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Holidays in Ellesmere

A Shropshire market town at the edge of a glacial mere and close to World Heritage Sites

UK | Heart of England | Shropshire | Ellesmere
On the mere

Ellesmere has developed over the years and is now well known as a wildlife haven. Not to be confused with Ellesmere Port in neighbouring Cheshire, Ellesmere did in fact give its name to the Mersey Port. This is because of the never-completed Ellesmere Canal.

The Mere is a sanctuary for many species of animals, inviting those who enjoy fishing, boating and walking to explore its majesty. Enchanted by its pretty market nature, with medieval streets, Georgian houses and timbered buildings, many visitors come to view its wildlife, open spaces, and boutiques.

Ellesmere was once envisioned as the hub for several canals intersecting in the town and it is still a popular stopover for canal boat enthusiasts and fans of light river craft. There are marinas and new wharf side developments with eateries and shops along sections of the waterways.

The grand-architect and engineer Thomas Telford stayed in Beech House in the town to design his plans for the canal network that was intended to connect the River Mersey to the River Severn, and the industrial towns of the Midlands.

Pontcysyllte Viaduct

He designed the awe-inspiring viaducts of Pontcysyllte and Chirk there too. The former is an 18-arched stone bridge across the River Dee at a height of 38 metres. It’s still an engineering feat of mastery to this day, and is now a Grade I listed building and one of 30 World Heritage Sites in the UK.

The latter is a twin span that carries the Llangollen Canal and the railway. It holds a Grade II listing and forms a part of the same World Heritage Site as Pontcysyllte.

"Ellesmere was once home to Thomas Telford, an important figure in the Industrial Revolution…"

Ellesmere is also home to the earthworks of the 11th century Ellesmere Castle, once a Norman-era motte and bailey example.

Nature lovers come to town to visit The Mere, which is one of the largest outside of the Lake District, and one of nine glacial meres in the Ellesmere area. Birdwatchers come to see the emigrating and sedentary birds that live here, especially the grey herons.

Ellesmere is within driving distance of Telford, Shrewsbury, Chester, and The Wirral. It is also very close to the Welsh border with England. Take a stroll along a section of the Offa’s Dyke Trail, which runs north-south the full height of Wales, close to or along the ancient border that still exists in part, today.

We have some lovely holiday cottages in and around Ellesmere. Why not visit our collection to feel inspired?

While you’re there

Ellesmere Canals

Take a stroll along the canal network that criss-crosses the town and stop for a picnic.


This world heritage site is an 18-arch stone span that crosses the River Dee way below. A great photo opportunity awaits.

The Mere

Take some time to see the wild opens spaces and waterways of the Mere, where you can enjoy nature and see lots of wildlife and birdlife.

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