About The Feathers Hotel
Described by Nikolaus Pevsner in ‘The Buildings of England’ as ‘that prodigy of timber framed houses’ and, more recently, in the New York Times as ‘the most handsome inn in the world’, The Feathers Hotel is internationally recognised for its beautiful Jacobean architecture and medieval heritage. The world famous frontage of the building is the gateway to a warm and inviting welcome to be experienced within this celebrated and charming hotel, restaurant and café bar.
Situated at the heart of the ancient market town of Ludlow in South Shropshire, there are excellent craft and antique shops and a wealth of historic buildings all within easy walking distance. Being so central in the town, The Feathers Hotel has, for centuries, been an important meeting point for the local community, and visitors enjoy its lively atmosphere all year round. During the busy summer months the quiet café terrace is a peaceful haven away from the bustle of the town, yet in the dark cold winter months an equal attraction is the atmospheric public lounge where many visitors can be found enjoying a coffee or meal in front of a roaring log fire.
During the annual arts dedicated Ludlow Festival, which takes place during the last week of June and the first week of July, the hotel is bursting at the seams, whilst other well attended annual festivals include the Food & Drink Festival in September and Medieval Fayre in November.
Attractions include Ludlow Racecourse events, Cycle Breaks and the ever popular Ghost themed events. Even as each year comes to an end the hotel is bursting with residents and non-residents all enjoying our Christmas and New Year festive parties and packages.
History of the Feathers
The oldest part of the Feathers, including the world-famous timber façade, was built in 1619 (during the reign of King James I) by Rees Jones, a successful attorney in the town, who had frequently appeared before the Council of the Marches, which from 1536 until 1689 was situated in Ludlow, making the town in effect the capital of Wales.
The name of the hotel springs from the motifs of ostrich feathers forming part of the timber framed façade. They can still be seen by the discerning eye on the collars of the three street gables, although now weathered by the centuries. Ostrich feathers (traditionally the badge of the Prince of Wales) were still very much in vogue in the town at the time that the timber façade was being constructed following celebrations in 1616 for the investiture of Charles (the future King Charles I) as Prince of Wales.
Ludlow was a town with Royalist sympathies and remained loyal throughout the English Civil War, during which it is thought that Royalist soldiers were billeted at the Feathers. Indeed Rees Jones’ son Thomas Jones fought as a Captain in the King’s Army and well after the Civil War he converted the Feathers to an inn, around 1670.
The Feathers remained an inn for the next 200 years during which time, as well as providing sleeping accommodation, food and much beer, the inn was occasionally used as a venue for cock-fighting and prize-fighting. It was also at the centre of politics in the town when candidates for parliamentary elections would make speeches from the hotel balcony then invite voters inside for a drink to help secure their votes.
From 1863 the Feathers became known as a hotel and since then has gradually evolved and expanded through the acquisition of properties on either side of the original house to become established as Ludlow’s leading hotel with a fine international reputation.
Now back in private ownership the Feathers Hotel has been sympathetically refurbished throughout to further improve the fabric yet retaining the character of this historic building.
Ludlow and the Area
Ludlow is often called “the perfect historic town”.
Situated on the River Teme in the outstanding countryside of the Welsh Marches, its medieval street pattern survives almost intact, along with many ancient properties including a magnificent ruined castle and one of the largest parish churches in England. There are over 500 listed buildings in the town.
Ludlow Castle is one of the most interesting castles in the Welsh Marches. It is 900 years old and features examples of architecture from the Norman, Medieval and Tudor periods.
Ludlow Street Market
Ludlow has held street markets since the twelfth century. The market is held on Castle Square, in the heart of the town centre, where you will find over forty stalls selling a range of goods including fresh produce, cheeses, books and a selection of local crafts. As well as its street markets, Ludlow also has a range of specialist markets; antique & flea markets, craft markets, garden fairs, book fairs and an annual green fair.
Ludlow has many things to offer visitors and locals alike, from visiting the many historic buildings in the town to a meal at one of the many excellent eateries. Sports fans and the active will not be disappointed; Ludlow boasts excellent sporting and leisure activities. Those who like to shop will enjoy the many and varied independent shops selling a wide range of goods. Antique collectors, book worms and art enthusiasts will also find plenty for them to do