The delightful market town of Stratford-upon-Avon sits on the banks of the Avon River in rural Warwickshire. It is best known as the 16th-century birthplace of the Bard.
From breathtaking farms to modern museums, and historic theatres, there’s something for everyone in “Shakespeare Country!”
We’ve put together a list of the most exciting things you should do in Stratford-upon-Avon and the best eateries to refuel yourself at.
This Article Covers:
- 20 Epic Things To Do In Stratford upon Avon
- 5 Amazing Places to Eat at Stratford upon Avon
- How to Reach Stratford-upon-Avon (from Birmingham and London)
20 Epic Things To Do In Stratford upon Avon
If you’re planning a day trip or a few days’ stay, here’s what you can see and do in this quaint town in England’s West Midlands:
1. Drop By Anne Hathaways Cottage
This picturesque 500-year old cottage is where Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, spent her childhood. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust now manages the property.
Interestingly, it’s also the place where William Shakespeare won the hand of Anne Hathaway and sourced inspiration for many of his great sonnets and plays.
Explore the lovely nine acres of gardens on this property, situated four miles from Mary Ardens Farm (of Shakespeares mother, Mary Arden) and Arden House.
Some notable experiences include the Music Trail (a musical journey through the woods), the Sculpture Trail, and the Butterfly Trail (wonderful experience of sighting a myriad of butterflies).
Location: Cottage Lane, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 9HH
Contact Details: +44 (0)1789 204016, firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Owned by The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre offers its audience a unique one-room theatre experience, featuring many famous works of the Bard.
However, this place is not just for the Shakespeare fan or literary nerds!
Enjoy serene riverside views of the River Avon while dining from the rooftop restaurant atop the building.
Location: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6BB
Contact Details: 01789 331111, https://www.rsc.org.uk/contact-us-and-faqs
3. Explore the MAD Museum
The MAD (Mechanical Art and Design) Museum opens its doors to a world of mad ideas and inventions!
It houses a quirky assortment of interactive sculptures, highly advanced robots, innovative gadgets, and more. The designs and inventions are sourced from creators all around the world.
The museum promises a one-of-a-kind experience and is equally fascinating for tech-savvy adults and curious-minded children.
Location: The MAD Museum, 4/5 Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6PT
Contact Details: 01789 269 356, email@example.com
4. Spend Time At the Scenic Butterfly Farm
The Butterfly Farm is a 15-minute drive if you’re staying near Warwick Castle. Take a memorable walk through the exotic shrubberies and babbling brooks while hundreds of butterflies flutter around you.
It is the UK’s largest tropical butterfly attraction. The farm also has some exotic birds and a variety of spider species, including the world’s largest arachnid, the Goliath birdeater.
Location: Swan’s Nest Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 7LS
Contact Details: +44 (0)1789 299 288, firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Pack a Picnic Basket To the Canal Basin
The Canal Basin is located centrally between the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the town’s main shopping areas.
Pack a picnic basket and spend an idyllic afternoon here. You can also roam around the riverside gardens, and even take a short boat cruise along the Avon River. The water stretches across 25 miles from the suburbs of Birmingham and cuts through the beautiful Forest of Arden.
Location: Canal Basin, Waterside, Stratford upon Avon, CV37
6. Stop By Shakespeare’s Birthplace
Shakespeares Birthplace is a charming two-storey building where the Bard spent his childhood days with his parents, Mary and John Shakespeare. The interiors have been preserved to reflect the humble lifestyle of a lower middle-class family in the second half of the 16th century.
The rooms have antique furniture, and one of them displays the First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s earliest works. Look for the window on which many celebrated artists have etched their names, including Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and John Keats.
Location: The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6QW
Contact Details: +44 (0)1789 204016, email@example.com
7. Walk Into the Swan Theatre
Opened in 1986, the Swan Theatre is a must-visit place for actors and filmmakers. It shares its front space with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
The theatre stages the acclaimed plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries and the works of Restoration and modern playwrights.
Location: Swan Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7LS, United Kingdom
Contact Details: 01789 403493
8. Visit Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall
Situated less than a kilometre away from Halls Croft (where Shakespeare’s daughter and husband, Dr John Hall lived), the Schoolroom and Guildhall give you a fascinating sneak peek into Shakespeare’s formative years as a pupil. Here the eminent English playwright watched the performances of the finest actors of his day.
From hearing interesting chronicles about Shakespeare’s family to admiring centuries-old wall paintings to mastering the art of quill writing, a trip to this place will indeed take you back to the Elizabethan Era!
Location: Shakespeares Schoolroom & Guildhall, Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6HB
Contact Details: +44 (0) 1789 203170, firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Go For the Stratford Town Walk
The Stratford Town Walk is an unmissable activity if you happen to be in Stratford-upon-Avon. Through this multi-award-winning guided walk, you’ll discover intriguing facets of Shakespeares life.
Your four-legged friends are also welcome on this tour, making it all the more pawsome!
