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Are you looking for the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon? I happen to live nearby this historical and beautiful English town in the West Midlands. I have visited Stratford-upon-Avon a few times so I would like to share with you some of my best places to visit and things to do in this town.
Stratford-upon-Avon is a stunning Medieval town in the centre of England that is steeped in history. It’s the ideal destination for a weekend trip because it’s only about a two-hour drive from London and around a 45-minute drive from Birmingham and has so many fantastic things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon spread out throughout the town.
It’s a town with centuries of history that you can still see and is well-known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Exploring this region of England is also made simple by the proximity of places like the stunning Cotswolds, which can easily be included in a longer trip.
Due to how well-preserved so many of the best locations are, I really enjoyed visiting Stratford-upon-Avon. When you visit, it’s almost as if time has been frozen in the 16th century!
Although we have travelled to many English towns, Stratford-Upon-Avon stood out as the most spectacular. Anyone can fall in love with this town because of its charming surroundings, friendly residents, and lively atmosphere. You’ll fall in love with it right away if you go there. Stratford-upon-Avon is incredibly beautiful, making it a popular travel destination all year long.
Check out the 18 Beautiful Cotswold Villages to Visit in the UK!
I wanted to share some gorgeous gems you should not miss while here so you can make the most of your visit to the town. You can concentrate on the crucial activity of exploring in this manner.
The top things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon are listed below. Have a wonderful time! If you are interested in other places in the UK, check my blog regarding the Best Places to Visit in the UK.
Best Things to Do in Stratford-upon-Avon (Warwickshire, UK)
1. Shakespeare’s Birthplace
A trip to Stratford-upon-Avon isn’t complete until you have paid a visit to the birthplace of William Shakespeare. This timber-framed house, which is owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and has been meticulously restored, is believed to be the location where William Shakespeare was born and spent his childhood.
The stunningly beautiful home, which has been beautifully restored and is located right in the middle of town, dates back hundreds of years. Shakespeare was born and raised in this area before moving on to the bright lights of London city later in his life. To put it in perspective, London in the 1600s had very few bright lights.
Once you’re inside, you’ll get a glimpse into Shakespeare’s family life while also having the opportunity to take a look around the library and study rooms, both of which are truly remarkable to see. When you stand there, it’s hard to believe that this is the house where Shakespeare spent his childhood and where he wrote his first words.
You should come here if you are interested in finding out more about the location that served as the introduction to Shakespeare’s life. In addition, you will have the opportunity to peruse the unique artifacts held by the Trust and to travel through time with the enthralling costumed guides who will bring Shakespeare’s tale to vivid life.
2. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
A trip to Anne Hathaway’s cottage, which is located on the outskirts of Stratford-upon-Avon and overlooks the surrounding countryside, is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable things that can be done in the area.
If you came to this address thinking it was the residence of a famous Hollywood actor, I regret to inform you that there has been an unfortunate mix-up.
For those who are unaware, Anne Hathaway was Shakespeare’s wife, and the cottage was her picture-perfect home in the area where she resided during his lifetime. Fans of Shakespeare, on the other hand, won’t be let down by a trip to this charming cottage that’s been around for 500 years and the touching love story that it holds.
You can easily spend a few hours wandering around all of the rooms and learning more about her life if the grounds and gardens are beautiful and there are things to discover there.
Be careful not to hit your head on the low ceilings common in medieval buildings; otherwise, you might injure yourself. I swear that people in the past must have been a good deal shorter than they are now!
You should go because it is really interesting like forget about Juliet!; this is the actual life version of “Shakespeare in Love.” Wills began his courtship of Anne Hathaway, who would go on to become Mrs Shakespeare, at this location, which was originally a farmhouse. The charming cottage retains many of its historic furnishings and details, and the lyrical gardens are the stuff that poems and sonnets are written about.
3. Cruise on Stratford’s canal
On a day with beautiful weather, one of the most enjoyable things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon is to take a stroll along the canal basin and the Avon River.
In the course of 25 picturesque miles, the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal travels from the suburbs of Birmingham to the town of Stratford, where Shakespeare was born.
The canal is not very long, but it passes through some beautiful countryside in the “Heart of England.” It cuts through the Forest of Arden, which is known for its ancient oak trees, and then it descends gently across quiet rolling countryside and watermeadows until it reaches the River Avon and Stratford, an area that is rich in Shakespearean connections.
