*Post sponsored by Discover Telford
Last weekend we were invited to enjoy a weekend of family fun in Shropshire by Discover Telford. They had invited us to stay in the region, enjoy some of the Christmas festivities at Shropshire’s most popular tourist attractions and try out the delicious local foods. It was a weekend we were all really looking forward to and we were not disappointed. Grab a cuppa, it’s a long one and don’t forget to check out the vlog from our weekend towards the end of this post.
Where to stay in Shropshire
Love2stay Glamping Lodge
Our base for the weekend was a luxurious glamping lodge with Love2Stay in Shrewsbury. We arrived in the darkness late on Friday evening so couldn’t appreciate our surroundings at all until the morning, but our glamping lodge was incredible. A fixed safari tent with a brilliantly equipped kitchen (hello dishwasher and smeg range cooker) a walk in bathroom with a roll top bath and walk-in shower, three bedrooms and a playroom for the boys, as well as a wood burning stove in the main living space and a private hot tub just outside, we had been spoilt!
Olly decided he wasn’t brave enough to sleep in a room on his own so bunked in the double bed with Shilts, whilst Freddie and I slept in the children’s bedroom with bunk beds with Freddie in a travel cot. Love2Stay are very family friendly and have wooden highchairs and travel cots available for hire.
The glamping lodge had everything we needed for our stay. The kitchen was well equipped with cutlery, pots and pans, as well as some of the basics in the kitchen (tea, coffee, sugar, salt and pepper) we were kindly gifted a welcome hamper too with some essentials in for breakfast which was much appreciated.
We all slept really well over the weekend. It was insanely windy on our first night so it took a while to adjust to the noise of canvas being blown about and the rain hammering down hard on the roof above us but the lodge was really warm and cosy (especially as Shilts had worked out how to use the wood burning stove).
On the Saturday evening, Olly and Shilts went ice skating as Love2Stay had an ice-rink installed for the festive period. It was Olly’s first ever try of ice skating and whilst he didn’t want to sign up for Dancing on Ice he’s proud of himself for trying something new. Fees apply to take part.
When they got back from ice-skating, they both wanted to try out the hot tub so plucked up the courage to step outside in the very cool December temperatures for a dip in the tub. I was dubious at first but it was fantastic. At over 38 degrees, the hot tub was hot, bubbly and perfect for star gazing (that’s the advantage to it being dark early in December, you don’t have to stay up late to see the stars on a clear night!)
The facilities at our glamping lodge were excellent and we all had a wonderful weekend. It’s a beautiful site where you can glamp, camp and bring your caravan if you have one. There’s plenty on site to keep you entertained and you can even get on-site made pizzas delivered for dinner! It’s certainly somewhere we’d like to explore more next year.
Where to eat in Shropshire
The Armoury, Shrewsbury
On Friday evening, we headed to The Armoury in Shrewsbury town centre to fill our boots ahead of our packed family fun weekend. It was a busy Friday night but it didn’t detract from the warm, engaging service we received. We were shown to our table and invited to browse the menu. Olly was given a children’s menu to look at and he was spoiled for choice. Lots of brilliant choice for children to choose from.
From the main menu, Shilts and I chose to enjoy a starter, main and a dessert. Shilts had Crispy Brie with Cranberry Jam and I enjoyed Tomato and Red Pepper Hummus with focaccia. The boys both had Garlic Bread to start which went down a treat. For mains, the boys both had a children’s meal each and in hindsight they both should have shared, the portion sizes were enormous! I enjoyed a beautifully rich Braised Feather of Beef Bourguignon and Shilts had the 8oz Ribeye Steak which he said was cooked to perfection.
For dessert, I couldn’t turn down the Hot Waffle with ice cream and Shilts had to try the Triple Chocolate Brownie. Olly also enjoyed the Warm Chocolate Brownie which ended up all over his face!
The meal at The Armoury was enjoyable. The food was delicious, presented beautifully and we loved how they catered for children too. We didn’t feel that the boys had to keep the noise down or be worried about their lack of table manners, it was a really relaxed evening in a vibrant and enjoyable atmosphere.
Mytton and Mermaid, Shrewsbury
We had a table booked at the Mytton and Mermaid in Shrewsbury for lunch and we were pleasantly surprised. The restaurant is in a grade II listed building steeped in years of history and has previously been awarded 4 AA stars and AA rosette for quality food and service. Did the high praise live up to expectation? It did. We were warmly welcomed and attended too and although it was busy we didn’t have to wait long for our food.
We all enjoyed Homemade Breads to start and then enjoyed main meals from the menu. These included Great Berwick Organics Longhorn Beef Burger and 8oz dry aged Shropshire Angus Sirlion for us and Chicken Goujons and Fish and Chips for the boys. Again, the portion sizes were extremely generous and the boys should have shared.
