17 reasons we love Stratford-upon-Avon
We love Stratford-upon-Avon, absolutely everything about it makes us gush. This is our list of 17 reasons we think Stratford-upon-Avon is a truly wonderful place to play and stay, In no particular order and this is not an exhaustive list at all, it’s simply seventeen reasons we love Stratford-upon-Avon.
The tourists and visitors.
Yes, absolutely, all 5.5 million visitors of them, as that’s how many come to visit Stratford-upon-Avon every year and they are firmly planted on this list of things that are so great about our town. In the winter months, Stratford-upon-Avon is a lot less busy than from about Easter to the end of September, and while this makes car journeys and coffee shop queues longer, it also brings the most wonderful life to our town and it is, most definitely, something to celebrate.
The terrace at The Arden
On a warm and sunny day, there are so many wonderful places to sit and take in Stratford-upon-Avon, but none “have it all” like the terrace at The Arden Hotel: A view of the river, the park and the famous RSC in the front and the beautiful hotel itself behind, and it’s a lovely suntrap with the hotel offering good cover from any winds on 3 sides. And last, but not least, a super menu, great service and a relaxed atmosphere, the trademarks of The Arden.
Hooray’s is an ice cream shop, and while that is enough to land it on our list of reasons to love Stratford-upon-Avon, there’s more. Hooray’s has a ravishing range of the most delicious, mouthwatering homemade ice creeams and sorbets AND they serve waffles, crepes, cakes, milkshakes, fancy alcoholic drinks, hot and cold drinks and smoothies. AND it’s cute and cosy. AND it’s right in the centre of town. It’s no secret: We ♥ Hooray’s!
The RSC Tower
Stratford-upon-Avon is beautiful, from ground level and up. And from the tower at The RSC, you have the opportunity to see the town in all of it’s glory from above. It is breathtaking and spectacular and it offers something different every time you visit, especially as the seasons change. We’re so lucky to have this tower in the centre of town and it’s a must-see for sure.
When we first visited Bonds Lifestyle, an amazing shopping destination just outside of the centre of town, home to 40 different individual concessions of decorative antiques, vintage, retro, upcycled industrial pieces and hand crafted bespoke British, we “Ohh’d” and “Ahh’d” our way through the shop, we LOVED it. And the “grande finale” was the lovely, cosy cafe full of yummy cakes, delicious lunch dishes, hot and cold drinks. Bonds Lifestyle is one of our all-time favourite shopping experiences, definitely one not to miss.
Cream Tea on the River
The River Avon is the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon, a beautiful presence that runs through the town. There are several ways to get up close and personal with the river, sailing, rowing or sitting on the side and watching. One of our favourite ways includes sailing and sitting and hot scones… need we say more?! Read here about our experience with having ‘Cream Tea on the River‘.
Stratford Butterfly Farm
We’re all a flutter about one of the town’s favourite attractions, Stratford Butterfly Farm, where you have the unique pleasure of discovering hundreds of the world’s most spectacular and beautiful butterflies flying in an exotic environment of tropical blossom with splashing waterfalls and fish-filled pools. And it’s not just butterflies that live on this farm, something we were excited to experience and write about in our blog, ‘Butterflies & Bugs in Stratford-upon-Avon‘.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust
Shakespeare is all around in Stratford-upon-Avon and his life and work in the town 400 years ago is, of course, the reason it is the fantastic town it is today. Without William Shakespeare, and without the wonderful work done by Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust with the 6 houses in town that are linked with the great poet, there would be no RSC, no tourists and none of the hustle and bustle that is the backbone of our town.
Mary Arden’s Farm
We have 8-year-old twins so one of the houses in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust deserve it’s very own spot on this list of reasons we love Stratford-upon-Avon: Mary Arden’s Farm. We’ve had many fun and fabulous hours with the kids there, read about one trip we had recently here: ‘Fun with kids (and goats) at Mary Arden’s Farm‘.
Afternoon Tea at The Welcombe
We’re never more excited than when a really delicious afternoon tea is accompagnied by lovely soft and comfy chairs, a beautiful backdrop, a stunning view and top class service, but such is the afternoon tea experience at The Welcombe just outside the centre of town. The Welcombe hotel, spa, golf course and wonderful gardens are worth a visit any time, but for us never more than when afternoon tea is served at the table by the windows with the view of the stunning garden.
The Big Wheel
It would be so great if Stratford-upon-Avon’s ‘Big Wheel’ was going to be a permanent fixture by the river, but it is not, so we thought we’d better get it on this list before it’s taken down again at the end of the 2017 season. We loved our ride on ‘The Big Wheel’, went straight home to write about it too: ‘We ♥ Stratford-upon-Avon’s Big Wheel‘.
Stratford-upon-Avon from the sky
Did you know that it’s now possible to view Stratford-upon-Avon from far above both the RSC tower and the wheel? Take Flight Aviation offers Air Experience Flights over Stratford-upon-Avon area, the Warwickshire countryside and Warwick Castle.
Stratford Town Walks
Nobody in Stratford-upon-Avon know more about the town that the walking guides from Stratford Town Walks and we’re lucky to have them. If you want to know about the history, the town, the buildings, the people, the poets and even the ghosts, go on one of their walks and you will be enlightened and entertained in equal mesaure.
Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall
Before the opening of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall, there was no place in Stratford-upon-Avon dedicated to the early life and education of the great bard, but now we have this interesting chapter in history covered. This new and exciting attraction sheds light into William Shakespeare’s life as a schoolboy, showing how his time at school, coupled with the opportunity to see the country’s finest actors performing in the Guildhall, inspired him to become the world’s greatest playwright.
Stratford Mini Golf
We’ve had many, many hours of mini golfing fun as a family at Stratford Mini Golf. For those that can remember, there used to be a putting green on the current site just across the river from The RSC, but since 2001 the site has been converted to Stratford Minigolf and from April to September it is home to golfing fun for any age. We absolutely love it there, we keep going back and it’s great fun every time.
The Ice Cream Barge
No visit to the river in the centre of town, without an ice cream or a nice cup of coffee at th Ice Cream Barge, it’s practically an institution and their sweet treats are something lovely to look forward to.
The Royal Shakespeare Company
In the centre of town, right by the river, is an iconic building that truly is the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon. With plays by the greatest playwright and poet of all time, events for all ages, a shop, a cafe and a restaurant that cater for it’s visitors every desire throughout the day and evenings, and the tower with the greatest views of Stratford-upon-Avon imaginable, there can be no doubt that The Royal Shakespeare Company is Stratford-upon-Avon’s greatest attraction.