In close proximity to the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre as well as the primary shopping districts, you will discover a plethora of cosy cafes, quaint restaurants, and stunning gardens perfect for a stroll.
During certain times of the year, you’ll also have the opportunity to take a tour boat out on the river or paddle a kayak along its waters.
While at it, you may check the 11 Best Day Trips from Birmingham
4. Royal Shakespeare theatre
Yes, I’m trying to sell you on all the Shakespearean love to see, which is something that you absolutely must do while you’re in Stratford-upon-Avon.
At the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, in addition to putting on world-famous performances and plays by Shakespeare, the theatre also presents more contemporary works. Because of this, it is the ideal place to spend the evening during a weekend excursion to the city.
Just make sure that you get your tickets in advance by booking them. During the busier summer months, they have a greater potential to sell out quickly.
In Stratford, the Royal Shakespeare Company performs in three different theaters. The temporarily closed performing arts center known as “The Other Place” can be found in this city. At the same time, the two share a buzzy riverside location: the flagship Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where you can catch many of Bard’s famous works, and the more intimate Swan Theatre, which regularly stages plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and later writers. Both of these theaters are located in the same neighborhood.
Why should you go? Even though every location can be considered a stage, Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon remains the ideal setting for viewing his works. Arrive in plenty of time to enjoy a meal on the third-floor rooftop restaurant with jaw-dropping views over the River Avon before the show.
5. Visit the Tudor World
Within a Grade 2* listed landmark building, the multi-award-winning Tudor World Museum can be found in the very center of the historic town of Stratford upon Avon. You can also get a taste of what life was like for the common people in the sixteenth century, including Tudor pubs, the plague, and even poop.
Tudor World is the only museum in the country that is solely devoted to the Tudor era. It is a small, independent museum that is housed within a Tudor building.
It does not contain any artifacts or furniture from that time period; rather, it recreates various aspects of Tudor life, weaving in tales of the building’s illustrious past (on a site that dates back to the town’s birth in the late 12th century) and the history of Stratford itself.
The only remaining cobbled street in Stratford leads to the historic building, which can be accessed via that street. Children are going to have a great time taking part in the activities that recreate the era, as well as participating in the free quiz and winning the candy prize. Shows geared toward families are offered during busier times, and at 2:00 p.m. every Saturday, visitors can go on a walk with William Shakespeare.
Step into Shakespeare’s England and relive the highs, lows, and everything in between of life in the Tudor era. You are invited to sit at an Elizabethan dining table, relax in a bed with four posts, and take the throne! There is something for everyone at this museum, which welcomes families and offers tours about Shakespeare as well as ghosts and visits to schools.
The close proximity of the recreational opportunities and the ability to walk directly into the exhibits are very stimulating for children. However, parents should prepare their more sensitive children for the fact that the museum is centered around the subject of the plague and features realistic figures throughout.
You may also check out the Things to Do in Warwickshire.
6. Shopping on the high streets and in charity shops
There are a lot of major high street stores in Stratford, but if you want to find some unique presents from independent boutiques, it is worth your time to explore the smaller courtyards and precincts just off the main shopping streets.
There is something for everyone to enjoy in Stratford upon Avon, with everything from well-known brands to one-of-a-kind boutiques and shops. The variety of stores in Stratford-upon-Avon will make it difficult for you to make a purchase decision. You will be able to find everything you need here, whether you are looking for something new to try out for yourself or a present for a loved one.
You can find quirky stores on Sheep Street, which is located just down from the Town Hall. Shakespeare Centre Craft Yard is another great place to find one-of-a-kind stores, such as the well-known Curtis Brae Teddy Bear Shop. Meer Street is known for its designer boutiques.
7. Have a lovely meal at the FORTEAS and Cat Cafe (Shakespaw cafe).
Shakespaw Cafe. This cat cafe could not have been named anything else given its location in the center of Stratford upon Avon. In addition to being the only cat cafe in Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare Cat Cafe holds the distinction of being the first cat cafe in the entire Midland region.
They put in a lot of effort to make sure that the atmosphere is welcoming and cozy not only for the people who work there but also for the cats. Because the Shakespaw Cat Cafe is so concerned about the welfare of its feline guests, they like to think of itself as more of a cat hotel.
They collaborate with Peppers Pet Rescue to find new homes for the cats that come into their care and socialize the cats that are already there. Since its founding in 2018, Peppers Pet Rescue has assisted in the adoption of more than 150 stray and abandoned animals into loving, permanent homes.
