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Shrewsbury's Heritage Open Days

The National Heritage Open Days scheme celebrates its 25th birthday this September (13-22). In Shrewsbury, it’s a chance to see behind the scenes at a whole host of buildings that wouldn’t normally let you in. Best of all, it’s completely free!

Visit Laura’s Tower

Shrewsbury Castle – Castle St, Shrewsbury, SY1 2AT

Step inside this striking 18th century tower and take in unique views of the Shrewsbury townscape. The tower will be open on September 15 and you will also be able to visit the regimental museum at Shrewsbury Castle for free. Outside in the beautiful gardens, the ‘Mercenaries of Mercia’ re-enactment group will be having a tournament on the castle lawn. Times of these shows will be announced on the day.

Laura’s Tower was built by the famous Thomas Telford in 1790 for the daughter of Sir William Pulteney – believed to have been a 21st birthday present and used as her summer house.

Pick up a Walking Tour of Town from Bear Steps

2 St Alkmonds Place, Shrewsbury SY1 1UJ

Starting at beautiful Bear Steps Hall in St Alkmonds Place, Shrewsbury Civic Society Trust will be running free 40-minute walking tours of the medieval heart of town from 11am & 2pm on September 14. Tickets can be obtained on Eventbrite (Shrewsbury Civic Society) – www.eventbrite.co.uk

Drop in to the Darwin Exhibition at Bear Steps Gallery, covering Darwin’s childhood and school life at Shrewsbury School (September 15-20, 10am to 4pm). www.shrewsburycivicsociety.co.uk

Go behind the Scenes at Shropshire Archives

Castle Gates, Shrewsbury SY1 2AQ

Glimpse the fantastic collections held at our county archives on Tuesday, September 17 from 2pm-3.30pm. You’ll learn how to use the archives and see the archive stores, where over nine kilometres of records are housed in environmentally controlled conditions.

Advance booking is essential - email [email protected] or call (01743) 255356 before September 16. The tour lasts 90 minutes. Refreshments will be available.

Climb Lord Hill's Column

Column Roundabout, Shrewsbury, SY2 5NY

The column boasts the accolade of being the tallest Doric column in England, standing at 133ft 6in (40.7m high). It was constructed after the Battle of Waterloo to mark the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Lord Rowland Hill was given the top spot, as Shrewsbury’s most distinguished soldier. Born in 1772 near Hawkstone, he fought alongside the Duke of Wellington in many a campaign and is buried in the churchyard at Hadnall church.

You can climb the column on September 15, every half hour from 12 noon to 4pm. Bookings via [email protected]

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Spring Gardens, Ditherington SY1 2SZ

See the world’s first iron-framed building (grandparent of our modern skyscrapers) and appreciate the progress of the £25m regeneration. Built in 1797 as a flax spinning mill, it operated for 90 years, but was repurposed in 1897 as a maltings, closing for good in 1987.

Guided tours will be available on September 8 & 9, with site tours on September 14 & 15 from 10am to 4pm. Otherwise, the visitor centre (only) will be open on September 13, 20, 21 & 22. No booking required www.flaxmill-maltings.co.uk

Shrewsbury Unitarian Church

High Street, Shrewsbury, SY1 1LR

Step into this Grade II listed church for a bit of respite from the bustle of the High Street and find a place of quiet reflection, where Charles Darwin and his family worshipped and where Samuel Taylor Coleridge once preached a stirring sermon (1798). The church will be open on September 14 & 15 (10am-4pm) running events on the theme of ‘People Power’.

Market Hall Roof-Top Tours

Claremont St, SY1 1HQ

See Shrewsbury’s historic townscape from on high. Town guide and local historian Stan Sedman will lead a series of tours to the 1960s Market Hall roof top on September 14. Tours will take place at 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Spaces are limited to 10 people per tour.

To book a place email [email protected]. Children under 12 are not permitted due to health and safety considerations. Sensible footwear is essential. Tours meet on the Gallery Level by the Reviive piano, at the Bellstone end of the Market Hall.

The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Fathers of Nicea

Dove Close, Shrewsbury, SY2 6QY

The Greek Orthodox Orthodox Church of the Holy Fathers stands on a unique site used for worship for at least 4,000 years. In 2017, an archaeological dig uncovered a wooden post dating back to 2033BC, believed to form part of a Neolithic processional way.

Visitors can see the stunning, painted interior of this ancient church, which dates back to 1200, and there will be a talk about its history, the recent archaeological dig and its present role and church community. Open September 19 & 22, 12.30pm-4pm. No booking required.

Coleham Pumping Station

Longden Coleham, Shrewsbury, SY3 7DN

It might look like and old Victorian Chapel, but this Grade II listed building was constructed in 1900 to house two massive steam-driven beam engines. On September 14 & 15, you will be able to see these magnificent old gents in operation along with other exhibits, which are maintained by volunteers.