"At first glance Shropshire is full of contradictions - birthplace of the Industrial Revolution yet it's an unspoilt rural idyll. Two of the most beautiful medieval towns in England, yet one gave birth to every skyscraper in the world (not forgetting one of the greatest thinkers of all time, Charles Darwin). The other set the pace for the country's Slow Food movement - if that in itself isn't a contradiction. And a small market town became the very inspiration for the modern Olympics."
The nearest town to Harper Adams, Newport is a thriving market town dating back to the 12th century. Its distinctively wide main street is home to independent and high street shops, picturesque cobbled streets, award winning floral displays, a wide range of cafes and restaurants, supermarkets and utilities.
Telford is one of the UK's fastest growing and most successful new towns, yet its roots stretch back for hundreds of years and you will find plenty of local history in its thriving market towns.
At its heart, in the modern town centre, is the ultramodern Southwater development featuring a state of the art library, IMAX cinema, ice rink, ten pin bowling, Mecca bingo and Telford Town Park with its 162 hectares of green space, numerous play areas and its aerial ropes and mini golf adventure course. Its many restaurants and café bars offer a selection of cuisines from around the world including rustic and traditional English, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese and Mexican. The Place theatre, in Oakengates, has a packed programme of shows and events.
The county town of Stafford, Staffordshire is well served by rail and road.
Its shopping centre features a variety of high street and independent shops, an art gallery, museum in the Ancient High House, cafes, bars, restaurants, cinema, theatre, and an attractive park. Within a short drive of the town you can explore its castle, marina, Trentham Estate's gardens and Monkey Forest, Uttoxeter racecourse, Shugborough stately home, and the bike trails and woodland walks of Cannock Chase.
Don't miss the opportunity to visit the incomparable Ironbridge Gorge. Along with such monuments as the Acropolis, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, the beautiful and historic Gorge has been classified as a World Heritage Site since 1986.
The area made a unique contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, which had a worldwide impact, and its fascinating history can be explored through the ten award-winning museums spread along the valley beside the River Severn, spanned by the world's first iron bridge, erected in 1779. Walking, cycling, canoeing, bus - there are so many ways to enjoy Ironbridge's stunning scenery and history. A short drive from Ironbridge you will find the picturesque market town of Much Wenlock, and the sixteen-mile escarpment of Wenlock Edge, probably Britain's best fossil-rich, natural feature.
Shrewsbury's imposing castle, abbey and cobbled streets are a vivid reminder of the county town's history - it is one of England's finest medieval towns, and birthplace of Charles Darwin.
Today, with its magnificent floral displays, independent shops and boutiques sitting alongside high street stores, café bars, restaurants, and the delightful Quarry Park, it is the perfect place to while away a relaxed day.
A half-hour drive from Shrewsbury you can explore the historic market town of Church Stretton, at the heart of the South Shropshire hills on the English/Welsh border known as The Marches. It is the first town in Shropshire to be awarded 'Walkers are Welcome' status (places which have something special to offer for walkers other than simply being a fantastic place to come and enjoy the great outdoors) and holds its own annual Walking Festival in June. Church Stretton is also an official Fairtrade town.
Why not experience some of the UK's most vibrant cities? Exploring from Harper Adams is easy with excellent road links - both the M54 and M6 are less than 20 minutes drive away.