Our Stratford-upon-Avon Travel Guide includes recommended places to visit and things to do, accommodation options, tips and more for this historic English market town. Everything you need to plan your visit and essential reading for anyone planning to visit Stratford-upon-Avon!
Stratford-upon-Avon Travel Guide
The pretty town of Stratford-upon-Avon is located in the heart of England’s Warwickshire countryside. Mention Startford and its most famous former resident will come immediately to mind. William Shakespeare was born, married, lived, died and is buried in the town.
As such Stratford-upon-Avon is a popular destination for literature lovers and history buffs.
The town is home to a plethora of cultural attractions, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, which stages productions at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Visitors can also explore the charming streets of Stratford-upon-Avon’s historic town centre, which is filled with medieval timbered buildings and winding cobbled streets.
If you’re looking to indulge in some retail therapy, Stratford-upon-Avon has a wide range of independent shops and boutiques selling everything from artisanal crafts and locally made goods to high-street fashion and souvenirs.
The town is also home to a number of excellent restaurants, pubs, and cafes, offering a diverse range of cuisine to suit all tastes and budgets.
But Stratford-upon-Avon isn’t just a great place to visit for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Located on the northern edge of the Cotswolds the town is surrounded by beautiful countryside, making it a perfect base for exploring the region’s many charming villages and stunning natural beauty.
Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind in the peace and quiet of the countryside or experience the rich culture and history of England’s most famous playwright, Stratford-upon-Avon has something for everyone.
If you are planning to visit a number of sights and attractions in Warwickshire consider purchasing the Shakespeare’s England Explorer Pass. Save money on admission prices and choose from a pass that is valid for 1, 2, or 3 days. The pass includes entry to 9 attractions eg Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Kenilworth Castle.
- Stratford-upon-Avon Travel Guide
- Plan your visit to Stratford-upon-Avon – FAQs
- Attractions and things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon
- Where to eat and drink in Stratford-upon-Avon
- Accommodation in Stratford-upon-Avon
- Other popular places to visit near to Stratford upon Avon
- Enjoy your visit to Stratford-upon-Avon
Plan your visit to Stratford-upon-Avon – FAQs
When is the best time of year to visit Stratford-upon-Avon?
Stratford is a popular destination for visitors from overseas and Brits alike so it is worth taking a few things into consideration when planning your visit.
The weather in Stratford-upon-Avon is typical of the UK and can be unpredictable at any time of year. Summer (June to August) is generally the warmest and driest season, with average high temperatures ranging from 20-25°C (the mid-60s to low-70s Fahrenheit).
However, it can also be quite busy and touristy during this time. Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) tend to have more moderate temperatures and fewer crowds, making them good times to visit if you want to avoid the peak tourist season.
Winter (December to February) can be cold and wet, with average high temperatures ranging around 8-13°C (from the mid-40s to mid-50s Fahrenheit).
However, Stratford-upon-Avon is still a popular destination during the winter months, especially around the holidays.
Festivals and events
📚 Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival – 2nd May to 7th May 2023
The festival celebrates the rich literary heritage of Stratford-upon and features a variety of events and activities for literature lovers of all ages.
The festival typically takes place in the spring and features a range of events including talks and discussions with authors and other literary figures, workshops and masterclasses, book launches, and readings. Past participants have included a diverse range of authors and speakers, such as Margaret Atwood and J.K. Rowling.
🥂 Stratford-upon-Avon Food and Drink Festival – September 2023
The festival celebrates the region’s rich culinary heritage and features various events and activities focused on food and drink.
Enjoy a range of events including food and drink tastings, cooking demonstrations, workshops, and talks by chefs and other food industry professionals. The festival also includes a range of food and drink stalls and vendors selling a variety of local and international cuisines.
🎄 Stratford-upon-Avon Christmas Market
In the weeks leading up to Christmas head to Stratford for the Christmas market. Enjoy a range of events including carol singing and festive entertainment.
The market also includes a range of stalls and vendors selling a variety of Christmas gifts and decorations, as well as food and drink.
If you want to avoid crowds, you may want to avoid visiting Stratford-upon-Avon during the school holidays, when the town can get quite busy.
The main school holiday periods in the UK are the Christmas and New Year holidays, the Easter holidays, and the summer holidays (late July to early September).
