the unfortunate cleric's tounge-tied state can be explained by his Shropshire roots? There are numerous fine pubs and local brews to be sampled around the county, many of which would have been familiar to the Reverend.

Naturally, you don't have to be in holy orders to stay 'til last orders. This abundance of alcoholic refreshment may also explain why Shropshire has so many fine hotels, B&Bs and other establishments dedicated to the art of 'sleeping it off'.

Another local eccentric was 'Mad Jack' Mytton, whose exploits included riding a bear across his dining room table. His famous cure for hiccups - setting fire to his shirt - is, we believe, still practised in some more isolated parts of the region.

Today's Oswestry has become a natural setting for a vibrant market town and today has the largest street market in the Borderlands, with more than its fair share of specialty shops and eateries jostleling with the market stalls showing what a truly vibrant market town should be. The influence of Wales is still strong and you'll hear a distinct fusion of languages as you walk around. You'll also see it reflected in the unique creativity of the local arts and crafts.

Spectacular limestone cliffs at Llanymynech where lead, copper and zinc have been mined since Roman times is now a haven for wildlife and a unique Hoffman Horizontal Kiln (Whatever that is!).

Nearby there's lots to see and do:- Nescliffe Country Park - site of an iron age hill fort and the cave of the 18th Century highwayman Humprey Kynaston - Shropshire's very own Robin Hood.

Offa's Dyke, the Oswestry Transport Museum and the Llangollen and Montgomery Canals. Don't miss the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct at 126 feet above the River Dee it is one of Thomas Telford's masterpieces.

There's the Park Hall Country Experience with cart horse rides and a children's driving school. St Peter's Church at Melverley timber framed wattle and daub church on the banks of the River Vyrnwy.

To find out more about Oswestry and the surrounding area contact the Oswestry Town Tourist Information Centre.

You can also go on a themed walking tour of the town, with costumed guides that reflect the towns past. For more information on costumed and themed guided tours around Oswestry contact Oswestry Town Visitor Information Centre on 01691 662753.

For more information about Oswestry, please click here.

Please click here to view a map of Oswestry town centre.

Attractions in Oswestry

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National award winning farm park with oodles of animal fun, action and adventure for the kids.

01691 671123     Contact via Email    

Award Winning Cycling, Walking & Cottage Holidays.

0151 722 8050     Contact via Email    

Old Oswestry Hill Fort is the most impressive Iron Age hill fort on the Welsh Borders covering 40 acres.

0870 333 1181     Contact via Email    

Based in Oswestry, one of the UK's oldest border settlements, the markets were first formed some 800 years ago. We have a fantastic award winning indoor market held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; an outdoor street market every Wednesday and Saturday and an impressive Artisan market held on the last Friday of each month where you will find the best local produce and crafts.

01691 680222     Contact via Email    

The cliff face at Llanymynech marks the beginning of a limestone outcrop.

01691 662753     Contact via Email    

St. Peter's has been a place of Christian worship for 1000 years.

St. Oswald's in Oswestry is an imposing church in the centre of the town with a big strong tower and three parallel gables. The tower is mainly 13th century.

01691 652861    

At Shropshire Tours Ltd we simply want you to get the most from your vacation. We offer an exclusive tour service at excellent value centred on what you want to do and what you like.

07792883245     Contact via Email    

The British Ironwork Centre is a family company, long dedicated to, and passionate about the preservation and creation of quality metal work, in all it’s forms.

01691 610952     Contact via Email    

Eleven miles of World Heritage on the border of Shropshire and North Wales; the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal (including Chirk Aqueduct near Oswestry and the Horseshoe Falls at Llantysilio, near Llangollen) was awarded official UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2009.

01978 292015     Contact via Email    

Accommodation in Oswestry

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The Sweeney Country House Hotel, set in the gorgeous rolling Marches, has everything you could want from a Hotel.

01691 652450     Contact via Email    

The AA Country House Hotel 3 Star Accommodation Grading

A warm and friendly atmosphere greets guests at The Old Forge Bed & Breakfast, situated in the beautiful Shropshire village of Knockin.

01691 682024     Contact via Email    

Shropshire Tourism Price Promise

Spacious Georgian house in very peaceful location. 3 miles from Ellesmere. Ideal for walking, cycling, touring. Easy access to Shrewsbury, Ironbridge, Chester and Llangollen.

01691 622772    

This former Georgian posting inn, dating from 1727, has 34 deluxe bedrooms, and a purpose built conference and banqueting suite.

01691 655261     Contact via Email    

The AA Hotel 4 Star Accommodation Grading

Bed and breakfast accommodation at Brownhill House, near Shrewsbury.

01939 261121     Contact via Email    

Shropshire Tourism Price Promise

Pen-y-Dyffryn looks an absolute gem of a place - and it is. Set in staggeringly beautiful hill-country, this silver-stone former Georgian rectory is on an oasis of peace, quiet & friendly informality on the Shropshire/Welsh border.

01691 653700     Contact via Email    

The AA Country House Hotel 3 Star Accommodation Grading

Fernwood is a picturesque, family-run, sixty six acre Park offering peace and tranquillity, which caters for Holiday Homes with a separate area for touring caravans.

01948 710221     Contact via Email    

Visit Britain Holiday and Touring Park 5 Star Accommodation Grading

Little Barn is a recently converted barn in the small village of Trefonen, near historic Oswestry.

01691 653387     Contact via Email    

Visit Britain Self-Catering 4 Star Accommodation Grading

Located in rolling Shropshire countryside, Lion Quays Hotel & Spa is a tranquil oasis of luxury and leisure.

01691 684300     Contact via Email    

The AA Hotel 4 Star Accommodation Grading

Open All Year. Newly refurbished site with excellent facilities for all types of touring campers. One of the Top 100 sites in the UK for 2011 as voted for by our campers in Practical Caravan magazine.

01743 741118     Contact via Email    

Map of Oswestry Town


Oswestry Visitor Information

Oswestry Town Tourist Information Centre

Oswestry Visitor & Exhibition Centre , 2 Church Terrace, Oswestry, SY11 2TE

Tel: 01691 662753
Fax: 01691 657811
Email: Click here