Location: Swan Fountain on Waterside, in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theater and opposite the junction of Sheep Street.
Contact Details: 07855 760377, email@example.com
10. Experience the Tudor World
This is a stunning museum that captures the rich history of the Tudor period.
It offers a variety of novel experiences, including an interactive walk (allowing you to sit on thrones or enjoy a family feast), the narration of haunted stories by guides in dim lighting, and more.
Location: Tudor World, 40 Sheep Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6EE
Contact Details: 01789 298070, firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Spend Time At the Holy Trinity Church
This pretty Parish Church is bound to be on the checklist of any “bardolater.” Here, William Shakespeare was baptised in 1564 and buried in 1616.
Besides being Shakespeare’s final resting place, the 800 year-old church is also known for its stained glass windows and intricate wooden structures dating from the 14th century. The high altar is one of the very few ancient stone altars still in use in England today.
Location: Holy Trinity Church, Old Town, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6BG
Contact Details: 01789 266316, email@example.com
12. Seek Haven in Hobbit Huts
Glamping in hobbit huts is one of the best family experiences you can have at Stratford-upon-Avon.
Wake up to beautiful countryside mornings, unwind on the golf course, and relish a refreshing drink or a delicious meal alfresco. You can even book the popular river taxi service to take a tour of the Riverside Park or go fishing on the Avon River.
Location: Riverside Park, Tiddington Road, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 7AB
Contact Details: 01789 292312, firstname.lastname@example.org
13. Have Fun At the Magic Alley
Potterheads are in for a delightful surprise at the Magic Alley! The emporium offers a mystic selection of magic spellbooks, crystals, incandescent candles, puzzles, board games, and other curious gifts.
The place also holds famous figurines and vintage toys inspired by franchises like Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, Game of Thrones, etc.
Location: Magic Alley, Unit 23A Bell Court, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6EX
Contact Details: 01789 290969, email@example.com
14. Take a Break At the Shakespeare Distillery
If you’re exhausted from exploring the busy streets of the market town, catch a break at this artisan gin and rum distillery.
The Tudor life and Shakespearean characters inspire the names of the tipples at this distillery. You can indulge in a range of tasting experiences or even take up cocktail masterclasses from in-house experts.
Location: Shakespeare Distillery, Unit A, Drayton Manor Drive, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 9RQ
Contact Details: 01789 336559, firstname.lastname@example.org
15. Go Sightseeing at Charlecote Park
Charlecote Park is a royal 16th-century country house owned by the Georgian author Mary Elizabeth Lucy. The property encompasses a deer park, where you can spot other wildlife too.
Relish some delicious pastries at three different eateries within the premises or shop for local products that heavily draw on Victorian times.
Location: Wellesbourne, Warwick, CV35 9ER, United Kingdom
Contact Details: +44 1789 470277
16. Check Out the Garrick Inn
The Garrick Inn is one of the oldest pubs in town, lying next to the Harvard House (the home of John Harvard, the founder of Harvard University.)
It offers weary visitors the perfect ambience to stop for a refreshing cocktail or chilled beer.
This timber-framed building dates back to the 14th century. It is rumoured to be haunted by some of its ancient visitors. If you’re craving a glass of fizz on a glorious summer afternoon, this is the place to be!
Location: The Garrick Inn, 25 High Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6AU
Contact Details: 01789 292186
17. Savour the Wines of Welcombe Hills Vineyard
Spend a perfect day at the award-winning vineyard of Stratford-upon-Avon and sip on a glass of excellent English wine sourced from the vines of Welcombe Hills.
Within stumbling distance of the vineyard, you’ll find exotic holiday cottages, charming B&B’s, and excellent camping sites. The estate packs wonderful treats and experiences for all oenophiles and nature-lovers.
Location: Vine Cottage, Kings Lane, Snitterfield, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 0QB
Contact Details: 07765 862755 , email@example.com
18. Enjoy the Greens At Bancroft Gardens
The Bancroft Gardens evokes the perfect holiday feel with its open-air performers and lush greenery.
Located in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the place has a beautiful seating area decked with gorgeous flowerbeds. It also features a human sundial and the Gower memorial (comprising statues of William Shakespeare and four characters from his plays).
Location: Bancroft Gardens, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6AT
19. Spend Quiet Moments At the Guild Chapel
Your Stratford-upon-Avon visit would be incomplete without visiting the Guild Chapel, one of the most historic buildings in Warwickshire. It overlooks Shakespeares new place of residence.
Built during the 13th century, this place of worship is embellished with rare European mediaeval wall paintings.
Location: Chapel Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6EP
Contact Details: 01789 207111, firstname.lastname@example.org
20. Enjoy a Day Out At Hatton Adventure World
The Hatton Adventure World stretches across 100 acres of land in the countryside and is home to nearly 60 different species of birds and animals.
The place offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, especially during holidays and weekends. Let your children run wild in this natural playground – from experiencing fun swings to up-close interactions with farm animals.