What is the best way to explore Stratford-upon-Avon?
- Explore on foot
Walking is a great way to see the sights and get a feel for the town at your own pace. There are several walking tours available including this walking tour focusing on Shakespeare’s life.
There are also themed tours focusing on specific aspects of the town’s history and culture eg a Shakespeare & Hathaway TV Sites Tour, the Sinister Side of Stratford Walking Tour and the Dark Chronicles Horror Walking Tour.
- Take a boat tour
Stratford-upon-Avon is located on the River Avon which makes a boat tour a great way to see the town from a different perspective.
- Hop on hop off bus
If you prefer a guided tour and don’t want to do a lot of walking, a bus tour is a good option. A hop-on hop-off bus tour of Stratford-upon-Avon allows you to see the main sights and attractions at your own pace. It also includes some of the sights that are a little out of the town such as Anne Hathaway’s cottage.
How to travel to Stratford-upon-Avon from London
On a tour
If you are pushed for time the best way to visit Stratford from London may be to take an organised tour. Often these tours include a few other areas so this could be an opportunity to add other destinations into your itinerary.
- Oxford, Stratford & Cotswolds Guided Day-Trip – Admire the fairytale houses of the Cotswolds, the historic Oxford University, and the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon on this 9-hour tour.
- Stonehenge, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Bath Day Trip – Uncover the secrets of Stonehenge, have free time to discover the city of Bath, soak up the charm of the Cotswolds, and visit Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon on this 12 hour day trip.
- Oxford, Warwick Castle, and Stratford-upon-Avon – Full-day trip to Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Warwick Castle from London.
The most direct service by train from London departs Marylebone Station. Most services have one change.
The journey takes approximately two hours and trains run frequently throughout the day.
If you are hiring a car in the UK and are starting your trip from London we advise that you get out of the capital first and pick up the car from an airport such as Heathrow or a larger town or city.
The total distance from London Heathrow to Stratford-upon-Avon is about 90 miles and the journey should take around 1 hour 30 mins – 2 hours, depending on traffic.
To get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London by coach take a National Express coach from Victoria Coach Station.
There are regular coaches from Victoria Coach Station to Stratford-upon-Avon, with a journey time of around 3 hours and 25 mins.
You can purchase tickets for National Express coaches online via Omio or at the coach station. It’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance, as prices can increase closer to the date of travel.
Attractions and things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon
Favourite things to do and see in Stratford
Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps and explore the house where he was born and grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Step into the world of 16th-century William Shakespeare with this entry to his former schoolroom and the Guildhall. The interactive experience lets you sit in the very room where Shakespeare studied as a boy, taking part in a Tudor-style lesson.
- Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a historic thatched cottage located in the village of Shottery, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon. It was the childhood home of Anne Hathaway, who was the wife of William Shakespeare. The cottage is now a museum and is open to the public.
As part of your visit to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, you can explore the historic rooms of the cottage and learn about the life and times of Anne Hathaway. The cottage has been carefully restored to reflect the period in which Anne lived, and the rooms are filled with period furnishings and artefacts.
In addition to the main cottage, there is also a beautiful garden to explore, which features a variety of plants and flowers that would have been familiar to Anne and her contemporaries.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is open to the public from March to October.
- Mary Arden’s Farm
Mary Arden’s Farm is a living history museum located in the village of Wilmcote, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon. It is the childhood home of Mary Arden, the mother of William Shakespeare, and is now a popular visitor attraction.
As part of your visit to Mary Arden’s Farm, you can step back in time and experience life on a Tudor farm. The farm is home to a variety of animals, including cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry, and there are daily demonstrations of traditional farming techniques, such as spinning and weaving.
In addition to the farm, there is also a Tudor house on the site that has been carefully restored to reflect the period in which Mary Arden lived. You can explore the house and learn about the daily life of a Tudor family.
Mary Arden’s Farm is open to the public from March to October.
- Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a major repertory theatre located in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), one of the most prestigious theatre companies in the world.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a beautiful venue, with a stunning modernist design and state-of-the-art facilities. It is the main venue for the RSC’s productions of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as a range of other classical and contemporary productions.
If you’re visiting Stratford-upon-Avon and are interested in seeing a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, you can purchase tickets online or at the box office. The RSC typically has a range of productions on offer, so you can choose the one that interests you most.
