Shrewsbury was the only town in the borough; Atcham, although itself only a village, was included in the name as a reflection of the incorporation into the borough of the former Atcham Rural District. Other notable villages included Alberbury, Bayston Hill, Bomere Heath, Condover, Cressage, Cross Houses, Dorrington, Ford, Hanwood, Minsterley, Montford Bridge, Nesscliffe, Pontesbury, Uffington and Westbury.
The Borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham covered 602 square kilometres (232 sq mi), which was 19% of the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire. To the north of the borough was the North Shropshire district and the Borough of Oswestry and to the south were the South Shropshire and Bridgnorth districts. The borough lay in the middle of Shropshire and on the border with Wales. A 2006 estimate put the population of the borough at 95,900 (this accounted for approx 40% of the total population for the non-metropolitan county).
The River Severn runs through the area and in recent years (1998, 2000 twice, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007) has brought severe and frequent flooding to parts of Shrewsbury and large areas of the countryside.
The district and its council was abolished on 1 April 2009 when the new Shropshire unitary authority was established, as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England. The Central area committee of the new Shropshire Council covers exactly the same area as the borough did.