27 Super Places to go when you visit Stratford-upon-Avon
You’re planning a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon and we can tell you this much for sure: Fun, excitement, great experiences and a warm welcome is waiting for you, whatever you’re in town to do.
With the whole country becoming cooler and winter coming closer and closer, you’d be forgiven for thinking the best times of the year are behind us in Stratford-upon-Avon, but with all due respect, you’d be wrong. The end of the year is a great time to visit our historic town, which boasts plenty to see, do and experience! You can take in a play, go on a culinary adventure and immerse yourself in all things Shakespeare… you can even learn how to fly a plane.
1. Go on a Magical Adventure at Magic Alley
A visit to Magic Alley in Bell Court is a Triple Experience: The main event is the experience itself, which is part museum, part interactive experience with clues, spells, dressing up, stories and all kinds of magic. You go through room after room, each dressed up on a different magical theme, you collect clues, work together to figure out answers to the big and magical questions. Fun for families, fun for kids and grown-ups, for at any age for magical and non-magical creatures alike.
New seasons bring on new themes, new clues and new questions in Magic Alley, so even if you’ve been before, you should can come back again and again.
The second part of the experience is the enormous shop of all things magic, the third is the lovely cafe with no less than 11 different kinds of hot chocolate, pumpkin juice, butterbeer and delicious milkshakes to name but a few of the delightful items on the menu.
2. Wonderful scones and a nice cuppa at Hathaway Tea Rooms
Hathaway Tea Rooms is a quintessentially English Tea Room, independently run and situated right in the very heart of Stratford-upon-Avon and offering the traditional tea room experience with cream tea and afternoon tea offered alongside an extensive breakfast and lunch menu.
This Grade II* listed building is one of the town’s most historic as it was constructed around the year 1610, at exactly the same time as Shakespeare moved into his retirement home of New Place on Chapel Street just a few house down.
3. Spooky Halloween and Lovely Christmas Markets
For three days on 30, 31 October and 1 November Waterside and Bancroft Gardens in Stratford-upon-Avon are transformed into the most awesome All Hallows’ family event. Hair raising days of blood curdling proportion with a surprise grand finale spectacular.
Once we’ve all been well and truly spooked, it’s time for something lovely, warm and fuzzy: Four Christmas Shopping Thursdays in the run up to Christmas starting on 22 November,10am-8pm on Bridge Street with fabulous stalls selling a delightful range of speciality gifts, crafts, vintage, handmade, home produced, bespoke toys and decorations, fine festive treats, sweets, homemade cakes, a wide and diverse range of good quality seasonal products, mouth watering street food and much more.
And finally we have the big Victorian Christmas Market, an event we’re all very excited about in Stratford-upon-Avon. This wonderful 3-day event is on 7 December 11am-8pm, 8 December 10am-8pm and 9 December 10am-5pm, located on the main shopping streets, throughout the historic heart of the town, offering over 200 stalls selling a very wide range including colourful crafts, festive gifts and speciality food & drink. A unique atmosphere is created by Victorian themed costumes, seasonal decorations, a variety of street entertainment, Victorian carousel & funfair rides. The event attracts 100,000+ visitors over the 3 days, with coaches travelling from all over the country.
4. Learn like Shakespeare at Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall
When you visit Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall in Stratford-upon-Avon, you’re on more than just a visit, you’re in for an incredible experience. As you enter, you walk through the doors where William Shakespeare himself walked through as a child and young man to learn many of the things that made him the World’s greatest playwright. A wonderful attraction for all, including families and groups, one not to miss when you’re in Stratford-upon-Avon.
5. See Stratford-upon-Avon from the air
Take a look at the Warwickshire countryside from the air with an Air Experience Flight or Flying Lesson from Take Flight Aviation. Take Flight Aviation flying club and flight school offers flying lessons, flight training and light aircraft hire. Learn how to fly and achieve your Private Pilot’s Licence, re-validate an old licence, add ratings to your licence or look for a fulfilling flying club. With unrivalled facilities and a fleet of 15 aircraft, club membership is just £40 a month (hire rates are additional).
6. See, hear and smell (yes, really!) what tudor times was like at Tudor World
One of Stratford upon Avon’s most haunted buildings, Tudor World is a super interactive museum in the centre of town, a super attraction for for those who wish to learn what life was like in tudor times.
Down a little cobbled alley off Sheep Street, is a 16th-century barn steeped in rich and exciting history and with literary connections to William Shakespeare himself, on a site that dates back to the birth of the town in the late 12th century and the history of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is Tudor World, an independent museum where different areas of Tudor life are recreated, interweaved with stories of the building’s rich history.
7. Hooray’s, everyone’s favourite ice cream eatery
A favourite in Stratford-upon-Avon, Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen is the home of a mouth-watering array of delectable delights to tickle your taste buds.
At Hooray’s you can enjoy a ravishing range of cool gelato and fruity sorbet, all made onsite in the Gelato Kitchen, hot crepes and waffles, yummy cakes and locally roasted gourmet coffee, all prepared fresh and ready to be enjoyed in the cosy restaurant on the High Street in Stratford-upon-Avon.
