In addition to being one of the finest Tudor towns in England, Shrewsbury also claims a famous son, Charles Darwin. The town sits within a loop of the River Severn 40 mi/65 km northwest of Birmingham, and its abbey has long been a pilgrimage site in honor of St. Winifred. Be sure to see the 12th-century Church of St. Mary and the Rowley's House Museum. Fans of Ellis Peters' "Cadfael" mysteries should check out Shrewsbury Quest.

Halfway between Hereford and Shrewsbury and off the tourist trail is the near-perfect medieval town of Ludlow. An ancient capital of the Welsh borders, it has a fabulous castle, royal intrigue (such as the murdered little princes and Catherine of Aragon), cobbled streets, timber-framed buildings and historic hotels—all set in spectacular countryside. In nearby Wroxeter are the impressive remains of one of the largest Roman towns in Britain.

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