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A three-hour drive from London will take you to the birthplace of William Shakespeare, which today has a lot to offer as the literary lifeblood of England. But beyond its artsy side, get ready to also discover antique shops, contemporary restaurants, its picturesque countryside and more.
The best part is that most of these attractions are within a 20-minute stroll from Hotel du Vin, Stratford-upon-Avon. So if you’re staying there, travelling by foot is a great option too!
Take our quiz to get you started on building an itinerary for things to do in Stratford, recommended according to your interests.
Stratford-upon-Avon is situated amid pretty Warwickshire countryside, on the edge of the Cotswolds, making it a great starting point for hikes, whether you fancy a short, circular stroll around a country park, a longer canal walk or something more challenging ─ a stretch of the 990km Monarch’s Way, perhaps?
Starting from Worcester, Monarch’s Way follows the approximate escape route of King Charles II after the defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The full route snakes through 11 counties in England, before ending at Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex. Enjoy the scenic sights such as the Cotswolds and Mendip Hills and the South Downs National Park along the way.
Or rent a boat to explore the town on water with Avon Boating. Be it a no-frills guided 40-minute public river cruise or private cruise-and-dine options such as fish-and-chips trips, there’s bound to be something that caters to everyone.
You can also get up close with nature at the nearby Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm. Here you’ll find featured zones such as the Flight Area where you can watch hundreds of colourful butterflies feeding and flying in a landscaped tropical greenhouse, as well as the Discovery Zone, which is home to the world’s largest and hairiest camouflaged caterpillars.
Get to know the world’s most famous playwright at all five of the Shakespeare’s Family Homes. Whether it’s his daughter’s home at Hall’s Croft, his wife’s at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s own Birthplace, the family home at Shakespeare’s New Place or his mother’s Tudor farm at Mary Arden’s Farm, each will give you a glimpse into the life of England’s literary genius.
Note: It’s best to start with Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Hall’s Croft and Shakespeare’s New Place – they’re all within walking distance. Once you’re done with them, head to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Mary Arden’s Farm is the farthest from town so save that for the end. For the last two places, you can either drive or take an open bus.
Venture out and visit Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall too. Discover the journey of William Shakespeare, right at the place where the gifted young wordsmith first learned his art.
Now that you’re in Stratford, there’s nothing better than a full theatrical performance of William Shakespeare’s beloved works at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Experience incredible productions such as Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. If you wish, you could also ascend the theatre tower for wonderful views.
Rummage through the curios at Henley Street Antiques Centre. From collectable vinyl records to vintage jewelleries and more, this two-storey building is the perfect haven for all antique lovers!
Poke your head into Chaucer Head Bookshop, an antiquarian bookseller that stocks titles from country lore and humour to stagecraft and anthropology. Whether it’s an inexpensive holiday read or a special present you’re looking for, this place is definitely worth a visit.
Head to the Nutcracker Christmas Shop for fun festive trinkets that spell Christmas year-round. Be awed by the intricate displays, from German wooden nutcrackers to exquisite nativity figures. It’s never too early to start shopping for your Christmas decorations!
Have a taste of quintessentially English cuisine at the family-run 33 The Scullery, where fresh, seasonal food meets modern British cooking. Make sure to try their pan-fried guinea fowl or crispy cauliflower cheesecakes with warm beetroot and plums!
Head to Lambs for fine European fare at one of the oldest buildings in Stratford. This place dates from the early 16th century, as evident from its timber-framed facade. Now a stylish and cosy restaurant, sit in for starters such as asparagus with polenta and poached egg, or the chocolate chip bread and butter puddings for dessert.
For coffee, try Bardia’s. Their iced coffee and Persian lemon cake are highly recommended. While you’re here, pick up a fresh floral bouquet and a few gifts such as candles, potted plants and some beautiful home decor.
For a stylish boutique experience in Stratford-upon-Avon, consider a stay at Hotel du Vin Stratford-upon-Avon. Located on Rother Street right in the heart of the historic Shakespearean town, enjoy the convenience of having all the main attractions just a stone’s throw away. Each of the 46 stunning bedrooms feature the traditional Hotel du Vin touches but with an updated contemporary feel, giving you the perfect marry of comfort and style.
Know of other great finds in Stratford? Let us know in the comments!
This is also an ideal time to plan your year-end getaway with Frasers Hospitality’s Holiday Extravaganza! Book now to enjoy up to 30% off your stay between 1 November 2018 and 17 February 2019. Backed by our Best Rate Guarantee, this offer runs until 31 October 2018.