8. All kinds of engine fun at British Motor Museum
Explore the newly refurbished British Motor Museum, in Gaydon just 15 or so minutes from the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon – home to the world’s largest collection of historic British cars. Over 300 cars, from the very first Land Rover to Lady Penelope’s FAB1.
Experience the sights, sounds and stories of the British motor industry and get ‘under the skin’ with the many exciting interactive exhibits.
9. A walk around town with Stratford Town Walk
Stratford Town Walks offer daily guided walking tour around historic Stratford upon Avon to discover Stratford, its history, attractions and fascinating relationship with William Shakespeare.
Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps through the ancient town see the Shakespeare Houses (Birthplace, New Place, Hall’s Croft), Harvard House, the Royal Shakespeare Theatres, River Avon, 15th century timber-framed buildings, Shakespeare’s School, Guild Chapel (free entry) and visit Holy Trinity Church (small fee to see Shakespeare’s grave). Hear fascinating stories of fire, flood, plague, medieval cures, old fashioned sayings and history, wrapped up in a little Shakespeare. Discover favourite tea houses, pubs, shops and restaurants. Don’t forget your camera.
10. Great food on the battlefield at The Castle at Edgehill
At The Castle at Edgehill you will enjoy exceptional dining and service in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. With the battlefields of the famous Battle of Edgehill descending below, it is one of the finest places to enjoy a clear summer’s day in the garden or cosy up in front of a log fire on a crisp winter evening. Toast the Sunday Roast, sample dishes from the daily changing Prix Fixe menu or simply savour a hand-pulled cask ale whilst enjoying some of the best views in the county.
11. Go on a guided tour of the Cotswolds
Go Cotswolds provides award-winning guided day tours of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from Stratford-upon-Avon on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty starts just 20 minutes away from Stratford-upon-Avon, but the small towns and villages can be difficult to get to. With Go Cotswolds, visitors can easily experience one of England’s most popular and beautiful destinations in a day, learning more about this beautiful region, its history, culture and folklore, while still having plenty of time to explore on your own so you can really experience the Cotswolds your own way.
12. Stratford Butterfly Farm, great attraction whatever the weather
Come rain or shine, at Stratford Butterfly Farm you can enjoy 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.
Enjoy the unique pleasure of watching hundreds of the world’s most spectacular and colourful butterflies flying all around. You can see them feeding and flying in a wonderful tropical environment.
13. Take in a play at The Royal Shakespeare Company
Renowned worldwide, the Royal Shakespeare Company performs the famous works of William Shakespeare, his contemporaries and new writing, in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.
From the 1000-seat Royal Shakespeare Theatre and 450-seat Swan Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company brings audiences closer to the plays, words and creations of the World’s greatest playwright and the wonderful experience that is live theatre.
14. An authentic country pub experience at The Howard Arms
The Howard Arms is a glorious pub, restaurant and bed & breakfast. Peacefully overlooking the old chestnut tree on the green, it lies in the heart of the idyllic village of Ilmington, just a 15-minute drive from Stratford-upon-Avon. Inside, the fire crackles and the bar bustles with locals and visitors drinking from our carefully chosen selection of ales, beers and wine. Our award-winning chef has created a menu of top-quality pub favourites alongside imaginative starters, mains and irresistible puddings.
15. Row, row, row your boat
A stroll alongside the River Avon is one of the most wonderful things to do in this town… well, actually most activities by the river are wonderful, so whether you’re walking it, rowing it, sailing it, cruising it, eating on it or just sitting next to it, you’re in for a wonderful treat. The river in Stratford-upon-Avon has an abundance of offers. Book a rowing experience or a river cruise with Avon Boating, have a romantic dinner on board the Countess of Evesham or buy a coffee from the barge by the bridge.
16. The Play’s the Thing
The Play’s The Thing is an exciting experience at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Here you will learn the secrets and stories from more than 100 years of theatre-making and discover the ideas, inspiration and amazing craft in the work of the world’s most famous theatre company.
Discover rarely-seen treasures from the museum and archive: weird and wonderful props, exquisite costumes, and original set designs. Get hands-on and celebrate the creativity behind the scenes.
17. A culinary experience at The Bell in Alderminster
The Bell Alderminster is a wonderful country style pub with a contemporary restaurant, a charming large garden and beautiful luxury rooms. With emphasis is on delivering the very best in service, atmosphere and menu, and with the chef having secured The Bell in Alderminster AA Rosette status for culinary excellence, you’re sure to have a culinary experience beyond the usual.
18. The wonderful Arden Hotel
The Arden Hotel is in one of the best locations in Stratford-upon-Avon, directly opposite the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre, overlooking the beautiful river and just a 2-minute walk from the centre of town.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, a light snack, coffee and cake or Afternoon Tea, whatever time of day and whatever you’re in the mood for, The Waterside Brasserie, the luxurious and cosy in-house restaurant at The Arden Hotel can serve you.
