With its cobbled streets and historic timber-framed buildings, Shrewsbury exudes a charm that’s hard to resist.
As winter approaches, the town becomes a hub for visitors, drawn by its rich history and the promise of its renowned Shrewsbury Christmas Market.
In this article, I’ll walk you through all the essentials, covering the 2023 dates, opening times, and some standout local specialties.
Shrewsbury’s historic charm is amplified during winter, with its timber-framed buildings draped in lights and decorations, while the town’s medieval alleys and squares provide a picturesque backdrop.
Shrewsbury Christmas Market 2023
The heart of Shrewsbury shines brightly each December with its regular market, December in the Square, taking on a festive guise.
The square is adorned with Christmas lights and brimming with handcrafted items, including wooden sculptures, glassware, art, clothing, and an array of culinary delights like gin, chutneys, and freshly baked treats.
Further enriching the festive atmosphere is the renowned Shrewsbury Market Hall Christmas Market.
While it’s traditionally open during the day, a series of ‘Winter Warmers’ sees its doors staying open into the night every Wednesday leading up to Christmas.
Late-night shoppers can indulge in street food, explore cool cafes and bars, and dive into the unique offerings of independent retailers.
The Market Hall is a treasure trove of artisan goods featuring handcrafted items, original presents, and products sourced ethically and environmentally.
You’ll find everything from artist-designed baubles to unique wooden toys, all curated by businesses passionate about their craft.
Another exceptional experience awaits at the Shrewsbury Prison Christmas Market.
This unique setting within the grounds of Shrewsbury Prison, a renowned immersive Dark Tourism Attraction, adds an unexpected twist to the festive season.
With free entry, it welcomed a staggering 7,000 visitors last year, offering a plethora of local stalls and food vendors.
The prison grounds come alive with the sights, sounds, and aromas of the season, from Christmas decorations and artisan crafts to the tempting scent of hot custard, brownies, and luxury hot chocolates.
Lastly, the Abbey Christmas Fair at Shrewsbury Abbey provides a one-day event that shouldn’t be missed, adding another layer to the town’s Christmas celebrations.
Dates and Locations
December on the Square: Likely date: 9th December 2023.
Location: The Square.
Opening times: 9am to 5pm.
Shrewsbury Market Hall Christmas Market: Until 24th December 2023.
Location: Shrewsbury Market Hall.
Opening times: 8am to 8pm. Bars until 10pm.
Christmas Eve: 8am to 4pm.
Shrewsbury Prison Christmas Market: 9th and 10th December 2023.
Location: Shrewsbury Prison.
Opening times: 10am to 4pm.
Tickets: Entry is free but advance booking of tickets is required. Book here.
Abbey Christmas Fair: Likely date: 8th December 2023.
Location: Shrewsbury Abbey.
Opening times: 10am to 2pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Ice skating: No.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Diverse events, high-quality artisan crafts ethically sourced products.
Recommended tour: Self-guided walking tour of Shrewsbury and Darwin’s origins.
Specialities: Hot mulled wine, gooey brownies, luxury hot chocolate, draft beer, cake with hot custard.
Where to stay: Lion and Pheasant Hotel is a popular option near the Christmas events.
Hotels near Shrewsbury Christmas Market
To be near the Christmas market in Shrewsbury, you’ll want to stay in the city centre. This area provides easy access to all the festive activities and local attractions.
I’d recommend the Lion and Pheasant Hotel for its excellent location close to the market and its popularity among visitors.
I suggest reading my article on the Christmas Markets in the UK to discover the best markets nationwide, including Shrewsbury.
Christmas in Shrewsbury
Christmas Specialties in Shrewsbury
Mulled wine: A favourite drink at many Christmas markets, mulled wine is red wine gently warmed with spices like cinnamon and cloves. Sipping on a cup while wandering the market will warm you up. It’s often sweetened a bit and might have a slice of orange in it for extra flavour.
Pork pies: A traditional British savoury treat, these pies are filled with minced pork and jelly. Encased in a cold pastry, they’re a hearty option for those wanting something filling.
