fbpx

Our guide to Stratford-upon-Avon

Once a quaint and unassuming market settlement, Stratford-upon-Avon is a picturesque town in its own right but was catapulted in to the limelight in the 16th century with the renown of one of its residents, William Shakespeare, and remains today one of England’s most popular visitor destinations.

Stratford-upon-Avon is a charming market town straddling the banks of the river Avon. It was first developed as a trading centre for the farmers and fabric producers who worked the fertile pastoral lands surrounding the town and became a popular rest point for the stage coaches rattling through on journeys from London to the North of England. Today the town blends modern buildings with the beautiful facades of authentic Elizabethan timberwork structures as well as Victorian mock Tudor dwellings. The historic architecture combined with the array of colourful canal boats bobbing on the lazy waters of the Avon and the surrounding greens and parks makes Stratford a particularly picturesque town.

However, it is not Stratford-upon-Avon’s beauty that pulls in more than 3 million visitors a year, but it’s association with arguably the most famous Englishman ever to have lived and the ultimate master of the English language; William Shakespeare. The great bard was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 to humble middle class roots and although he left for London as a young man, where he developed his writing skills at the globe theatre, he returned, wealthy and well-known, to his beloved Stratford after his retirement in the early 1600s and remained there until his death some years later.

Today, situated at the centre of Shakespeare country, as the sign posts in the area will tell you, Stratford-upon-Avon is home to a wealth of Shakespeare related heritage sites ideal for anyone with a passing interest or an avid appetite for English language, literature and Shakespeare’s works. In the centre of the town you will find Shakespeare’s Birthplace Museum; consisting of a restored timberwork building and modern visitor centre, this is a comprehensive exhibition in to the life of Shakespeare and some of his best-known works. A short walk away you can visit the Holy Trinity Church, a charming 13th century sandstone structure, with pretty 14th century stained glass windows – it is here where you will find Shakespeare’s final resting place.

The town however is home to an abundance of other Shakespeare related heritage sites including Nash’s House and Halls Croft both of which were both once homes of Shakespeare’s relations and which today house period carvings and original Elizabethan furnishings. On the outskirts of town you will find Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s House, properties which belonged to Shakespeare’s wife and mother respectively and which have been magnificently preserved to offer further insight to the life and times of their famous relation.

If you are lucky enough to get tickets, you can experience one of Shakespeare’s works produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company at one of Stratford’s two theatres; the Royal Shakespeare Theatre or the Swan Theatre which has a traditional Elizabethan “in the round” stage.

If the town itself is not enough, Stratford-upon-Avon provides a pleasant touring base situated on the northern edge of the Cotswolds and close to other historic towns such as the charming medieval Warwick home to one of England’s largest and most visited medieval fortresses at Warwick Castle. Stratford-upon-Avon will be a highlight of any tour of the historic towns of England and is an absolute “must” for any literary buffs.

Related Guides

Relevant Tours

  Improved Itinerary  
England Tours of Oxford

A Great Britain driving tour - experience all that is great about Britain on the ultimate tour of England, Scotland and Wales. See it all, from the thriving capital cities of London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to the remote Scottish Highlands, tranquil Lake District an d spectacular Snowdonia National Park. Along the way you’ll experience diverse cultures and histories and see world-famous landmarks including Stonehenge, the Roman Baths, Cardiff Castle, the Cotswolds, Hadrian’s Wall, Loch Ness and Edinburgh Castle.

Wales Tours - Conwy Valley

A Wales Coach Tour - Enjoy a journey through the heart of Britain taking in iconic landmarks of central England and lesser-known but equally enchanting gems of Wales. From the city of London, the Roman Baths, Stonehenge and Oxford we'll journey to the opulent Cardiff Castle, through the wilderness Brecon Beacons and to the medieval fortresses and majestic mountains of North Wales and the spectacular Snowdonia National Park.

Tours of London - Tower Bridge

With London as your base and your Britrail London Plus Pass in your back pocket you're equipped not only to explore the wonders of England's capital but also to travel through the tranquil countryside to a host of surrounding heritage towns and cities such as Bath, Stratford upon Avon, Canterbury and Cambridge.

