It's where William Shakespeare was born – and where the famed bard chose to spend much of his adult life and retirement. Situated prettily on the rollicking River Avon, this small Warwickshire village is also an outstanding destination for the ultimate English vacation.
Whether you're heading to Stratford on a day trip or for a weekend break or if you're even planning to make the village your base for extended explorations of the English countryside, its hard to beat this to this quaint and cultured village when it comes to accessibility, history and charm.
Obviously while you're in Stratford you're going to want to catch some Shakespearean plays. Check the Royal Shakespeare Company's website –rsc.org.uk – for up to date information about what's on and coming soon. Still, there's plenty more to see and do upon the Avon! Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your visit.
Visit Shakespeare's birthplace, grave and more
Within the course of an afternoon, a leisurely stroll through Stratford yields a fun opportunity to visit the house where Shakespeare was born and grew up, the site of his last home (now an active archaeological dig), the house of his daughter and son-in-law and even his grave. Taking such a walking tour offers insights to the life of this poet and playwright while allowing you to take in the fresh air gardens and well preserved architecture of the town.
Check out the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust website for more details about these locations.
Buy some handmade arts and crafts
TheArter is located inside Hall's Croft, the home of Shakespeare's daughter. It's a small boutique shop specializing in handmade arts and crafts by local contemporary designer-makers. From fused glass, colorful ceramics, recycled creations and knitted jewelry, to contemporary textiles and stunning millinery – this is not just another souvenir schlock retailer. It's a beautiful little retail space with super friendly staff chocked full of brilliant gifts and keepsakes you won't find anywhere else.
Have a local pint in a local pub
TheEncore is a huge establishment with meeting and private dining rooms, outdoor riverside seating and more - but still manages to retain a properly cozy country pub feel. Right on the Avon and just steps from the RSC theatres and most in town accommodations, it's an ideal setting for a quick pint (pre or post theatre – and there's a good chance you'll see some of the actors in your play there) or a proper sit down dinner … or just for getting off your feet for a few minutes during your romp around Stratford. While at the Encore, or any of Stratford's other great pubs, be sure to get a pint of a local ale. Purity Brewing Co's Pure UBU (4.5% ABV premium amber colored beer) is a tasty choice.
For a more comprehensive look at all things Stratford-upon-Avon visit stratford-upon-avon.co.uk.
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