In a Nutshell
We find Shrewsbury to be one of the most dog friendly town centres in the UK. Certainly everyone seems to have their dog with them, so it's a great place for some retail therapy, mixed with a bit of history and doggy socialisation. It's a very walkable town centre, with lovely parks within a few minutes walk of the high street.
Parking & Pooping
Shrewsbury is easily accessible from the A5, linking to the M54 for quick access to the Midlands and M6. With the town centre largely contained within the looping River Severn, parking can be a little limited within the town centre itself. Our preferred option is to park just south of the town centre at the Abbey Foregate car park (60p an hour). It's a short walk across the bridge into town. If you want a shorter stroll in then the NCP Wyle Cop car park is just over the bridge on the A5191 to the south of the town. Both car parks are close to the riverside and Abbey Gardens for a post-drive wee for pup and have the advantage of allowing you to walk up into the town centre through the collection of independent shops and cafes in the traditional timber framed buildings.
Other parking options can be found on the north side of the town, with the largest open air car park being the Frankwell Car Park, across the river from the centre, but easily accessible across a footbridge into one of the dog friendly shopping centres.
Despite being a busy and fairly compact town centre, Shrewsbury has adopted a pedestrianised approach on weekends. Pavements are fairly wide and after making your way up Wyle Cop, you quickly find yourself in traffic restricted areas, meaning you can walk comfortably in the roads towards the pedestrianised Pride Hill, which forms the effective high street of the town. Unusually, the modern shopping centres such as the Darwin Shopping Centre are also dog friendly, something we hope more shopping centres will adopt across the UK.
The only grassed areas in the town centre are by the two churches, however a short walk to the west of the centre brings you to the Quarry park with the delightful Dingle, which is a great place to sit and enjoy the well maintained gardens and lake, or get some exercise in the open parkland areas by the river.
There are plenty of places to take a rest with benches dotted about the main square and along Pride Hill, as well as around the church grounds and by the castle.
Keeping the Humans Amused
Shrewsbury is a town from Tudor times, so the numerous timber framed buildings and winding back streets make a great setting for the large number of independent shops and cafes, as well as the usual high street names. Check out also the Market Hall for both the traditional market stalls and more unusual items. On the east side of the town centre is Shrewsbury Castle and the military museum, with free to enter grounds just in front. Down by the river there are various boat trips advertised and look out for events being held in the riverside park.
We've yet to properly explore the dog friendly food offers in the town, however its worth noting that Cafe Nero, Starbucks and unusually, Pret a Manger, allow well behaved dogs in their cafes. There are numerous pavement cafes dotted around the historic town centre so on a fine day there's no problem finding a dog friendly option. We've noticed more and more dog friendly cafes around the centre, too many to list here, but we have included some of those we have seen below.
Tried & Tested Dog Friendly
Starbucks (The Square) - quite roomy and good for people watching in the square
Cafe Nero (Mardol Head) - the usual Nero offer
Pret a Manger (Pride Hill) - Unusually dog friendly at the managers discretion (we've never been turned away), lots of space
Cafe on the Cop (Wyle Cop) - small independent cafe selling the 'largest cakes in Shrewsbury'. We had a very warm welcome here; nice sausages!
Listed Dog Friendly
Floro Lounge (Pride Hill) - part of the dog friendly Lounges group
Palmers of Shrewsbury (Claremont St), good value snacks and drinks
Last visit Feb 2023