The best of independent bookselling

The best of independent bookselling in the heart of Ludlow. If you're thinking of coming to Ludlow, already here and want to find out more or looking for a gift for a lover of our beautiful town, proprietor, Stanton Stephens & his team can help.

I checked in with Stanton to ask about the shop and his recommendations: Castle Bookshop was established in 1949 and specialises in books of local interest and books by local authors.

It was run for many years by the Bell family. I started working in the shop in 1989 and took over the shop on the death of the well known Peter ‘Clanger’ Bell in 1998. I am helped by Mike and Pete. The shop specialises in books of local interest. Here are some of my personal recommendations for visitors to the town.

If I was looking for a lovely coffee table non fiction book on Ludlow what would you recommend?
I would recommend A Year in Shropshire by John and Mike Haywood (£20) a lovely photographic introduction to our beautiful county. We also stock arrange of beautiful greeting cards by the authors. I would also recommend Hill and Dale My Shropshire Year (£25) recently published by Andrew Fusek Peters and is also full of stunning photographs.

For a first time visitor is there a fairly light general guide they could read over a coffee in the Castle Square?
I would recommend an illustrated booklet called Historic Ludlow (£4.99) or if you are wanting a more detailed look at the town A Concise History of Ludlow (£14.99) both titles by David Lloyd. We also stock various town trails including the Ludlow Civic Society’s Town Trail (£2.50) which guides round the town's history through the blue plaques found on its historic buildings. We also stock a separate history trail (£7.99).

I need a really informative guide to the architecture in town for a friend – What would you recommend and why?
The Shropshire edition of the Buildings of England series (£60). A series of world famous architectural guides started by Nikolaus Pevsner just before the war. The Shropshire volume has a large section on the architecture of the town and surrounding area. Pevsner’s ‘Buildings of England’ series has been called the most authoritative guides on architecture produced anywhere in the world.

There are a lot of local authors who write fictional stories set in and around Ludlow, again, any recommendations?
If you like a good murder mystery I would recommend; The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George (£7.99) an Inspector Lynley (remember the much loved 1990s TV series?) novel set in Ludlow.

If you have an interest in more ‘mystical’ matters The Smile of a Ghost (£8.99) by Phil Rickman is another good murder mystery set in the town it forms part of the popular Merrily Watkins series. Also what can now be regarded as a ‘classic’ is Tom Sharpe’s Blott on the Landscape (£9.99) which was inspired by the saga surrounding planning and building the town’s bypass.

I would also recommend the Cadfael series of murder mysteries particularly the Virgin In the Ice (£9.99) by Ellis Peters who pioneered the historical murder mystery and is one of the best writers of books set in winter.

If you are interested in the history of the town and castle I would recommend the work of Sharon Penman. We will also be stocking a new historical novel by Annie Gartwaite Cecily (£14.99) about the life and times of Cecily Neville. I have already had a proof copy of the book and it's a very good read. We have a lot of local authors living in the town and so we have a large local authors section. Feel free to pop into the shop anytime and browse this section.

Is there any poetry about Ludlow?
While many poems have been inspired by Ludlow, the most famous poet associated with Ludlow was not from Shropshire but from Worcestershire. A.E. Housman will always have his name linked with the town and the county and I heartedly recommend his poetry. We publish our own pocket-sized edition of A Shropshire Lad (£3.99) and we also stock a fine illustrated hardback at (£20).

We have many other books on Ludlow and the border area including a comprehensive section of walking books and maps for when you are feeling energetic. I particularly recommend a pack of 12 walks many starting in the main from the canon on the square (£6). We also stock the ‘In & Around’ maps which are detailed walking maps at (£3.99) as well as a wide range of Ordnance Survey maps.

Please feel free to pop in during your stay. Open everyday including Sunday. Call ahead for exact times: 01584 872562

Article written by: Vicki Orttewell.


Published by Ludlow Guide on

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