A festival to celebrate the life and work of Charles Darwin to coincide with the great man’s birthday is under way, with a variety of events taking place in Shrewsbury – including free entry to the museum and art gallery.

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery is throwing its doors open for free on February 14, 15 and 16 as a special arrangement for the festival, and arranging Darwin guided walks around the town centre on February 14 and 15.

Fay Bailey, manager of the museum and art gallery, said: “Shrewsbury is quite rightly very proud of its links with Charles Darwin, and we are pleased to be part of the festival.

“We hope our offer of free entry will encourage people who may never have been to the museum before to come and explore the amazing exhibitions and collections we have here.”

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, which coordinates the festival, said: “We are delighted to have such an interesting range of activities and discussions, run by a variety of organisations and volunteers, taking place this year.

“From creating your own ceramic beetle in The Hive, to an evening of music inspired by Darwin’s life in St Alkmund’s Church, we feel there is something for everyone at this year’s festival.”

The Quarry became a sea of Charles Darwins on Saturday (February 8) as participants of the weekly Shrewsbury Parkrun donned Darwin masks to mark the beginning of the DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival.

Meanwhile, the festival was officially launched on Friday (February 9) with the final of the Shropshire Young Thinkers Competition, organised by Morris & Company and University Centre Shrewsbury, where youngsters had been challenged to highlight the link between Shrewsbury and Charles Darwin in 2020 by designing an emblem.

An exhibition of the finalists will run throughout the festival at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, and the winning design will feature on flags flying in front of the University Centre Shrewsbury building and on top of Morris & Company.

It will also be displayed as wall art on the University campus and available on T-shirts.

For a full list of the events taking place during the festival, and to book tickets, visit the website here.