Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon

As the birthplace of none other than William Shakespeare, it's not surprising that Stratford-upon-Avon is in awe of its most famous son, with what often seems like every nook and cranny of town given over to England's greatest poet and playwright. And to be fair, if you have any interest at all in the man (or just the era), it's worth visiting for that reason alone: it's home to his birthplace, his grave, the home of his wife when she was a child, and much more; and there are not many better places to see a performance of one of Shakespeare's plays than the peerless RSC Theatre. Once you've done all that there are a predictable number of theatrically inclined tea rooms and restaurants in town, not to mention a shedload of merchandise bearing Shakespeare's name. But if all this begins to get you down, don't despair: there is more to Stratford than Shakespeare. It's a beautiful riverside town showcasing some of the prettiest Tudor architecture in the country, great for a wander at any time of year. You can take a boat out on the river, picnic in the Bancroft Gardens, cycle along the old converted railway line, shop to your heart's content, or just pull up a chair in one of the town's many excellent pubs or restaurants and just watch the Shakespeare-obsessed world go by.

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Eat and Drink

Since tourism is a major source of Stratford-Upon-Avon's prosperity, they are not new to serving up good food to hungry visitors and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to provide somewhere to relax. Sticking to the thoroughly english feel of this old market town, most places serve traditional british cuisine and, of course, afternoon tea. However, such eateries are also complimented by a Thai restaurant, Italian cafe and french Bistro so don't worry if you're in the mood for branching out a little. As you would expect, many of these eateries are focused around the river with good views to accompany the great food. For a small town it really has got a fantastic selection of places to eat so you'll never go hungry!

Shop

Once you've looked past the inevitable memorabilia and Shakespeare related merchandise, there are some fantastic little shops on the streets of Stratford-Upon-Avon. At its heart it remains a traditional market town with a Sunday farmers market every other weekend selling the finest of local produce. During the week you need only stroll down Bridge Street to find big name clothing, health and beauty, and home stores, alongside a fabulous selection of small independent shops, unique to Stratford-upon-Avon. Since the town centre is flat and compact, shopping does not involve dragging yourself for miles and if you find something that stretches the wallet then all the main banks are within easy reach.

Things to Do

Stratford-Upon-Avon, as you might expect in the holiday season, is alive with tourists from around the world paying pilgrimage to William Shakespeare. Perfect places for literature lovers to visit are the author's former home, along with the homes of his many family members, and also the museum in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust building. Such visits are topped off, of course, by seeing a production in the world famous RSC theatre, Stratford's most famous and prominent landmark. If you're looking for a little more than the life and times of William Shakespeare, however, there are other attractions to keep you occupied. A few miles outside the town is family-friendly Warwick Castle along with parks and open spaces ideal for a days walking or cycling. At the very heart of the town is its river and to make the most of it you can either rent boats or take a tour with on-board guides.