The restaurant was busy with families, work Christmas parties and couples enjoying a hearty lunchtime feast and it was a relaxing environment to spend an hour with the boys.
Novello Lounge, Telford
On Sunday afternoon, we rounded up our stay in Shropshire with a visit to Novello Lounge in Telford Town Centre. It’s somewhere none of us have been to before so we were looking forward to a yummy dinner and a sit down after a busy day. The vibe in Novello Lounge is right up our street, relaxed and comfortable with brilliant music playing in the background, it gave us a a real home from home feeling.
The menu at Novello Lounge was mouth watering. Shilts ordered the Norfolk Turkey and Smoke Bacon Pie and I ordered the Grilled Halloumi and Falafel Salad. The boys had Fish Fingers and Chips which were all presented beautifully and enjoyed by them both. We were interested to see that Novello Lounge had a Vegan and a Gluten Free menu as it’s the kind of place we’d bring friends who have dietary needs.
We really enjoyed our meal at Novello Lounge. We all felt comfortable, even with Freddie throwing his food around, and we didn’t feel rushed to leave. It’s a brilliant place for a relaxed family meal and a restaurant we would definitely visit again.
What to see in Shropshire
Attingham Park, National Trust
On Saturday morning, we headed to nearby Attingham Park National Trust to explore the mansion in all it’s 1940s glory. The Berwick family mansion was all dressed up ready for Christmas and guests were transported back to the 1940’s to see how Christmas was celebrated back in the day. It was beautiful and such a delight to walk around with each room featuring a huge Christmas tree decorated to fit the times. There’s also an activity trail for children inside the mansion where they must find the elves that are hiding in the rooms, this kept Olly occupied and he really enjoyed it.
Outside of the house, we were invited to take part in the wooden elf making workshop* where we could make a wooden elf completely from wooden parts. This was such a wonderful activity and one that we all really enjoyed doing. There’s plenty of volunteers around to help with elf assembly and we even got to take our elves home afterwards, much to Olly’s delight. (*Pre-booking is essential)
Blists Hill Victorian Town, Telford
Both Shilts and I were excited to return to Blists Hill Victorian Town on Sunday morning as we both had previously visited on school visits in our childhood years. It was so nostalgic returning to the open-air museum and we couldn’t wait to show Olly around to show him what life was like over 100 years ago.
Blists Hill Victorian Town is set in Queen Victoria’s era and aims to show what life was really like with smells, sounds and sights of yesteryear. We had wrapped up warm and was really looking forward to looking around, especially as they had their Christmas decorations up too and we had been invited to meet Father Christmas in his grotto.
As we arrived, we saw Morris dancers gleefully dancing away in the street and we had just missed snowfall in the Main Street. We headed for the row of shops in the town and enjoyed looking through the windows and going inside shops to see how it all used to be laid out. Olly and I enjoyed going into the sweet shop and Olly bought some chocolate drops, all measured out by the shop assistant.
We explored the town in between rain showers visiting a range of shops, the school house, the church and the Ironworks listening to stories and finding out how things we done back in the day. We enjoyed watching the baker making fruit bread and the smells were wonderful. We made a quick visit to see Father Christmas in his grotto and he was a very kind man asking lots of questions and gave the boys an orange, a chocolate coin and a wrapped gift each.
Blists Hill is somewhere you could spend all day exploring and taking in all the sights and sounds and we’d love to return in the summer to explore some more!
No visit to Telford would be complete without visiting the most iconic bridge in the region, Ironbridge. Built in 1779 across the River Severn, the bridge is the first ever cast iron bridge and is one of the most popular tourist attractions. Olly and I decided to have a look at the bridge whilst Freddie napped and it’s a beautiful sight. Only recently the scaffolding has come down and you can see the bridge in all it’s glory. There is so much history here, it’s incredible and quite overwhelming when you don’t remember much of it from school. So much to re-learn and tell our children all about.
On Sunday afternoon we were invited to have a look around Telford Shopping Centre and finish off our weekend with a spot of Christmas shopping. Telford Centre is enormous and much bigger than both me and Shilts remember it being (I did a Geography project on it at school many, many years ago!) There’s a fantastic selection of shops with places to eat and drink dotted throughout. We were also invited to visit Santa in his Grotto however, Freddie was napping so unfortunately he missed out but Olly had a visit and put in a good word for me.
Just outside the Telford Centre are the Christmas markets with stalls selling a variety of gifts, homewares and decorations. I tried some toffee vodka which was lovely so bought some to drink with friends over Christmas.
We’ll be back Shropshire
We all had a wonderful time in Shropshire and all agreed that we would definitely like to return in the new year. Shropshire has so much to offer, we only did a few of the activities but there is so much more to discover and enjoy. Big thanks to Discover Telford for inviting us to stay and to all the partners who allowed us to experience, eat, drink and be thankful of an enjoyable pre-Christmas weekend in Shropshire.