Britain Tours - Lake District

A Luxury Britain Coach Tour - Discover the essence of Britain through knowledgeable experts and passionate locals introducing you to stories of Britain from past to present. Visit significant destinations once frequented by British greats such as Shakespeare and renowned kings. Travel in style on this elegant tour, and spend your evenings in a hand-picked selection of exclusive hotels. Enjoy travel through England to Scotland, whilst relishing in a range of VIP experiences such as the Tower of London for a private viewing of the Ceremony of the Keys, Edinburgh castle and visits to royal gardens. On route visit the Georgian city of Bath and the mesmerising dales of the Lake District on this relaxing, well-paced tour is a trip of a lifetime.

Tours of England - Bath

A Comprehensive Britain Tour - This elegant excorted coach tour of Scotland and England evokes a bygone age; discover traditional villages, stately homes, historic castles and beautiful gardens. Enjoy a leisurely touring pace with two-night stays in each overnight destination. With expertly planned day excursions or city tours from your accommodation bases, not to mention a fabulous array of local visits, this tour is designed to showcase each region in depth. A truly engaging and well balanced itinerary of Britain.

Tour of York England

Utilize the extensive English rail network to explore the corners of the English nation.  From the Salisbury Plain and West Country coasts , Lake District and Cotswolds to the charming heritage cities of Bath, York, Stratford upon Avon and Chester.  This is the ultimate rail tour of England.

England Tours Salisbury

A week-long tour of England - Icons of England takes you on a journey of discovery of England’s most renowned sites, cities and landscapes.  You’ll experience English icons including Stonehenge, Bath’s Roman Baths, the rolling hills of the Cotswolds countryside, Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon Avon, York Minster, the colleges of Cambridge and a wealth of attractions across the English Capital London.

England Tours - Stonehenge

Discover quintessential England as you explore the patchwork countryside of the Cotswolds and some of England’s most captivating historic cities. Delight in the whimsical academia of Oxford, Shakespeare’s Stratford and the grandeur of the Georgian City of Bath not to mention a host of lesser-known gems such as the eccentrically named Cotswold villages of Castle Combe, Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold and Broadway.

Tours of England - Liverpool

Experience English icons, a number of heritage cities and the tranquil beauty of the English countryside as you traverse the England's rail network. Smooth rail rides will take you from capital London to York, Liverpool and the Bard's Stratford upon Avon.

England Tours - Stonehenge

The British Journey tour is a Britain driving tour that takes you on an expedition from the capital of Scotland to the capital of England touching upon Wales and enjoying a wealth of cultural highlights along the way. Explore Scotland’s “Highlands in miniature” and the historic city of Edinburgh before passing south through the inspiring landscapes of the Lake District, Cotswolds and Wye Valley to glorious historic cities including Chester, Cardiff, Stratford upon Avon and Bath. Your trip ends in the thriving metropolis of London.

  New for 2020  
England Tours - Cotswolds

Classic Britain - a snapshot of the countryside and historic cities of England, Scotland and Wales. Enjoy the rolling hills and thatch villages of the Cotswolds to the towering mountains and fortresses of North Wales. Pass through the lakes and dales of the English Lake District and the rolling hills of the Scottish Lowlands and Yorkshire Dales. Historic cities to explore on route include Regency Bath, Medieval York, and the capital cities of Edinburgh and London.

Tours England - York

An England driving tour - England Explorer is a comprehensive tour of this great nation taking you from the heart of England to its far-reaching corners including the beautiful Lake District and the coastlines of Cornwall. You’ll experience classic English countryside including the Cotswolds and Yorkshire Dales and a host of historic cities including York, Chester and Bath not to mention a couple of nights in the vibrant English capital city, London.

Tours of England - Bath

A Castle Tour of England - Enjoy the history and grandeur of an ancient land on this tour of England. By day you'll explore castle ruins, opulent manor houses, historic sites, stunning landscapes and England’s cultural jewels such as Oxford, Stratford, Chester, York and Bath whilst by night you'll live like royalty as you experience historic and characterful castle hotels and country manor house accommodation!