In addition to seeing a play, you can also take a tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which allows you to explore behind the scenes and learn about the history and operation of the venue.
- The MAD Museum
The MAD Museum (Mechanical Art and Design Museum) is dedicated to showcasing the work of local artists and designers. The museum is home to a collection of mechanical artworks, including kinetic sculptures and automata, as well as interactive exhibits and workshops.
As part of your visit to the MAD Museum, you can explore the museum’s collection of mechanical artworks and learn about the design and construction of these intricate pieces. The museum also hosts a range of workshops and events, where you can learn new skills and try your hand at creating your own mechanical artwork.
The MAD Museum is open to the public from Monday to Saturday
Food and Drink Experiences & Tours
Learn to bake scones and other treats for a classic afternoon tea during a baking class near Shakespeare’s house. The class takes place in a charming cottage near the town centre.
All the recipes are from/inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and Elizabethan cooking – this is a unique cooking & baking experience and a great way to experience the culture at a local place.
Learn how to make wholesome sourdough bread at an independent bakery in the heart of Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Learn the secrets of gin making, find out how the spirits are influenced by Tudor-period distillery techniques and discover all the varied ingredients that create the award-winning Stratford Gin.
Where to eat and drink in Stratford-upon-Avon
The Fourteas Tea Room
Vintage-themed cafe. There is an original Anderson shelter located in the garden!
Address – 24 Sheep Street, CV37 6EF
The Vintner is a wine bar located in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon. It serves a locally sourced seasonal menu.
Address – 4-5 Sheep Street, CV37 6EF
The Windmill Inn
Serves British pub fare. Small beer garden.
Address – Church Street, CV37 6HB
The Deli Cafe
The Deli is a popular cafe located in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. It serves a range of sandwiches, salads, and soups, as well as a selection of cakes and pastries.
Address – 13-14 Meer Street, CV37 6QB
Accommodation in Stratford-upon-Avon
- ￡￡￡ – The White Swan Hotel – Set in a Grade II listed building, this hotel combines historic charm with modern convenience.
- ￡ ￡ ￡ – The Arden Hotel Stratford – Situated opposite the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre with free private parking.
- ￡￡ – Ashgrove House – B&B in a great location with excellent reviews
- ￡ ￡ – Shakespeare’s View – B&B accommodation with exceptional reviews
- ￡￡ – Hotel Du Vin Stratford – Hotel which features a bar, free WiFi and on-site dining.
More special stays – Accommodation Guide for England
Other popular places to visit near to Stratford upon Avon
- Warwick Castle: Located just a short drive from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle is a historic castle that dates back to the 11th century. Visitors can explore the castle’s grounds and gardens, and see the medieval Great Hall and Banqueting Hall.
- The Cotswolds: The Cotswolds is a beautiful region of rolling hills and quaint villages located to the south of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is a popular destination for walking and cycling, and there are a number of charming towns and villages to explore, such as Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, and more.
- Oxford: Oxford is a city located about an hour’s drive from Stratford-upon-Avon. It is home to the world-famous University of Oxford and is a popular destination for its historic colleges, museums, and beautiful gardens.
- Birmingham: Birmingham is a major city located about an hour’s drive from Stratford-upon-Avon. It is home to a number of popular attractions, including the Bullring shopping centre, the National Sea Life Centre, and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
- Blenheim Palace: Blenheim Palace is a grand country house located about a 30-minute drive from Stratford-upon-Avon. It is home to the Duke of Marlborough and is a popular tourist attraction, with beautiful gardens, a historic parkland, and an ornate stately home.
- Hidcote Manor Garden: Hidcote Manor Garden is a beautiful garden located about a 20-minute drive from Stratford-upon-Avon. It is known for its distinctive “rooms”, each with its own unique character and planting scheme.
- The Roman Baths: The Roman Baths (in the city of Bath) are a well-preserved Roman site located about an hour’s drive from Stratford-upon-Avon. Visitors can explore the baths and learn about the history of this important Roman site.
- Stonehenge: Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located about an hour and a half’s drive from Stratford-upon-Avon. It is one of the most famous landmarks in the UK.
Enjoy your visit to Stratford-upon-Avon
Thanks for reading our guide to Stratford upon Avon – I am sure we have included everything you need to know to plan your visit.
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