Deputy editor Miranda McMinn samples fine dining and a luxurious hotel in the foodie town of Ludlow
Why go? Shropshire is an extremely beautiful but much overlooked county – the Shropshire Hills are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Ludlow, in the heart of South Shropshire, has emerged in recent years as a gastronomic centre, with a charming food market four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) in the main square, many fine delicatessens and several Michelin starred restaurants.
Stay at: Fishmore Hall hotel is a restored Georgian house that sits on the road out of town, with views back over Ludlow and the surrounding gorgeous countryside. It has 15 comfortably appointed rooms with generous baths and wetrooms. But the main reason to stay there is the food. Head chef Andrew Birch has created a menu sourced from the finest produce – local where possible – and the restaurant is full of local gastronomes as well as hotel guests. Fishmore Hall is also opening a brand new treatment spa in October 2016 featuring Elemis and Lava Shell treatments and Jessica nails. There will be four treatment rooms plus sauna and steam and an outdoor cedar wood vitality pool with a bucket shower and monsoon drench showers for cooling off. Can’t wait…
Dine at: Forelles Restaurant at Fishmore Hall offers A La Carte, or a six or nine course tasting menu (vegetarian options available). We had divine scallops, the tenderest loin of Shropshire lamb, and a sinful salted caramel fondant, interspersed with a non-stop selection of amuses bouches and palate cleansers and concluded with a cheeseboard to blow your mind.
You really must: Wander through the charming Georgian streets around the centre of Ludlow, browsing in the delis and vintage shops. Visit the hugely impressive medieval castle – it was home to Henry VII, whose son, Prince Arthur, was married to Catherine of Aragon when he was just 15. They honeymooned in the castle but when Arthur died six months later Catherine was passed on to his older brother, Henry VIII – and we all know how that ended. It’s a very moving place to walk around. Children will love the historic working farm at Acton Scott, a short drive away.
Bring home:Cheese, wine and specialist foods from the market. Vintage, antiques and collectable.