Location: Hatton Adventure World, Dark Lane, Hatton, Warwickshire, CV35 8XA
Contact Details: 01926 843411, email@example.com
Now, are you starving after a day of sightseeing?
5 Amazing Places to Eat at Stratford upon Avon
Here are the top 5 restaurants and bistros to explore in Stratford-upon-Avon:
1. Honey Blue
Honey Blue is a delightful local coffee shop known for its frappuccinos and milkshakes that you can enjoy on the side of delectable sandwiches and pastries. Their most in-demand food item is hot chocolate with toasted marshmallows.
The coffee shop offers outdoor seating, dine-in, and takeaway options.
Location: 2 Shrieves Walk, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6GJ
Contact Details: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Old Thatch Tavern
The Old Thatch Tavern is one of the oldest pubs located close to many of the town’s attractions. So hop into this pub amidst your tour if you’re craving some delicious food made from the local produce.
It is the only remaining thatched building in Stratford-upon-Avon and offers a beautiful seating arrangement in its courtyard garden. It’s a 3-minute drive from the Arden Hotel.
Location: Old Thatch Tavern, Greenhill Street, Warwickshire, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6LE
Contact Details: 01789295216
3. Shakespaw Cat Cafe
Visit this cafe to enjoy scrumptious breakfasts, lunches, and afternoon teas, in the company of adorable rescue cats. The place even offers customised meal vouchers that you can avail throughout the year.
Sounds pawsitively purrfect? You betcha!
Location: 6 Union Street, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, UK, CV37 6QT
Contact Details: email@example.com
4. The One Elm
The One Elm possesses the rustic charm typical of any English pub. As a Sunday special, the place serves classic roast beef. It has indoor and outdoor seating to feast on appetising aperitifs, gluten-free desserts, detox juices, great gins, and splendid cocktails.
Location: The One Elm, 1 Guild Street, Stratford-upon–Avon, CV37 6QZ
Contact Details: 01789 404919
5. Pen & Parchment
Pen & Parchment offers seasonal food and drink menus.
Relax with a glass of fine wine or ale. Enjoy sizzling steaks, creamy soups, and other light bites, made from fresh local ingredients. Don’t miss their traditional English breakfast platter to complete your experience of Shakespeares England!
Location: Pen & Parchment, Bridgefoot, Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 6YY
Contact Details: 01789 297697
How to Reach Stratford-upon-Avon (from Birmingham and London)
1. How to get to Stratford-upon-Avon from Birmingham:
- Bus: Catch any regular bus from Birmingham’s Church Centre bus stop to the Riverside bus station in Stratford-upon-Avon.
- Train: Head to the Birmingham Moor Street station and catch a direct train to the Stratford-upon-Avon station.
- Car: The drive from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon takes 40 minutes to an hour.
Cheapest way to get from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon
The cheapest way to get from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon is by bus. The journey takes roughly an hour and 18 minutes and costs 4.5 – 6 GBP.
Quickest way to get from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon
The fastest way to reach Stratford-upon-Avon from Birmingham is via taxi. The journey takes around 42 minutes and costs 65 – 81 GBP.
Which companies run services between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon?
The bus services from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon are operated by Johnson’s Excelbus. The train services are operated by London Midland, and taxi services by BlaBlaCar, TOA Taxis, A2B Radio Cars, and others.
2. How to get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London:
- Bus: Catch any National Express bus from Victoria Coach station in London to the Riverside bus station in Stratford-upon-Avon.
- Train: Head to the Marylebone station in London, catch a direct train by the Chiltern Railways, and get down at the Stratford-upon-Avon station. The trip would take around 2-2.5 hours.
- Car: The drive from London to Stratford-upon-Avon can take as little as an hour and 45 minutes or as long as three hours, depending on what time you leave the city (avoid rush hour times at all cost) and which route you take. Remember to factor in parking charges as well.
Cheapest Way to Go From London to Stratford-upon-Avon
The cheapest way to travel from London to Stratford-upon-Avon is by bus. Ticket costs start around 6.92 GBP, but you can use the National Express’s Fare Finder feature to get the best deals.
Quickest Way to Go From London to Stratford-upon-Avon
The fastest way to reach Stratford-upon-Avon from London is by car (taxi or personal vehicle). Take the quickest, most direct way via the M40.
Most Scenic Route From London to Stratford-upon-Avon
To enjoy the most scenic route, take a slight detour through the rural Cotswolds to soak in England’s old-world grandeur.
The route is studded with coffee and cake shops, heritage cottages, hillside walks, and cobblestone streets. You’ll also pass by picturesque villages like Bourton-on-the-Water, Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Castle Combe, and Stanton.
Best Time to Travel to Stratford-upon-Avon
It’s best to travel to Stratford-upon-Avon during the spring season in April when the Literary Festival (centred around Shakespeare’s birth and death day) is held every year. This is when you’ll see the town at its most energetic best!
But if you prefer to avoid the crowded streets and higher ticket prices, plan your trip towards the end of summer and fall (i.e. the off-season.)