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.View this tour
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.
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 the colleges of Cambridge, historic York Minster, the classic countryside of the Cotswolds, Warwick Castle, Shakespeare's Stratford, Roman Baths, the enigmatic Stonehenge and the grandiose Windsor Castle.View this 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.View this tour
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.View this tour
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.View this tour
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.View this tour
Experience the contrasts of two distinct British cultures on this in-depth tour of England and Wales. 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.View this tour
See both cityscapes and scenic landscapes on this lively tour of Britain; with departures through the Winter months you’ll experience the highlights of England Scotland and Wales at a quieter time of year and at ultimate value. Enjoy the opportunity to experience crisp British Winter mornings and frosted landscapes as you journey from London to medieval York through historic Edinburgh, vibrant Liverpool and the Welsh capital of Cardiff. Iconic sites are in abundance including Edinburgh Castles, Stonehenge and the English Lake District.View this tour
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.View this tour
This elegant tour of Britain evokes a bygone age, discover traditional villages, stately homes, historic castles and beautiful gardens. Featuring two-night stays throughout, in each overnight destination, journey at a leisurely pace enjoying expertly planned day excursions and city tours in each destination with fabulous local visits designed to showcase each region in depth. An truly engaging and well balanced itinerary of Britain.View this tour
Heart of England is 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.View this tour
Enjoy the history and grandeur of an ancient land on this castle tour of England. By day you'll explore castle ruins, historic sites, stunning landscapes and 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 opulent country manors!View this 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 and 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.View this tour
England Explorer offers an in depth tour of this great nation. From the charming countryside of the Lake District and the Cotswolds to the exciting cities of Liverpool and York this tour takes in England's most renowned sites and some lesser known gems.View this tour
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.View this tour
A British Journey 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.View this tour
Uncover the myths, legends and history of this amazing isle! On this tour you'll discover both cultural highlights and unrivalled scenery; from the towns and cities of Stratford-upon-Avon, York, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Glasgow, Liverpool and Bath to the majestic scenery of the Cotswolds, Yorkshire, the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District and the Wye Valley.View this tour
Experience the very best of England, Scotland and Wales on this quality tour of all of Britain. Enjoy the fabulous cities of York, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff and pass through areas of outstanding scenery in the Cotswolds, Yorkshire, the Trossachs, the Lake District and the renowned coastal counties of England's West Country; Devon and Cornwall.View this tour
Discover some of Britain’s finest cities and all that’s in between on this leisurely tour of the East of Scotland and England. Travelling from Edinburgh to London via York, you’ll enjoy overnight stays in our most renowned historic and cultural centres whilst your daily excursions will take you to a host of smaller towns and areas of natural beauty including St Andrews, the Scottish Borders, the North Yorkshire Moors and the Cotswolds.View this tour
Indulge in a unique tour taking in two of Britain’s unique nations as you explore the sights and sounds of England and Scotland. Your driving tour 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 Western Scottish Highlands not to mention a host of elegant cities including York, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.View this tour
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.View this tour
Discover quintessential England as you explore the patchwork countryside of the Cotswolds and some of England's most captivating historic cities. Delight in the rolling fields of Cambridgeshire, the walking haven of the Lake District and the grandeur of regency city Bath, before retiring to a comfortable overnight stay in a traditional pub or inn offering classic "pub-grub" for your evening meal and a selection of ales in the bar.View this tour