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UK: 10 great things to do in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is steeped in culture and history. Set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside, on the banks of the river Avon, it is one of the most important tourist destinations in the UK. With easy road, rail and airport access, it is the perfect place for a vacation or short break.
We have listed below 10 of our favourite things to do in and around Stratford Upon Avon.


The birthplace of William Shakespeare is a modest tudor house in the centre of Stratford-Upon-Avon. William Shakespeare was born in this house and grew up here with his parents and siblings. He also spent the first five years of his marriage living here with his wife Anne Hathaway.


Shakespeare’s New Place was his family home from 1597 until he died in the house in 1616. The house was demolished in 1759, and a registered garden has been designed on the site where New Place once stood to commemorate the importance of the site and allow visitors to make their own personal connection with Shakespeare.


Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was originally a farmhouse. It was built in 1463 of cruck construction, when the building would have comprised of just three rooms. Anne, later Shakespeare’s wife, was born in the cottage in 1556.


Mary Arden’s Farm is located in Wilmcote, which is situated to the north-west of the River Avon and was traditionally known as ‘The Forest of Arden’. By William Shakespeare’s time it had long ceased to be a forest but comprised both enclosed and open farmland, with patches of woodland and common wasteland. Mary Arden’s House was lived in with little modification until 1968. It was purchased by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in the same year.


The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opened on our site next to the River Avon in 1879, after local brewer, Charles Flower donated the land and launched a campaign to build a theatre in the town of Shakespeare’s birth.

After the original theatre was destroyed by fire, the New Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opened its doors on an adjacent site in 1932, designed by Elisabeth Scott.

The Royal Shakespeare Company was founded in 1961 by Peter Hall, based in Stratford-upon-Avon and the theatre was renamed the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.


You can now enjoy leisurely 45 min boat tours from the very centre of Stratford upon Avon with regular departures every day. Canal & River Tours Ltd is the only company licensed to operate tours from Stratford Canal Basin that travel through the historic canal lock, down onto the River Avon for sightseeing tours and back again. The canal basin is centrally located between the world famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre and main shopping areas of the town. It is surrounded by beautiful riverside gardens which are public open spaces to relax and enjoy.


There are some great walks in and around Stratford. Some of these follow the canal or the River Avon.

Check out this 2.4-km out-and-back trail near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 42 min to complete. This is a popular trail for birding, hiking, and walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day.


The home of the Lucy family for over 700 years, the mellow brickwork and great chimneys of Charlecote seem to sum up the very essence of Tudor England. There are strong associations with both Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare, who knew the house well. The early Victorian interior contains many objects from Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey and, outside, the balustraded formal garden opens onto a deer park landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown.


Of the many castles still around in the UK, Warwick Castle is the closest to my heart. I spent four of my most formative years at the University of Warwick – which is actually closer to the city of Coventry, but still I spent a lot of time in the town of Warwick and the castle was a constant backdrop to many of my happier memories of my youth.


Once one of the country’s most formidable medieval fortresses, the castle was later transformed into a spectacular Elizabethan palace by Robert Dudley in an effort to impress his queen.

Today you can explore the mighty medieval keep, climb up Tudor towers, wander through a unique Elizabethan garden and get hands on with history in the family-friendly exhibition

Planning your visit to Stratford

getting there By Train

Trains from London Marylebone with Chiltern Railways ( take two hours, less if you change at Leamington Spa. It’s 40 minutes from Birmingham Moor Street/Snow Hill with London Midland (

getting there By Bus

National Express Coaches ( connect with cities such as London, Coventry and Bristol, but while cheaper, journeys are longer.

getting there By car

Transport links are not great so driving, sadly, could be the easiest way to arrive. But there are coach links and a railway station and you could always walk or cycle the 146-mile Shakespeare’s Way ( from Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

Best time to visit Stratford-Upon-Avon

April 23: Shakespeare’s birth and death day, week of the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival and early in the RSC’s Summer Season, when the town is stuffed with actors, the river looks gorgeous and everyone is fresh after winter.

Where to stay


Although it is referred to by the Youth Hostel Association as the ‘Stratford-Upon-Avon’ hostel, it is actually in the village of Alveston, which is about 5 miles outside of Stratford. So, getting in and out of town will mean you will need a car, or alternatively take public transport or a taxi!

This is low-cost accommodation and also works for backpackers! We actually had a private ensuite room – which was tiny but comfortable – with a set of bunk beds. The property is beautiful with lovely grounds. There is an onsite restaurant or you can self-cater.


Shakespeare’s View is a 5-star bed and breakfast in Stratford-upon-Avon, surrounded by pretty grounds and a fruit orchard. Each bright room has free WiFi and views of the surrounding countryside.

Guests can sample a locally sourced breakfast whilst admiring commanding views over the Avon Valley. Shakespeare’s View boasts a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking its one acre of garden and orchards.

The pretty village of Snitterfield is a 5-minute walk away and includes a pub, local shop and golf course.

Free parking is available, with Stratford’s centre and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre just a 10-minute drive away.


Set in Stratford-upon-Avon in the Warwickshire region, with Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company nearby, Midsummer House offers accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking.

The bed and breakfast offers a à la carte or Full English/Irish breakfast.

Where to eat


Being a tourist hub there are plenty of places to eat in and around Stratford. Of course, these cater for the masses, but if you are like us, vegan, the options are more limited. We did discover a small cafe in the centre of Stratford, the Plantarium, that is completely vegan. So, no need to think! It is a quaint place and the food was amazing – we recommend it highly.

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