Stratford upon Avon was made for weekend wanderings and is the perfect place for Shakespeare-lovers like myself to nerd out. A shrine to all things Bard, this riverside gem is perfect for book-lovers and sight-seers alike. Read on for everything you can check out whilst exploring this midlands haven.
As a lifelong Shakespeare-lover, Stratford-upon-Avon is my dream day out, with everything carrying some mention of his name and works. One of my favourite places to explore is the building he was born in. A whole museum on the buildings that he was born and grew up in. Taking you all the way from Shakespeare’s birth to his death, there really is no better place to connect to the man himself than somewhere that carries so many features of his, and his family’s life. This is also home to the Shakespeare’s Birthplace shop, packed full of every single Shakespeare-related book and gift you could imagine with some brilliantly beautiful versions to see.
Fill to the brim with charming tea rooms and eateries alike, Stratford-upon-Avon is the perfect place to go for afternoon tea, or eat chips by the lovely Avon river. Head to the chippie opposite the river for the perfect take-out fish and chips and use the grass as your own private picnic space on a nice day. Everyone gathers here in the summer with picnic blankets and deckchairs galore and it is a lovely spot to relax overlooking the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Head to Hathaway’s tearoom in the main centre for cakes and teas galore. The soup & a sandwich combo is the perfect answer to a chilly day and the people there are lovely!
Shakespeare’s New Place
Having made it big time, Shakespeare bought a brand new swanky place just down the road from his childhood home. Whilst not much of the building now remains, in its place now live beautiful gardens, the setting for many an outdoor play and more. Here you can trace all of Shakespeare’s plays through metal sculptures and lines running along the ground, see if you can spot your favourite! You can still see where the walls and structure of the building would have stood through the outlines along the ground, with some lovely representations of some of his most famous characters living among the grounds.
Go for a Paddle
Whilst it is lovely enough to walk along the river, step up to its banks and you can hire your own paddle boat and more to take out for a paddle. Named after iconic Shakespearean women, the wooden boats are a lovely sight to see along the water. If you visit in the summer, you might even catch sight of the sonnet barge. Actors will quote famous lines as you cross to the other side and back again for pennies.
Top Tip: Buy a pass for one of the Shakespeare’s Birthplace attractions and visit all of the attractions within the next year for free.
Take Part in the Celebrations
Head to Stratford in April and you can witness all of the events that take place for Shakespeare’s birthday every year. A two-day event over the 27th & 28th April, sees everything from special lectures to a parade marching the streets. With a ton of events going on in properties across Stratford, you’ll find a ton of things to do as part of the celebrations.
Wander the Town
From the home of the lady the Bard would leave his ‘second best bed’ to, to his final resting place, Stratford upon Avon is a living breathing shrine to the playwright and his work. Step outside of this however and it is a beautiful town, even without the notable references. Take a walk along the river, go for an afternoon tea in one of the many charming cafés, explore the wondrous variety of historical buildings on offer or simply stroll the charming streets. Stratford upon Avon offers something for every type of visitor and every season offers up something new.
Looking for more midlands outings to explore? Check out my favourite trips here. Looking for more of what England has to offer? Take a look at my English adventures here.