The Bear Inn is the local pub/restaurant which comes highly recommended. The menu changes monthly and you are assured of a warm welcome. The staff are happy to allocate a table with plenty of turning space for wheelchair users, though unfortunately the toilets have no disabled access as the doorways are narrow.
St Luke’s Church which dates back to Norman times has the only octagonal tower in Shropshire. There is a wide gateway on the right hand side of the road down to Hodnet through which you can take a car and there is then a pathway suitable for wheelchairs round the outside of the tower into the church main door. There is a disabled access toilet within the church.
The renowned Hodnet Hall Gardens are open every Sunday between April and September. In addition to the spectacular gardens and the lakes, there is a restored dovecote and the old black and white stable building housing the tea shop.
Further afield, the market towns of Market Drayton (6 miles) and Whitchurch (8 miles) both have a large selection of supermarkets and individual shops plus leisure facilities. There is a Tourist Information Centre in both towns.
The swimming pool in Market Drayton has a varied programme for both its learner pool and main 25 metre pool. There is a hoist chair at the poolside which the lifeguards are all trained to use.
The award-winning Festival Drayton Centre in Market Drayton has a cinema, theatre and café with full disabled access.
Alderford Lake near Whitchurch (previously called Dearnford Lake) has a lovely café with glass-fronted conservatory where you can sit and watch the wildlife on the lake or take a stroll around the lake. It is a venue for car boot and antique fairs and occasional plant fairs.
The county town of Shrewsbury which lies on the River Severn holds the renowed Shrewsbury Flower Show every August and there are beautiful gardens down by the river. Shrewsbury is 14 miles south of Hodnet and there are very efficient park and ride facilities into the town.
Attingham Park, a National Trust property, is just outside town and has good access to the ground and first floors and some wheelchair friendly paths through the parkland.
St Chads Shrewsbury
Cheshire’s county town of Chester is just under an hour’s drive north from Marchamley and is another historic town with Roman walls, a racecourse and plenty of shopping. Further north at Ellesmere Port just off the M53 is Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet shopping centre for those designer labels at discount prices.
The Old Canal Towpath which runs from Ditherington to Uffington is one of several wheelchair friendly footpaths in and around Shrewsbury. There is an all-ability trail at Haughmond Hill that winds through woodland.
ELLESMERE, south-west of Whitchurch, is lovely for a visit on a good day for a stroll along the side of the Mere and lunch or afternoon tea in The Boathouse overlooking the mere (lake). There is a wheelchair friendly path that goes around part of the lakeside and an accessible towpath along the canal from the wharf in the town centre.
TELFORD, about 14 miles south-east of Marchamley, has a huge indoor shopping complex with wide malls – ideal for wet days.
The World Heritage site at Ironbridge has ten different museums, the majority of which are wheelchair friendly. Blists Hill Victorian Town has plenty for wheelchair users and is a fascinating insight into the Victorian age.
The Royal Air Force Museum at Cosford has excellent access throughout the site and plenty to see with hangers full of vintage aircraft, exhibitions and displays. The annual air show is in June.
The Severn Valley (steam) Railway is on the edge of town. There are some specially adapted carriages for wheelchairs accessed via a ramp and designated toilet on the train. There is a tearoom, shop and designated toilet at Bridgnorth station.
Perhaps an hour and a half from Marchamley travelling south (25 miles from Shrewsbury) driving through the fabulous South Shropshire hills – with its castle and its superb gastronomic reputation – is well worth a visit if you don’t mind travelling further afield.