Since Shakespaw is a fosterer for Peppers Pet Rescue, you can expect to find a rotating cast of adoptable kittens and cats from the organization there. If you ask a member of the staff, they will be able to tell you which adorable cats are looking for a permanent place to call home.
FORTEAS. The Fourteas is a real vintage tea room with a 1940s theme. It is on the banks of the River Avon, just 50 meters from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which is Stratford’s most famous building.
The Fourteas is probably the most well-known tea room in Warwickshire today. I don’t mean it in a joking way!
The long lines outside their door on the weekends, the many awards they’ve won, the great reviews they get, and, most of all, the fact that so many of their customers come back again and again are all strong signs that they must be doing something right.
The menus are my favorite part. They are made to look like ration books, and they really do. Even the waitresses wear uniforms that look like they came from the 1940s, and traditional music plays in the background.
You should try their Afternoon Tea for sure. I don’t want to say anything else, but we really liked our afternoon tea at Fourteas, and I would highly recommend it for a special occasion, especially if it’s your birthday and the waitresses all sing to you!
8. Holy Trinity Church
If you’re a history buff like I am, you absolutely have to pay a visit to the Holy Trinity, as it is the oldest building in town and dates back to the 13th century!
In addition to this, this lovely Parish church is the precise location where Shakespeare was christened, married Anne Hathaway, and ultimately laid to rest. Be sure to look for the breathtaking Holy Trinity Window as well as the final resting place of William Shakespeare, his wife, and other close relatives who are buried at the bottom of the chancel steps.
If you’ve spent your vacation following Shakespeare’s life, you have no choice but to come here and pay your respects at the gravesite of the great writer. According to urban legend, grave robbers may have stolen his skull; however, in accordance with his wishes, his tomb has never been excavated in order to verify this rumor.
9. Stratford’s Butterfly Farm
Do you want to fly like a butterfly? Then go right to the Stratford Butterfly Farm, which is right next to the River Avon. With thousands of butterflies and a beautiful glass house, you can get up close and personal with these different species and types of free-flying butterflies.
The largest tropical butterfly attraction in the UK is a great thing to do on a rainy day. Wander through strange plants and waterfalls as hundreds of free-flying butterflies flit around you.
It’s a great place to hang out with family and friends. Just watch where you step because there are a lot of butterflies on the paths.
This is the place to go if you and your kids like to get close to tiny bugs and learn about their life cycle from caterpillar to chrysalis. There is a minibeast metropolis with centipedes, beetles, stick insects, and a tarantula that eats birds for people who like bugs that aren’t as pretty. Shiver.
10. MAD Museum
You can look at sprockets, robots, and other strange things at the Mad Museum. Others say “keep your hands off,” but they want to touch more than 50 strange devices. Turn knobs and push buttons to bring out your “inner inventor!”
This museum is the only one of its kind in the UK. Its goal is to promote STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Design. They have made a huge collection of things like robotic birds, sand pictures, 3D faces, and a huge MAD Marble wall.
You can design and build your run on the wall and watch the marbles go through it. Even the man who started the museum got in on the fun. He made a sculpture called “The Kitchenator,” which is a rolling ball made entirely of things you would find in a kitchen.
It’s fun to see kids put down the TV remote and play, learn, and explore. Anyone who wants to be an engineer will find a little piece of heaven here, and the whole family can enjoy the strange setting and funny artists who live there. Spend a day here and you won’t forget it, so don’t wait!
- The UK’s only museum of mechanical art
- More than 50 ways to make crackers
- Build your huge marble run.
So why should you go to the MAD? It’s not often that art and design go so well with science and technology, but that’s what happens when the left and right sides of the brain work together. The place is run by a local family, and both kids and adults will enjoy the treasure trove of spinning gadgets on display.
11. Stratford-upon-Avon Ferris Wheel
Would you like to view Stratford from the air? The Stratford Rowing Club is close to the location of the Ferris wheel. You get a lovely view of the River Avon, the canal, and the RSC.
This is among the most thrilling activities in Stratford-upon-Avon, in my opinion. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Stratford upon Avon by riding the Big Wheel. On the banks of the River Avon, there is a 40-meter Ferris wheel with viewing pods that seat six people. It provides breathtaking vistas of Stratford upon Avon and surrounding areas.
Observe the RSC theaters, the River Avon, Holy Trinity Church, and the Welcombe Hills, which are topped by the recognizable Obelisk, while perched high atop the wheel. Viewing the Shakespearean town and surroundings is an amazing experience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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