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Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Oswestry, Shropshire. Not surprisingly in view of its violent history, little remains to show that this market town on the Welsh border existed, in some form, before the Romans came to Britain. Man has lived here, in fact, for 2,500 years at least but rarely in peace. The remains of an Iron Age Fort, dating from about 550 B.C., can be seen to the North of the town, the earliest evidence of the need to seek security behind fortifications. The field where the Roman Catholic church now stands is believed to be the site of the Battle of Maserfield in AD. 642, when the pagan King Penda of Mercia defeated and killed Oswald, the Christian King of Northumbria: this was the origin of the name Oswestry. The town was a frequent bone of contention between the Normans and the Welsh tribes. King John burnt it down in 1215 and 18 years later Llewellyn of Wales did the same. Owen Glen-dower sacked the town and almost demolished the church in 1400; and there were three accidental but disastrous fires between 1542 and 1567.

The result of all this destruction and pillage is that Oswestry is now largely a product of the 19th century. But odd traces remain: in the Norman foundations of the tower of St Oswald's Church; in the original buildings of the Grammar School, dating from 1407, now divided into three cottages; and in the early 17th-century Llwyd Mansion in the centre of the town, a well-preserved black-and-white building bearing, strangely, on its wall the double-headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire, arms granted to a member of the Llwyd family, owners of the mansion, for distinguished service during the Crusades.

Oswestry Castle, built originally by the Normans, was destroyed on Cromwell's orders after the Civil War and today only fragments of the walls remain. But the site has been made into a public park which offers fine views from the top. King Oswald's Well, which is still in existence, is fed by a spring which, according to legend, sprang from the spot where an eagle dropped one of Oswald's limbs after the Battle of Maserfield. The Croeswylan Stone the Cross of Weeping can be seen in Morda Road, near the boys' secondary modern school. The stone marks the spot, then outside the town walls, where the markets were held in 1559 when the plague struck the town. Some say the hollowed-out stone was the base of a cross; others that money was washed in the “bowl” to avoid contamination.

Oswestry is a natural centre for visiting North and Central Wales as well as Shropshire.

Two famous men are natives of Oswestry. In Willow Street a plaque marks the house where Sir Walford Davies, the organist, composer and, for some years, Master of the King's Musick, was born. And Plas Wilmot is similarly commemorated in Weston Lane as the birthplace of Wilfred Owen, one of the Great War's finest poets.

Nearby towns: Chirk, Ellesmere, Llanfyllin, Llangollen, Llanrheadr ym Mochnant, Shresbury, Welshpool, Wrexham

Nearby villages: Alberbury, Ball, Baschurch, Bicton, Cockshutt, Colemere, Fitz, Gobowen, Great Ness, Guilsfield, Hindford, Hordley, Ifton Heath, Kinnerley, Kinton, Knockin, Little Ness, Llanyblodwel, Llanymynech, Llynclys, Maesbury Marsh, Melverley, Petton, Ruyton of the Eleven, Selattyn, Shrawardine, Trefonen, Welshampton, West Felton, Weston Lullingfields, Wilcott

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