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Ellesmere, Shropshire's mini Lake District

Ellesmere is a quiet market town Near Oswestry in Shropshire. It gets its name from the nine lakes dotted around it. The Mere, the largest of the lakes, is home to The Boathouse cafe, a visitor centre, arboretum, children's play area and sprawling park.

The Llangollen Canal is close to the town centre, and you'll see many a colourful canal boat from the banks as you take a stroll on the Ellesmere Shropshire Sculpture Trail, a collection of contemporary pieces using local materials.

Step back in time at Whittington Castle

Although not much remains of this 12th-century moated castle to show what it was like in its heyday, the gatehouse towers still stand, and you can enjoy free access to the grounds. The castle looks especially atmospheric when floodlit at night, with the light reflected in the water of the moat. Special events are held throughout summer, including living history re-enactments, outdoor theatre and ghost tours.

Cross the border into Wales

You're not far from the Welsh border in Ellesmere. Jones the Boats will take you across the amazing Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, while the horse-drawn boats in Llangollen offer a leisurely trip along the canal. If you'd rather walk, the meandering path of the River Dee on the west side of Llangollen takes in the Horseshoe Falls. Looking for a cheap hotel Near Ellesmere? Travelodge Oswestry Hotel is around a 15-minute drive from the town. Travelodge Wrexham Hotel is around 10 miles away.