England Tours - Lake District

English Pub Tour – Is there anything more quintessentially English than a country pub or coaching inn? Our country pubs of England tour offers the opportunity to tour the scenic and historic destinations of this nations whilst overnighting in traditional pubs and inns sure to offer a warm welcome, homely feel and good “pub grub” food and drink.  Your journey will take you through the rolling fields of Cambridgeshire to York, over the Dales of Lake District to patchwork countryside of the Cotswolds.

  Improved Itinerary  
Tours of England - Liverpool

A brief tour of Britain – discover the essence of Britain on this whirlwind escorted coach tour taking you from the South of England to Scotland. Enjoy a journey of contrasts from the bustling cities of London and Liverpool to the historic elegance of Bath and Edinburgh. Along the way you'll see the natural beauty of the English Cotswolds and the Lake District as well as Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon and the very Royal Windsor Castle.

Tour of York England

Discover English and Scottish landscapes and heritage on this rail journey through two great nations. Taking you from vibrant London to romantic Edinburgh and a host of English and Scottish towns and cities on route, you'll also enjoy the British countryside at its most majestic.

Tours of Wales - Brecon Beacons

Enjoy an England and Wales driving tour to experience the contrasts of two distinct British cultures on this in-depth tour of two of Britain's intriguing nations.  Enjoy the contrasting vistas of the patchwork fields of the Cotswolds, the rustic Yorkshire Dales, the mountains of Snowdonia and the coastlines of the Pembrokeshire National Park. Not to mention icons of English and Welsh history at Conwy Castle, York Minster, Shakespeare’s Stratford, Cardiff Castle and Stonehenge.

Tours of England - Liverpool

Enjoy two countries for the price of one as you use the British rail network to explore England and Wales. Travelling in comfort enjoy the city highlights including Cardiff, London and York as well as scenic train rides through the enigmatic countryside of North Wales, the Cotwsolds and the Yorkshire dales.

  New for 2020  
England Tours - Lake District

A Northern England Tour – this small group tour focusses on England’s rustic north including Yorkshire and the Lake District. From London pass through the heart of Britain to some of England’s most scenic landscapes including the moors and dales of Yorkshire and the mountains and waterways of the English Lake District.  Besides spectacular scenery you’ll visit historic cathedral cities, walk amidst ancient stone circles, discover England’s literary legends and see castles and stately manors...

Tours of England - Bath

Heart of England is a Cotswolds small group tour of one of Britain's most iconic and traditional regions, encompassing Oxford, Stratford-upon Avon, Bath and the Cotswolds. On your five day journey we'll experience Oxford's dreaming Spires, visit enchanting film locations, explore honey-coloured Cotswold villages, ancient abbeys and stately homes not to mention the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath.

Tours of London - Tower Bridge

This Britain Small Group Tour takes you from London to Edinburgh providing the full British history and culture experience along the way. Experience the natural beauty of the Cotswolds, Wales' stunning Snowdonia National Park and the Lake District in between visiting cultural highlights such as Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Beatles' Liverpool and medieval York. Your tour ends in the Scottish captial after a journey through the rolling landscapes of the lowlands.

Tours of the Heart of England - Warwick Castle

Navigate the English rail network as you explore the heart of England and its historic cities. Sit back and enjoy the scenic countryside roll by before exploring the grandeur of Bath, Shakespeare's Stratford and the University city of Oxford not to mention the capital city of London.

Tours of England - Liverpool

A driving tour of England and Scotland - indulge in a unique trip taking in two of Britain’s most unique nations.  Your self-drive vacation will take you through the rural landscapes of England and Scotland before returning your vehicle in Edinburgh and returning to London by rail. The trip will take in the beautiful landscapes of the Cotswolds, Yorkshire, Lake District and Scottish Highlands not to mention a host of elegant cities including York, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.

England Tours Salisbury

A Complete Britain Tour - Enjoy the highlights of Britain on this leisurely 15-day tour which takes you from the far South West of England to Scotland’s St Andrews. On route discover national icons such as Stonehenge, Edinburgh Castle and Windsor Castle alongside more “off the beaten path” destinations as you explore the coast and countryside of Devon and Cornwall, the mountains of North Wales and the remote towns and dales of Yorkshire.

Contact us