Sunday, 18 October 2015

Six Experiences to Enjoy In Stratford-Upon-Avon

Avon River Cruise, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the medieval market town of Stratford-Upon-Avon resides in the historical county of Warwickshire in the heart of England.

Just two hours north west of central London via road or rail, Stratford-Upon-Avon is easily accessible for both national and international visitors.

Here's six places you should definitely consider exploring on a future trip with friends of family...

Harvard House, Stratford-Upon-Avon High Street

1. The Fourteas

After a morning of travel, fuel your day with a hearty lunch at The Fourteas on Sheep Street.
This quirky café is a real gem, crammed full of vintage memorabilia from the 1940's war-era. 

Sheep Street, The Fourteas Tea room

With a traditional café layout downstairs, I was surprised to discover this cosy spot upstairs where you could also enjoy lunch.

The Fourteas, Stratford-Upon-Avon tea room

It seems no expense has been spared to make this a truly authentic experience, even the menu's are ration books!

Cream Tea in Stratford-Upon-Avon
The Fourteas Stratford-Upon-Avon

My party and I enjoyed the scrambled eggs, cream tea and this rather impressive tower of sandwiches.

Lunch in Stratford-Upon-Avon

If you're feeling indulgent they also serve a traditional British afternoon tea that some diners appeared to be enjoying for birthday's and anniversaries.

Tea room in Stratford-Upon-Avon
The Fourteas in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Even if it's not warm enough to dine in the garden, take a look at the anderson shelter - it's a great photo opportunity!

The Fourteas sets the tone perfectly for rest of the day's adventures.

Stratford-Upon-Avon War-time Tea Room

2. Tudor World

The architecture in the town is spectacularly quirky with beautifully preserved medieval timber buildings. It's easy to imagine how this place would have looked hundreds of years ago in the Tudor era...

Tudor Buildings, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Stratford-Upon-Avon Old TImber Building

Like the War, the Tudor period is another fascinating time in Britain's history - largely down to the turbulent reign of King Henry VIII.

To explore this era further, visit Tudor World (across the road from the Fourteas).

Tudor World, Stratford-Upon-Avon

On entry I was given a card with a real life Tudor story to connect with. It's a fun little touch that'll no doubt arouse curiosity and have you comparing stories.

Tudor World Experience, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Similar to the Fourteas, you'll be immersed into this time period the moment you step onto the old cobbled street. Little is out of bounds - you can sit at the banquet table, ascend the throne or attempt to write with a quill. 

Halloween in Stratford-Upon-Avon

The large 12th century house also claims to be one of the most haunted in England so thrill seekers will no doubt enjoy the ghost tours in the week leading up to Halloween (more info click here). 

Tudor World, Stratford-Upon-Avon

3. William Shakespeare's Birthplace

William Shakespeare needs no introduction for his famous playwrights, and many flock to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see where his life began.

William Shakespeare's House, Stratford-Upon-Avon

The 'Shakespeare Aloud!' cast brings the whole experience to life by reciting Shakespeare's plays and inviting your participation too!

For October half term, the house will also be 'haunted' by some of Shakespeare's famous spooky characters.

4. The Holy Trinity Church 

Shrouded by the tall trees on the banks of the river Avon, the church is the resting place of Shakespeare and his family. For a donation, you can see the gravestones and Shakespeare's memorial

Stratford-Upon-Avon Church, Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity church, Shakespeare's memorial

The beautiful church is worth touring itself for the beautiful stained glass windows and nave.

Stained glass church window, Stratford-Upon-Avon

5. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre 

For those staying into the evening or overnight, why not complete your Shakespeare experience with a show at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre?

Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

There's a variety of shows to delight both thespians and novices like me - 'Henry V', 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'Hamlet' have all been performed here.

If you've no time, have a wander inside and visit the café for a tea or coffee, it's in a beautiful spot overlooking the river.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, Royal Shakespeare Company, Café

6. The River Avon

The pace of life around here is so relaxing!
On a fine day you'll likely spot many people (and swans) at leisure watching the steady stream of passing boats or writing in journals.

River Avon, Stratford-Upon-Avon

I like to think many writers come here for some quiet time after being inspired by the sites of the town.

From the canal you can catch a river cruise or dine in The Countess of Evesham, a restaurant boat that offers cream tea cruises and buffet lunches.

Barnabys, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Want a quick take out or snack to accompany your river walk? Nearby on the corner of Sheep Street is Barnaby's that offers a very British chip shop affair.
There's also a lovely gelato kitchen on the High Street called Horray's near the historical Harvard House.

Horrays, jaffa cake icecream, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Let me know in the comment section or on social media what aspects you love about Stratford-Upon-Avon, or if you'd like anymore tips from my trip!

Feeling inspired to explore this beautiful town? Here's a few handy things to remember...

By car: I parked in the NCP car park on Rother Street near the centre. Click here for information.
By train: Conveniently, the station is in walking distance of the centre via Alcester Road.

You'll also find many coach companies offer excursions here, such as Leisuretime. Click here to view my historical city break to Oxford and Windsor with the company.
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