Shrewsbury is a natural selection if you are trying to find a charming and fascinating English town in which to spend a weekend. Sitting on the banks of the River Severn, the town hosts a lovely old centre with more than 660 historic listed historical buildings. Given the small size of the town, almost any Shrewsbury hotel will put you near this old medieval city heart. However, Shrewsbury is not only home to history. It is also the home to evolution. It was here in 1809 that Charles Darwin was born and where he first delved into the world of natural science.
The Darwin Town Trail allows visitors to see the places around Shrewsbury which shaped the young Charles into one of the most influential thinkers in history. Darwin would often spend his childhood days looking at bugs in the family garden or exploring the banks of the River Severn or fishing for newts in Quarry Park. Shrewsbury was also known as the “Town of Flowers,” something which undoubtedly fed Charles’ interests in nature.
In addition, Shrewsbury is a geological gem. There are rocks here from more geological periods than can be found anywhere else in the world. The most famous bit of local geology is the Bellstone. This large erratic boulder is made of a type of stone only found in Cumbria or Scotland, a good distance away. When Darwin was young, he was told “that the world would come to an end before anyone would be able to explain how this stone came where it now lay.” When Darwin went to university learned in Geology how ice could transport boulders, he was inspired. These experiences, over time, compelled Darwin to believe that the earth was much older than believed and thus many more processes had time to shape its surface and its inhabitants.
Each year around February, the town of Shrewsbury celebrates the life its most famous resident with The Darwin Festival 2012. Around this time hotels in Shrewsbury fill up. However, any time of year is a good time to visit this inspiring town.