Now, first things first: to get to the right place, remember there are many Stratfords and Stretfords in England, all of them towns and villages located at points where old Roman roads crossed rivers. The name is a combination of the Old English 'strǣt', meaning street, and 'ford', a site at which a road forded a river. Don’t mess it up! And once you’re in the most famous of Stratfords…

1.Feel the special atmosphere of Shakespeare’s hometown

Stratford street view 2
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town with more than 800 years of history, and many of its surviving buildings were familiar to Shakespeare. In 2016, a whole array of events and activities in Stratford will mark the 400th anniversary of the poet's death.

2. Visit Five Shakespeare Houses

1. Shakespeare's Birthplace is situated on Henley Street. Enjoy a multimedia exhibition about Shakespeare's early years and watch live theatre performances.

Stratford Shakespeare birth place
2. Hall’s Croft in the Old Town was the home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna. Learn about her life and visit the traditional herb gardens.
3. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is just one mile away from the town centre. Follow a pleasant, well sign-posted footpath to discover how young William courted his future bride at her charming family home.
4. Mary Arden’s Farm stands in Wilmcote, only 3.5 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon. See where the playwright's mother lived, watch falconry displays and traditional craft demonstrations.
5. Harvard House at High Street, 26 was built in 1596 by the grandfather of John Harvard. Head over to hear the story of America’s most famous university in the former residence of its benefactor’s family.

3. Visit Shakespeare’s final resting place at Holy Trinity Church

Stratford Shakespeare grave
William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, was born in 1564 on St. George’s day (April 23) and died on the same day in 1616. Or so the story goes, at least, as those days knew no records of births and deaths. There are records of his baptism and burial though, and both events took place at Holy Trinity Church. The church is open to the public, and you can find Shakespeare's grave towards the rear.

4. Watch a play or join a theatre tour

Stratford Shakespeare theatre
For a city with about 25 000 inhabitants, there are a lot of theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Swan, The Cube, The Courtyard Theatre, The Dell, The Attic Theatre, The Civic Hall and The Waterside Theatre. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre and The Swan are property of the Royal Shakespeare Company, one of the best-known theatre companies in the world.
The Royal Shakespeare Theater has recently undergone a £100m refit and is one of the star attractions in Stratford. Come and watch one of the performances if you have the chance, otherwise just stop by for an excursion. One-hour guided tours usually run 4 times a day throughout the year but are dependent on production, rehearsal and technical schedules.

5. Walk along the Avon

Stratford river Avon view
Stratford-upon-Avon stands upon the river (you guessed it) Avon, and a walk beside it is one of the delights of the town, especially on a sunny day. You may even find yourself quoting some Shakespeare while you watch thousands of people visit his birthplace to pay homage to the poet.

6. Watch the Queen’s swans

Stratford queens swans
There are a lot of Queen’s swans in the Avon River. By law, the Queen owns all the swans in Britain, or, specifically, any unclaimed mute swan in open waters in England and Wales. This law was more valid back in the medieval times when swans were a delicacy reserved for the wealthiest dinner tables. Take your time to admire the noble birds.

7. Take a boat tour

Stratford canal river boat
Finished in 1816, the picturesque 25-mile long Stratford-upon-Avon Canal connected the town to Birmingham and the Black Country, ensuring the shipping of coal and industrial goods. Canal & River Tours will take you from the Stratford Canal Basin through the historic lock and down the river Avon for 45 minutes of leisurely sightseeing.

How to get there?

Stratford is 35 kilometers away from the UK's second largest city, Birmingham. At London Marylebone Station, board any of the 6 direct daily Chiltern Railways trains to get to Stratford in 2 hours. On weekdays only, take an hour longer if you prefer and reach Stratford by one of the 3 National Express coaches leaving from London Victoria Coach Station.

Where to stay?

Stratford qhotel
The Stratford, a Qhotel. The hotel boasts a great location at a walking distance from the centre of Stratford and the railway station. Choose from a range of 4 star bedrooms and suites, all elegantly decorated, with LCD TVs and free internet access. The restaurant offers a mouthwatering menu and an extensive wine list.

 

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Author: Anita Sāne

DSC 7536 m

About the author
Anita is a part time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman
from Latvia, 
traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner
planning and executing her travels by herself. Follow Anita also on Instagram.

 

 

 

Comments   

Stephanie
#25 Stephanie 2016-03-10 00:15
It looks like such a lovely little town. I hope I get to visit one day!
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Nikki
#24 Nikki 2016-03-06 13:53
Love Stratford-Upon-Avon - such a charming and quaint town with lots to offer!
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Gabi
#23 Gabi 2016-03-05 09:54
I used to study English theatre at the University... So many memories came back to my mind! I remember wanting to visit Stratford back then, but sitll haven't. You made me want to get a train ticket! The pictures, on such a sunny day, are really inviting!! Good job!!

For the app: Athens, thanks!!
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Archana Kapoor
#22 Archana Kapoor 2016-03-04 23:46
Very insightful post... lovely pictures :-)
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Charles McCool
#21 Charles McCool 2016-03-04 23:27
I have been to Stratford but am not sure I did all of this. I will have to return.

For the drawing, I choose Budapest!
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Life, Other Than
#20 Life, Other Than 2016-03-04 21:32
Neat place to visit. Need to add this one to my list. Sad that I missed it when I was "nearby."
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Daniela
#19 Daniela 2016-03-04 18:57
Read stories about this place, but haven`t actually thought about visiting it! Thanks for sharing
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Jaynie
#18 Jaynie 2016-03-04 18:46
Great post, I don't know very much about England so thank you for sharing.
Beautiful pictures!
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Hung Thai
#17 Hung Thai 2016-03-04 18:31
Wonderful looking city. These are really beautiful pictures Anita. I'm embarrassed to say that I've never heard of this place until now :)
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Jessica
#16 Jessica 2016-03-04 18:01
Fantastic and comprehensive guide! Thank you!!
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