19. The Fuzzy Duck, country pub and boutique B&B
The Fuzzy Duck in the lovely little village of Armscote near Stratford-upon-Avon is a quintessentially English country pub and boutique bed & breakfast. Alongside distinctive character features, exposed beams and fireplaces, the contemporary touches lend the lovely building a luxurious, comfortable atmosphere.
The chef at The Fuzzy Duck believes in supplying quality, fresh produce and taking great pride in working with the best local suppliers and creating delicious and diverse dishes for the seasonal menus and daily specials.
20. Shakespearean houses and gardens
Stratford-upon-Avon is steeped in the history and legacy of William Shakespeare and at the centre of it all is Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, a collection of sites throughout the the town and in 5 main locations, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Mary Arden’s Farm, Hall’s Croft, Shakespeare’s New Place and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust properties each offer something different to it’s visitors, so whatever you’re interested in, there’s a Shakespeare property for you.
There surely is no place more wonderful than a beautiful garden and in Stratford-upon-Avon we have five of the loveliest gardens, all with a Shakespearean touch, as they are the gardens belonging to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust properties in Stratford-upon-Avon.
21. French bistro and a relaxing bar at Hotel du Vin
Complementing the beautiful new hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon is the famous French bistro and relaxing bar at Hotel du Vin.
The original part of this hotel was built in 1798 and the listed building located has been sensitively transformed to retain the character and charm that is the stamp of Hotel du Vin. Used in many different ways over the years, from a doctor’s surgery during and after WW2, to a ‘Gentleman’s Club’, and most recently the town registry office – Hotel du Vin Stratford-upon-Avon is the perfect backdrop for after work drinks, a spot of afternoon tea or relaxed bistro dining, served alongside an extensive wine cellar that is perfectly matched by our years of experience in providing great hospitality.
22. An awesome and exciting Everyman experience
Everyman Cinemas are all about redefining the experience of going to the movies and about doing cinema really, really well, and Everyman in Stratford-upon-Avon is quite simply ‘cinema done really, really well’.
And it’s not just about the movies, it’s also good food and drink from a super bar menu of drinks or hot food and snacks that can be enjoyed in the bar area or in your cinema seat.
23. Check out The Other Place
The RSC’s The Other Place is the kind of place not many tourists and visitors think to go to. A favourite hangout for locals and for RSC staff and actors, so possibly not the most obvious of places to go for visitors to our town, but go in, look around, discover the booths inside, the tables on the second floor overlooking the first and the well stocked honesty library, and you will realise that RSC’s The Other Place is, in fact, one of the most fabulous places to go for a coffee, a drink, cake or lunch in Stratford-upon-Avon.
24. A round of golf with incredible views
Established in 1895 on an escarpment with wonderful views across the Vale of Evesham to the Malvern Hills & Black Mountains, Broadway Golf Club is one of the finest golf clubs in the Cotswolds and far beyond, an excellent golf course that provides a challenge to golfers of all levels of ability.
Visitors are always welcome at Broadway Golf Club both during the week & weekends subject to availability. After your game or if you’re visiting and not playing, you can make yourself comfortable in the lovely club house where a great catering team is ready to serve you food and drinks to be enjoyed while taking in what is arguably the best views in the Cotswolds, across the Vale of Evesham to the Malvern Hills and beyond.
25. Bonds Lifestyle, a unique shopping experience
Unlike any other shopping experience in Stratford-upon-Avon and far beyond, Bonds Lifestyle is a destination for refreshingly different and unique antiques, interiors shopping and a wonderful cafe.
Home to 40 different individual concessions, all of whom work extremely hard to source, restore and reinvent unique items, from decorative antiques, vintage, retro, up-cycled industrial pieces to their very own hand crafted bespoke British sofas, whether you’re looking for the perfect item for your own home or for a gift for someone else, Bonds Lifestyle will have what you’re looking for. For home, for garden, for decoration, for gifts, this wonderful and truly unique shopping destination is your one-stop-shop!
26. Chin Chin at The Cotswolds Distillery
15 minutes down the road from Stratford-upon-Avon is The Cotswolds Distillery in Shipston-on-Stour. A full-scale distillery that produces a range of truly ‘outstanding natural spirits’, headlined by the multiple-award-winning Cotswolds Dry Gin and the recently launched Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky, proudly made from 100% locally grown barley.
At The Cotswolds Distillery you can take a tour and see just what goes into every drop made – then taste it for yourself. After the tour, you can browse the tempting distillery shop and maybe leave with a souvenir or 2 of a couple of wonderful hours experiencing traditional distilling.
27. Award-winning breakfast at Arden House
And last, but by no means least, we finish our list with a beautiful boutique hotel and an award-winning breakfast. Arden House offers their guests something unique and different, a ‘home from home’ experience like no other and an opportunity to experience luxurious hospitality in a relaxed, private atmosphere. This wonderful little hotel was awarded with 5 Stars by the AA for Guest Accommodation as well as their Breakfast Award, so this is truly something to write home about.