Hilltop LUDLOW is one of the most picturesque towns in the West Midlands – a gaggle of beautifully preserved black-and-white half-timbered buildings packed around a craggy stone castle, with rural Shropshire forming a drowsy backdrop. The town is also something of a gastronomic hideyhole, with a clutch of outstanding restaurants.
Mostly though, it's the town's general appearance that appeals rather than any special sight. On the Bull Ring, the Feathers Hotel is a fine Jacobean building with the fanciest wooden facade imaginable. Steeply sloping Broad Street is particularly attractive, flanked by many of Ludlow's five hundred half-timbered Tudor and red-brick Georgian listed buildings, its north end framed by the high and mighty Butter Cross, a Neoclassical extravagance from 1744. At the foot of Broad Street is Ludlow's only surviving medieval gate, which was turned into a house in the eighteenth century.
The castle makes a fine open-air auditorium during the Ludlow Festival (Tel:01584/872 150, Web: www.ludlowfestival.co.uk ), two weeks of assorted musical and theatrical fun running from the end of June to early July.