Homemade gin: The market features award-winning homemade gin that you can sample or buy. Local ingredients often infuse these gins, making them a unique tipple to enjoy at home.
Chutneys: These are thick sauces that are both sweet and spicy. Made from fruits, sugar, and spices, they complement many dishes or can be enjoyed with some good bread.
Freshly baked cakes: Shrewsbury’s market stalls present a variety of homemade cakes. From fruitcakes to sponge cakes, there’s something for everyone’s sweet tooth.
Hot chocolate: Ideal for the colder weather, hot chocolate at the market is rich and creamy. Some stalls might even add a touch of Shrewsbury’s homemade gin for an extra kick.
Shropshire fidget pie: This is a traditional savoury pie filled with pork, apples, and onions. It combines sweet and savoury flavours, making it a unique and satisfying dish to try.
Local ales: Shrewsbury and the surrounding areas have a rich brewing tradition. You’ll find a selection of local ales at the market, showcasing the range and depth of flavours the region produces.
Handmade chocolates: Local chocolatiers display their finest creations at the market. The quality and craftsmanship are evident in every bite, from truffles to chocolate bars.
Sausage rolls: A simple yet delightful snack, sausage rolls consist of seasoned sausage meat wrapped in flaky pastry. They’re baked until golden, making for a perfect handheld treat as you shop.
Apple cider: Another warming drink choice, apple cider at the market is often mulled with spices. It provides a tangy and aromatic alternative to mulled wine.
Christmas Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Shrewsbury biscuits: Originating from the town, these classic shortbread-like treats make for a delightful gift. Often packed in beautifully designed tins or boxes, they represent a taste of Shrewsbury’s history. Present them to a loved one, and you’re giving them a bite of this region’s culinary heritage.
Shropshire wool products: The region is known for its wool production. At the market, you’ll find an array of woollen products, including scarves, hats, and mittens, all knitted with care and skill, representing the region’s farming legacy.
Local gin: I previously mentioned homemade gin as a drink speciality, but it’s also a popular gift choice. Many visitors buy beautifully bottled Shrewsbury gin as a present or souvenir to take a bit of the market’s spirit home.
Shropshire honey: Produced in the lush fields of Shropshire, the local honey is a sweet treat that stands out. Sold in quaint jars, it’s a taste of the English countryside and a sweet reminder of your visit.
For a wealth of useful information about visiting the city, I encourage you to check out Visit Shropshire, a resourceful website specifically designed for visitors to Shrewsbury. Or you can find their visitor information centre when you arrive.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Shrewsbury at Christmas.
Reduce Food Waste: Shrewsbury’s Christmas market has a myriad of food options. When you’re sampling the local fare, be mindful of portion sizes to reduce potential food waste. Some food stalls may also use compostable plates and cutlery, further minimizing waste.
Ethical Consumption: Make your purchases count by supporting local artisans at the Christmas market. Not only does this bolster the local economy, it also reduces the carbon footprint associated with mass-produced items.
Sustainable Diets: Consider trying some of Shrewsbury’s vegetarian or vegan options. Many food stalls offer plant-based choices that are not only delicious but also have a smaller environmental impact than meat-based dishes.
Sustainable Transport: Shrewsbury’s city centre is compact and easily walkable. Ditch the car and explore the city on foot or by bicycle. You can rent a bike from several locations around town, such as Go Green Bicycles. This reduces carbon emissions and allows you to truly soak in the city’s festive ambience.
Shrewsbury Christmas Market 2023 and event dates are December on the Square: 9th December 2023. Shrewsbury Market Hall Christmas Market: until 24th December 2023. Shrewsbury Prison Christmas Market: 9th and 10th December 2023. Abbey Christmas Fair: 8th December 2023.
The Shrewsbury Christmas Market takes place at multiple locations: December on the Square: Located at The Square. Shrewsbury Market Hall Christmas Market: Situated within the Shrewsbury Market Hall. Shrewsbury Prison Christmas Market: Held at Shrewsbury Prison. Abbey Christmas Fair: Found at Shrewsbury Abbey.
If you would like to leave a review of Shrewsbury Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Shrewsbury, United Kingdom. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.