A few weeks ago, I took my husband with me on a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon with Shakespeare’s England. We ate lots of good food, explored historical landmarks, went shopping and saw a play at the theatre.
Shakespeare’s England is the official tourism guide for Warwickshire, so it was great to have their help with what to do and where to go in Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding areas. This is of course where William Shakespeare was born, lived, met his wife and wrote so many of his plays. It’s also home to the Royal Shakespeare Company and their theatres.
We were staying in a perfect location – right in the heart of Stratford and directly across the road from The Royal Shakespeare Theatre – at the luxurious, boutique, 4-star The Arden Hotel. This chic place has 45 bedrooms and is decorated beautifully.
We stayed here for 2 nights in one of their Feature Suites and it was so comfortable. I loved having a fridge in the room to store my Diet Coke in, and the very reliable complimentary WiFi. The espa toiletries were fabulous too.
On our first night, we headed out of Stratford, in the car, to the village of Alderminster for dinner at the stunning The Bell Alderminster coaching inn. This place is super-stylish, but very relaxed and laid-back. It has the most amazing decor and architecture, and I’d love to come back to stay here in one of their rooms for a romantic weekend. We were there, however, just to have dinner this time. We tried out their Prix Fix Menu and had two course for £14.50. The food was delicious and was presented beautifully.
The next day, after breakfast at our hotel (they offer both continental and cooked breakfasts, and everything is of such a high quality), we went out to explore Stratford-upon-Avon and everything Shakespeare. Despite just having had breakfast and knowing that we were having afternoon tea later, we got a cheeky slice of cake each from the amazing Huffkins bakery.
We also went on the City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour of Stratford (from £16.84 per person)- this is totally the best way to see all of the tourist spots, as it goes around everything of significance and gives you some amazing facts. Some of the Shakespeare tourist spots e.g. his wife’s house (Anne Hathaway’s Cottage) are in little villages surrounding Stratford, and this bus tour takes you there without you having to find them yourself. This was definitely the highlight of our trip.
Places that I’d recommend you hop off the bus at include Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (first image above). This is where Shakespeare’s wife lived until marriage to him, and visiting it gives you a real insight into life at the time. Mary Arden’s Farm, in the village of Wilmcote, is also fascinating. This 16th century home and farm is the childhood home of William Shakespeare’s mother. There’s also New Place, which was Shakespeare’s family home for 19 years and it’s also where he died in 1616.
In the centre of Stratford, there some really cute lanes off of Bridge Street, that are full of independent fashion boutiques and gift shops. After some shopping, we headed to the Hathaway Tea Rooms for their Afternoon Tea (£30 for two people).
This is one really good afternoon tea. It will completely fill you up. You choose three different sandwich fillings when you order, and they then bring a huge stack of them, as well as scones and a selection of cakes. Yum!
After our treats, we went to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to see their gift shop, pick up our tickets for that night’s performance of Julius Caesar, and to see their exhibition The Play’s The Thing. I’d really recommend checking this out as there are some amazing costumes from previous RSC productions on display. Julius Caesar that night was completely amazing, dramatic and enthralling. I’ve seen so many RSC productions now and i’ve loved them all. You just cannot come to Stratford without doing this.
This was about my 6th visit to Stratford-upon-Avon and it was still as charming as ever. I love the theatrical atmosphere here and it makes me want to soak up all the arts and culture that I can. If you would like to visit, make sure you check out the Shakespeare’s England site for tips and information on what’s going on while you’ll be there.
This was a complimentary press trip, but all opinions are my own.
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