Stratford Upon Avon
Shakespeare and Picture Book English Countryside
|Anne Hathaway's Cottage Stratford Upon Avon|
Stratford is situated about 80 miles north-west of Central London. It is just about within the range of a day trip but is best appreciated with a longer stay with an overnight.
|Holy Trinity Church|
|Getting To Stratford|
|Within An Hour|
About 15 minutes east of Stratford is Warwick Castle, close to the M40 motorway junction from London for Stratford.
Warwick Castle although an authentic castle with great historical interest is less like a museum and more like a medieval entertainment. As such, its one of the best castles in the UK to take your kids.
Of course the main draw to Stratford is Shakespeare.
But Stratford is quite an attractive town in its own right. Its set by the River Avon with nice walks and river boats along the river with pleasant parkland settings.
There are many medieval wooden fronted buildings from the Tudor period warranting independent inspection or better still a walking tour.
Stratford Upon Avon is also a small regional shopping centre. There are a lot of tea shops catering to the tourists.
Shakespeare's Stratford Upon Avon Properties & Attractions
There are five houses in or near Stratford-upon-Avon connected with William Shakespeare and his family. There is also Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) that perform plays.
The Shakespearean properties offer a unique experience of the Stratford world in which the famous dramatist and poet was born, lived and died.
Open all year round, these sixteenth-century houses feature rare period furnishings and domestic items. Aspects of Tudor life, are on display, all set in attractive gardens and grounds.
You can buy a single ticket giving access to all properties.
The Stratford Upon Avon hop on hop off bus connects them all and offers combo tickets combining the bus service with admission to either 3 or 5 of the Shakespeare properties.
The five properties are:
Shakespeare's Birthplace - Where William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and grew up. Exhibition centre.
New Place / Nash's House - Shakespeare's home from 1597 until his death in 1616.
Hall's Croft - Where Shakespeare's eldest daughter (Susanna) lived.
Anne Hathaway's Cottage - Before marrying William Shakespeare in 1582, Anne Hathaway lived here.
Mary Arden's House - The house that Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden, grew up in.
Stratford Upon Avon Hop on Hop Off Bus
|Stratford Upon Avon Hop on Hop Off Bus|
Like so many towns and cities with a lot of visitors, a hop on, hop off open top sightseeing bus operates in Stratford.
At Stratford its particularly useful as a couple of Shakespeare attractions, Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Mary Arden's House are well outside walking distance from the town centre.
The bus has ticketing options which includes admissions to the Shakespeare properties. The main starting point of the buses is by the bridge next to the main Tourist Information Centre. For independent visitors there is also a stop very close to the train station.
Frequencies are broadly every 30 minutes with increased frequencies, every 15/20 minutes at the peak times in summer and weekends. During the summer months live guides are available, at other times audio guides are provided (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, German and Kid's Commentary)
There are 12 stops including all 5 Shakespeare properties, Holy Trinity Church and the RSC theatres.
You can also purchase a ticket that combines the Ho Ho service with a river cruise on the River Avon.
Getting to Stratford Upon Avon & Warwick from London
Direct train services run to both Stratford and Warwick from London's Marylebone station. Day trips are possible.
Normally significantly cheaper but slower are National Express coaches departing from London's Victoria Coach Station.
Tours From London
There is a good range of day tours daily from London to Stratford. All will combine Stratford with visits to either nearby Warwick Castle, Oxford or the Cotswolds.