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Stratford-upon-Avon and Surrounding Areas

Places to see and things to do.

The gorgeous market town of Stratford upon Avon is internationally renowned for being home to the world famous Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare houses; five beautifully preserved Tudor homes and gardens which are linked with William Shakespeare and his family.
A stroll around the historic town, or a boat trip down the River Avon are great ways of soaking up the atmosphere of this buzzing cultural town. With its great variety of restaurants, bars and tea-rooms, foodies will be spoilt for choice with the selection of fine dining options on offer, and with weekly farmers’ markets and variety shops from independent retailers, to well-known high street names, there is something to please everyone.

Shakespeare's birthplaceShakespeare’s Birthplace

Visit the house where this world famous playwright was born and grew up with his parents and siblings. Start your journey in the Famous Beyond Words exhibition and get up close to rare artefacts from the Trust’s world class collections and discover how William Shakespeare continues to shape our lives today. Wander around the stunning gardens before entering the house where you will hear tales of Shakespeare’s family life, see how his father, John, earned his living as a glove maker and enjoy scenes from some of Shakespeare’s famous plays performed live, on demand.

More information at: www.shakespeare.org.uk

The The Royal Shakespeare Theatre insideThe Royal Shakespeare TheatreThe Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Here, one of the world’s best known theatre companies, the Royal Shakespeare Company, performs the works of Shakespeare, his contemporaries and new writing, throughout the year.

Showcasing two stages, the 1,000 seat Royal Shakespeare Theatre and 450 seat Swan Theatre, bringing audiences and actors closer together in the best possible setting to experience live theatre.

If you don’t have time to see a performance, just enjoy the stunning views from the Tower, discover theatrical secrets on a Theatre Tour, spend time exploring the free exhibitions, or simply relax by the River Avon in the RSC riverside cafe or a divine cocktail in the Rooftop Restaurant.

More information: www.rsc.org.uk

Mechanical Art and DesignMAD Mechanical Art and DesignThe Mad Museum

“MAD” stands for Mechanical Art and Design. Based in the centre of Stratford upon Avon, this quirky attraction displays interactive pieces of mechanical art, in particular, kinetic art and automata.

 If you’re not quite sure what mechanical art is all about, think of the machines and gismos used in Wallace and Gromit, Scrapheap Challenge and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In a nut shell mechanical art is usually beautifully crafted, moving sculptures either made to have an exaggerated purpose or made simply for the fun of it.

More information at: www.themadmuseum.co.uk

Mary Arden’s FarmMary Arden’s Farm

There’s plenty to see and do for children and families at Mary Arden’s Farm.  Here, you can discover the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother.  Experience the sights, sounds and smells of a working Tudor farm.  Meet the Tudors who run the farm just as Shakespeare’s mother would have done, watch craft and falconry demonstrations and explore the farmyard, playground and historic buildings. A great day out for all the family.

More information: www.shakespeare.org.uk

Holy Trinity Chuirch, Stratford-upon-AvonHoly Trinity Church, Stratford upon Avon

Holy Trinity, Stratford, on the banks of the River Avon, is probably England’s most visited Parish Church and one of the most beautiful.  It is home to the grave of William Shakespeare and the graves of Anne Hathaway, Dr John Hall and his wife Susanna Shakespeare and Thomas Nash in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church.

More information at: www.stratford-upon-avon.org

Anne Hathaway’s CottageAnne Hathaway’s Cottage

This beautiful cottage is the childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife and can be found in Shottery, a small village just one mile from Stratford-upon-Avon.

The cottage was passed down through the Hathaway family, until the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust acquired it in 1892. As a result, many artefacts and original furnishings from Anne’s time are maintained and presented here, the most famous of all being the intricately hand carved, oak Hathaway bed.

Visitors can wander the pretty cottage gardens and traditional orchard, walk through the sculpture trail and woodland, or picnic in the grounds.  There is also the popular Garden Café where you can enjoy a traditional English Cream Tea.

More information: www.shakespeare.org.uk

Shakespeare’s New Place

Shakespeare’s New Place was Shakespeare’s family home for the last 19 years of his life, and has been recently transformed into a new heritage landmark where visitors can discover the story of the world famous playwright at the height of his success as a family man, writer and prominent citizen of Stratford-upon-Avon.  Although the house was demolished in 1759, the site has been re-imagined to cast new light into Shakespeare’s life at New Place.

Here, you can follow in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new entrance on the site of the original gatehouse and enjoy a contemporary landscape that reveals the footprint of the Shakespeare family home. Stunning sculptures, restored gardens and the fully accessible exhibition centre will evoke a sense of family life and hint at Shakespeare’s major works that were written during the 19 years he owned New Place. The re-imagined site gives an impression of the scale of New Place and relationship to the surrounding buildings, such as the neighbouring King Edward VI School and Guild Chapel that were once attended by a young Shakespeare.

More information: www.shakespeare.org.uk

Open Air Tour Bus

If you are looking for a slightly quicker way to see as much as Stratford upon Avon can offer, a trip on the sightseeing open air buses is a must!  The trips start on a big red, open top bus at at Bridgefoot, near the Pen & Parchment Inn, and will take you to all the major Shakespeare attraction and things to do in Stratford.

More information: www.city-sightseeing.com

Royal Shakespeare Theatre at night Boat Trips on the River AvonBoat Trips on the River Avon

The beautiful River Avon is the perfect setting for a boat trip, either via a sightseeing tour, a chartered extended cruise, or a hired rowing boat or punt which are available by the hour.

Alternatively, how about a romantic supper along the floodlit banks of the River Avon, aboard The Countess of Evesham, nicknamed Stratford’s ‘Orient Express’. The Countess enjoys a growing reputation for fine cuisine with a well-stocked wine list. Centrally heated the Countess is open throughout the year and offers all the amenities of a top quality restaurant.

Most cruises start from the most beautiful part of town in the canal basin, next to the main shopping areas and take in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the river wildlife, and the picturesque Warwickshire countryside. You’ll gain a new insight into Stratford upon Avon from a different perspective. There are also Ghost Cruises run in association with Stratford Town Walks and regular Sundowners Champagne & Canapés evening cruises.

More information at: