Ludlow is known as a foodie destination. I wasn’t that impressed with the food side of things, but did find plenty to keep me interested on the day I spent there as part of my A49 road trip.
First up was the Ludlow Food Centre. This is slightly outside Ludlow itself along the A49 in Bromfield.
The Food Centre consists of a large shop with sections for groceries, meats, cheeses, frozen foods and fresh fruit and vegetables. Upstairs is a gift shop. The displays looked enticing and everything looked lovely, but I found myself comparing it with the Farm Shop and cafe at Tebay Services on the M6 and thinking it was a poor second.
Over the years the Food Centre has expanded and now includes a cafe, accommodation and a post office. I had breakfast in the cafe and chose Eggs Florentine and a cafetiere of coffee.
It was all very nice, but didn’t stand out. There wasn’t much spinach with the Eggs Florentine and if anything the eggs were a little on the watery side. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them, just it was the standard I would expect anywhere and I wasn’t particularly wowed by it.
Breakfast over, I drove to the Park & Ride and left my van. Parking was free and the return bus ride cost me £1.75. Buses are only every half hour and I had to wait 15 minutes for one. I couldn’t find a timetable for the return journey and so assume I’d just missed one as I waited almost 30 minutes. If I’d known the times I could have done something else with that half hour.
So far, this sounds like it’s going to turn into a whinging post doesn’t it? It’s not, I promise. The rest of the day was fine and although I wouldn’t hasten back to Ludlow, it’s definitely worth visiting once.
Ludlow Castle is in the centre of town near the market square (the market wasn’t on the day I visited so I can’t comment on it) and this is where I headed first. I really enjoyed wandering round, climbing towers and following a maze of passageways from room to room. I wrote more about it here.
Next I spent quite a bit of time wandering the streets, some of which are really narrow, taking lots of photos of the picturesque buildings and browsing the shops. Ludlow has a lot of chain shops, but also has plenty of independents which are always nice to see.
The church is beautiful, more like a cathedral inside, and is free to enter.
Although the church is free to enter, I paid £4 to climb 41 metres to the top of the tower. As it was a beautifully clear day this was well worth it as I got great views over the surrounding countryside.
I’ve climbed plenty of towers before, but there was something about this one that seemed that little bit more adventurous than usual.
I was given a wooden ring on a lanyard to hang round my neck. This was to be returned once I’d descended so the church wardens can keep a track of how many people are in tower.
A warden took me to a small door at the base of the tower, unlocked it and, once I was inside, locked me in. I think it’s the first time I’ve been locked in a tower. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds as it’s possible to unlock the door from the inside so I could let myself out when I was ready.
The 200 steps wind round and round in a very narrow spiral. The steps themselves are narrow as well and I had to make sure my feet were placed carefully before I took each step. I held tightly to the rope all the way up and even more tightly on the way down!
I was part way up when a boom reverberated around the tower and made me thankful I had such a firm grip on the rope. The clock bells are in tower and are automated to strike every 15 minutes. I was pretty close to them when the clock struck the first time. It was loud.
I spent quite a bit of time at the top using my camera to zoom in on different parts of town and looking far out over distant parts of the countryside. I was on my own until two people arrived at the top just as I was ready to begin my descent. It could’ve been tricky if we’d met part way up!
When I was researching my trip I found this post by Simon Whaley. He writes much more eloquently than me about his trip up the tower and it’s worth a read even if you’re not planning your own trip.
To finish my day in Ludlow I went to the small museum. This is upstairs in one of the town centre buildings and consists of two rooms covering the stone age up to the present day.
Locked in a glass case is the Bitterley Hoard. This consists of 137 silver coins and one gold one dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The hoard was found in 2011 by a metal detectorist.
A small display near the entrance seemed to be about aliens in Ludlow. Not something I’d previously associated with Ludlow. It turned out that back in the ’80s, the early days of computer gaming, the most popular gaming magazines were started by three local lads who operated from premises in the centre of town.
Newsfield Publications Ltd was founded by Roger Kean, Franco Frey and Oliver Frey in 1983. Based in the top three floors of number 1-2 King Street, Ludlow, Newsfield published a number of hugely popular computer game magazines from the mid-1980s to early-1990s, which at one time were everywhere to be found in British newsagents.
The above quote has been taken from a review of the exhibition in retrocomputingnews.com and the entire review can be read here.
Local teenage schoolboys were recruited to come to their offices and play the games and then write reviews. Can you imagine how much fun that must have been for them? And as the reviews were written by the members of the same demographic as the core readership this of course contributed to the success of the magazines.
After looking at pictures of aliens flying over Ludlow on the magazine covers in the exhibition I saw the streets that little bit differently when I emerged from the museum. Although I kept my eyes open and peered down all the little alleyways I didn’t see anything more alien looking than a couple of gargoyles.
Maybe that’s just as well.
Have you been to Ludlow? Seen any aliens? Been locked in a tower? Would you like to? Share your thoughts in the comments below.