Where to eat in Ludlow, Shropshire

With an abundance of great produce on its doorstep, ‘local’ is the watchword for this Shropshire town’s dining scene.

By Marie Kreft
Published 14 Jan 2021, 08:05 GMT
Ludlow's rural setting close to bountiful Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the Welsh Marches ensures a year-round supply ...

Ludlow's rural setting close to bountiful Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the Welsh Marches ensures a year-round supply of quality produce.

Photograph by Getty Images

In the English-Welsh borderlands, the ruins of Ludlow’s medieval castle are a clue that this pretty market town was once a political powerhouse: the administrative capital of Wales. It’s now part of south Shropshire, over on the English side, and has become as well-known for its gastronomy as its history and good looks. A rural setting close to bountiful Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the Welsh Marches ensures a year-round supply of quality produce, and as a result, many Ludlovians are passionate about championing ‘real’ food and independent businesses.

Ludlow Food Festival was arguably the first of its kind in the country, established 25 years ago as a riposte to a proposed supermarket development nearby. The festival was put on hold for 2020, but for an outdoor foodie fix, try the Ludlow Local Produce Market, held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month in Castle Square. You’ll find charcuterie, bread, honey and heritage variety apple juice — all from producers based within 30 miles of the town.

“The beauty of this market is that everything was made, grown or reared by the people selling it directly to you,” says market manager Tish Dockerty, who also runs the Local to Ludlow shop and cafe/takeaway on Castle Street. The main market, meanwhile, is held four times a week in the same location — don’t miss the liquorice stall on Saturdays, with vegan and gluten-free options available.

For a brilliant bricks-and-mortar butcher, try D W Wall & Son, on High Street, with traditional painted frontage and hanging feathered game (in season). Meat is sourced from trusted nearby farmers and includes the stuff that goes into the shop’s award-winning Ludlow Sausage, made to a secret recipe that was passed on by another butcher when he stopped trading.

At the butcher D. W. Wall & Son, meat is sourced from trusted nearby farmers and includes the stuff that goes into the shop’s award-winning Ludlow Sausage.

Photograph by Alamy

While you’re shopping, head for Harp Lane Deli on Church Street (the deli is named after the cobbled medieval alley running alongside it). Here, the friendly team curates a dream pantry from suppliers near and far; marvel at the wall of cheese and snap up handmade chocolates from Powys and risotto rice from Piedmont. In normal times, you can also enjoy coffee and homemade Portuguese custard tarts in the cosy window bar.

On Broad Street — described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as one of the most memorable streets in England — visit the tiny Cicchetti Bar, a deli serving pan-European breakfasts (try the Turkish eggs), coffee, aperitivi, cicchetti (Italian tapas) and dolcetti. It’s currently operating as a takeaway, but owners Martyn and Jayne Emsen’s hospitality can be enjoyed indoors at their nearby Angel wine bar, which serves Mediterranean food.

For unpretentious yet beautifully presented breakfasts and lunches, venture beyond the castle to the banks of the River Teme. Overlooking Dinham Weir, CSONS at the Green Café is run by brothers Reuben, Adam, Ben and Josh Crouch (the C ‘sons’), whose love of travel and regional suppliers is reflected in their frequently changing menu. Find Springfield Poultry from Leominster in a meltingly delicious shawarma, or Shropshire-grown cauliflower in crispy pakora with dhal and pickles.

Three top dining spots in Ludlow


1. Ludlow Brewing Co
Breathing life back into a former Victorian railway shed near the station, Ludlow Brewing Co is a sustainable brewery beloved for its cask ale made using hops from nearby Bromyard. Ludlow Gold is its full-bodied, flagship beer. Drink in, take out, book a tour, and look out for street food nights.

2. Les Petit Gris
The on-site cafe at the expansive Ludlow Castle (no ticket needed) is now run by local gourmet operation Les Petit Gris, which gained acclaim for its pop-up restaurants. Visit by day for a light lunch or book in advance for the seasonal Friday evening menu.

3. Mortimers
Ludlow once held more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in Europe. If a star should return soon, it will surely be for chef-patron Wayne Smith’s exceptional British/French fine dining in the splendid surroundings of Mortimers on Corve Street. Try the ‘A Taste of Mortimers’ tasting menu.

How to do it

Trains from London Euston, changing at Crewe, will take you to Ludlow in just over three hours. A direct service runs from Manchester Piccadilly. Double rooms at Fishmore Hall start at £175.

Published in Issue 10 (winter 2020) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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