A market so good the town was named after it has been running here every Wednesday for over 759 years, and it was Henry III who put the market into Market Drayton in 1245.
Stalls are laden with fresh produce and an abundance of different wares. Bargain hunters hustle, bustle and banter, just as they always have. And just in case you can't get there on a Wednesday those sneaky Draytonians have even organised a smaller Saturday market and have kept it helpfully undercover.
However, Market Drayton doesn't just rely on its famous market for the modern shoppers needs. The pedestrianised heart of the town provides a safe and pleasant spot for browsing and buying.
You simply cannot get away from Thomas Telford in Shropshire. He built the Shropshire Union canal which passes just a few hundred yards from the town centre. This gives boaters a chance to moor up, explore the town and stock up on supplies, and for the land lover the opportunity to have a memorable tow path walk including the 40 steps aqueduct. Breathtaking! Or if your a 'gongoozler' (a canal boaters name for an onlooker) the town centre is splendid spot to gongoozle!
One foodstuff you'll find a lot of is gingerbread. Market Drayton is its spiritual home, and it's been baked in the town for over 200 years to a traditional and closely guarded secret recipe. Some say rum is included; but just in case it isn't, the locals tend to dip it in port before they eat it.
Far from keeping them permanently sozzled, it seems to have inspired a whole menu of delights. Damson jam, damson cheese (a relish), lamb and damson pie and, of course, damson gin are still produced from the trees which surround and even invade the town. The Food Connection website has more information.
The other thing Market Drayton is known for is cows. Lots of cows. Some 15,000 of them are busy every day making yoghurts and quiches for Muller Dairy and Palethorpes.
The town's most famous son, Robert Clive, Clive of India, even gave the French a culinary lesson. His 'little pies', mince pies before they lost their minced meat, won the Guinness Best Pub Food Award. The French of Pezenas, wolf down 150,000 a year. As a boy he climbed the church tower and ran a protection racket amongst the local shops all of which clearly prepared him perfectly for his defeat of the French and the conquest of much of India. His efforts brought him vast riches and secured the spice routes for the British Empire' thus making ginger an affordable commodity in Britain. Ah, now it becomes clear.
The town also has some rather beautiful architecture. You'll find half timbered and red brick buildings in the town centre and the skyline is dominated by the beautiful 14th century church which is built from local sandstone. Here you will find the tomb of Thomas and Elizabeth Bulkeley distant relatives of 3 presidents of the united states; Calvin Coolidge, George Bush and George W Bush.
Click here to download the Market Drayton Town Trail leaflet (PDF).
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